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Breathing in Barcelona

the big city, the crowded maze, all of us mixed into a tiny space
from all walks of life, from different cultures
and all with a story of our own
and a dream
most of us come to a city like Barcelona for a reason
some escaping their stories, starting new
some looking for refuge, money, a career
some looking for relaxation, art, inspiration
alone, sad, lonely
in the big city
escaping something, ending up in a labyrinth of a different type of pain
selling our souls for survival
only to sell the soul yet again to slavery
people come here with money
while some look for their next meal in the leftovers of the fancy restaurants' rubbish bins
the city;
a doorway to a new life
living the dream
new possibilities
anonimously starting over
entering through that door, alone
leaving things behind, breaking through into the new
rebirth is painful
our first breath is painful
"Welcome Tourist. The rent of holiday apartments in this neighbourhood destroys the local socio-cultural fabric and promotes speculation. Many local residents are forced to move out.
Enjoy your stay"

i wonder who wrote this.
i found it in the area of Barceloneta, where an extremely high percentage of the inhabitants are immigrants from south america. this group of immigrants are obviously not high income-takers.

but it still makes me think.
who does Barcelona "belong" to?
is it fair to try to keep the "tourists" out?
the tourists, who bring money to the city of Barcelona.
the tourists, who drop a coin to the street performers, who buy the fake Gucci-bags sold by the African illegal immigrants, the tourists who eat tapas in the Chinese-owned bars and who buy cold beer from the Pakistani boys.
The tourists, who, with their influx of money, provide food for the day to a lot of people, who all came here, with their story, with their dream.

who has a right to say they want to keep anyone else "out"?
who says the African guy should go back to Africa? and possibly die on the way? who says the tourists should stay only in Eixample and Gótico?
Barcelona is one of those places, made up of temporary stories, temporary dreams, coming and going, alone and together, entering and exiting.
first breath hurts, last breath is unknown.

inbetween, we are all just here, trying to survive.
in this moment, the socio-cultural fabric of Barcelona, is all of us, rich or poor.
we all share one thing: a breath still breathing.
and we will keep on sharing, until the day it doesn't anymore.


  1. Though this post is a couple of years old, I just saw that same sign today. It's still hanging in Barceloneta. My question is, what alternative would the sign-maker suggest? That tourists get rooms in hotels, giving their money to large companies instead of local landlords? That tourists avoid this part of town altogether? I can't really see how either of those things would economically benefit the area. As far as I can tell, the sign-maker is just annoyed that out-of-towners find these apartments especially valuable, as shown by their willingness to pay a higher price than locals do. It's called the Free Market, duh.


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