Week by Week – W19Y2017
What a week we had in Barcelona, Europe’s Modernista architecural marvel. Followed by a train ride to and a few days in Madrid. The US really needs to embrace the low cost air carrier, regional airport, and train transportation options that Europe has. So many of the fellow travelers we met, who were from Europe, were in Barcelona on some ridiculously low airfare trip from London, Germany, etc. We are almost intentionally limiting social mobility and economic development by not opening up our transportation options.
I often dream of a day when Atlanta will return to its train hub routes and build high speed rail lines connecting the city to other regional metros. Maybe one day we will be able enter a huge Grand Central style terminal near Midtown Atlanta with a Phoenix statue on top and a giant departures and arrivals board listing times for routes to cities all over the US. I think what is feasible within the next decade are fast routes to and from the following: Athens, Augusta, Birmingham, Charleston, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Macon, Nashville, Savannah, and Valdosta.
Of course, I have personally come to prefer high speed rail travel to plane travel. You can move around as you need from beginning to end. They have food & beverage cars with a full bar and dining area. The restrooms are a lot bigger and cleaner. Even the economy seats boast as much legroom and seat space as domestic business class. I wish I had the kind of money to become a modern day Rail Tycoon and bring Hyperloop or Japanese quality high speed rail to the states.
Blogging is becoming a real passion for me. Now that I have embraced the tools and techniques for composing effectively using my iPad and iPhone. I use a combination of the native iOS notes app, photos, Safari links, and the WordPress app to put together my posts. Moreover, I’ve become more comfortable with a more iterative approach to putting together entries. Coming back over and over to revise and structure them until they are complete.
Essentially, I have gone back and started to do everything my English and Grammer teachers tried to beat into me. In fact, by the time this post goes out, I will have spent two weeks without my laptop and going into my third. I’m not missing it much, except for tasks related backend programming or some large file tasks. I’m sure I can learn how to do tackle those also using just a tablet. I’m debating asking our IT Department to give me a 12 inch iPad Pro when I am next eligible for an equipment upgrade instead of a laptop.
Discovering running routes around Barcelona and Madrid, was just the shot in the arm my training routine needed. Not knowing exactly where I am going and just searching for adventure is the purest form of running. One foot in front of the other, slow pace, and head on a swivel. Barcelona deliveries in everyway. Big wide sidewalks, pedestrian & cyclist friendly motorist, flat roads, and something picturesque at every turn. Barcelona is too enticing for runners to miss. I want to come back and run the Half-Marathon here. Just check out some of the sights I have had while running around.
In fact, I think if we lived in Barcelona that I would be in peak triathlon shape most of the time. I would have access to open water swimming, many local aquatic clubs, plenty of cyclist friendly roads to ride on or even into the mountains, and running routes for days. There are also the remaining and still functioning Olympic facilities spread across town to help get you inspired.
News reports all week hinted at how retail is dying more and more (see Whole Foods, PayLess, BeBe, etc.). At least the brick and morter variety. Though, like with news of Apple’s slightly down iPhone sales during their earnings report, we are may be seeing some declining consumer demand. I for one am somewhat glad to see this. I am all for the Minimalism movement. This lifestyle doesn’t eschew consumption all together but promotes intential living and purchases that promote a sustainable economic model and culture.
Unbridaled consumerism and speculation cannot last. There is no purchase outlast the emotional permanence of a once in a lifetime experience like snorkeling in the Pacific off of the coast of Kauai. Moreover, unchecked speculation will leave us in one economic bubble after another. The impacts of which aren’t shown in the evening news but should be. The abandoned malls, deserted neighborhoods and facilities, along with the socio-economic devastation levied by a consumption based system is killing a generation or more of promising futures. I am not going to blame Amazon. Because their growth only highlights that the promblem of rampant consumption only shifted online from brick and mortar stores.
Checkout this amazing blog by Sherman Cahal called Abandoned. It chronicles through photo journalism the myriad of forgotten spaces around America. Some of the buildings are awe inspiring even in their lonely and neglected state. Others are ghostly and gut wrenching in their almost post apocalyptic nature. Please make a donation to support the site while you’re there.
To see how got here, just look at some quick facts to emphasize how out of control retail has gotten in America. The US has over 1100 malls and about 7.3 sq ft of retail space per person; which is roughly 3 times as much as most other countries. Writers at the Motley Fool have been calling this retail space glut out since 2009. The problem is even spreading to Canada.
But we can do better, like with the example of these reclaimed Sears stores across the country. Ponce City Market in Atlanta or others around America. Luckily, new enclosed mall building has stopped since 2006. I love what is being done to reclaim some of these previously lost buildings. We can do more and keep pushing to do more and convert more old buildings into the service spaces we’re lacking. After school centers, shelters, psychiatric & medical facilities, fitness, and transportation hubs.
Lastly, a collection of panoramics from around Spain these past two weeks.