Friday, May 16, 2014

goodbye, columbus

Poor Christopher Columbus.

The Great Admiral can't catch a break.  Once the epitome of initiative and adventure, he is now treated as if he were personally responsible for both Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.

There are several monuments to Columbus in Spain.  That is not surprising.  Columbus sailed off on his big cruise on the dime (or maravedí) of the Catholic Monarchs.  He may have ended up broke and broken, but Spain still honors the old guy.

Well, sort of.

That photograph is of the Columbus statue that has stood on the Barcelona shore since 1988.  People make a good deal of fun of Columbus as a result of where the sculptor has him pointing.  Instead, of pointing to the west (which is the direction he sailed), he is pointing to the southeast.

The less-creative types defend the statue on the very prosaic argument that Columbus is pointing to to sea.  And, in Barcelona, that is where the sea is.

I don't buy it.  The sculptor was a clever guy.  He is simply having Columbus point east because that was his ultimate destination.  To get east by going west. 

We often forget that Columbus's trip was a bit of globalization.  He wanted to find a new trade route to the Indies and China.

And because he knew (and what his Mercator-besotted critics seem to forget) is that if the earth is a globe.  You can get there by going numerous directions.  And he did.

He may have been a crummy administrator and an even worse politician, but he was brave enough to sail across the Atlantic to find a world that brought Spain far greater riches than a trip to the East Indies.  And that route to the orient was finally opened when Spain initiated the annual Manila galleon.

Who knows, maybe the maligned statue will actually rehabilitate him.

One thing that has rehabilitated in my mind is a very small thing, but it is something I have railed about on earlier trips.  The shampoo bottles in hotel rooms.

Well, I have an accolade to hand out.  The Eurostars Grand Marina can add another eurostar to its name with one of the most creative shampoo container solutions I have seen in a hotel bathroom.  Here it is.

Let's start with what it is not.  It is not stylish.  And that is odd.  Spain is a country where the form of design is often prized over its functionality.  A trait it has bestowed upon its former colonies.

But, who cares?  The idea works.

It looks like a juice bag.  An envelope filled with liquid and topped off by a cap.  Easy to open.  Easy to dispense.  Easy to store.

I don't even care if it is a juice bag rip-off.  If that is where someone got the idea, they deserve credit for thinking outside of the juice box.

It is going to be a good trip.

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