Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dispatch from The Frontier: Macro-nation to Micro-nation

"Jack, long as we're over in this neck of the woods, I've got a hankering to see the town where Dali and Picasso and those guys hung out." "Mummph." That's what I say when I want to pretend that I know what she's talking about, but don't. "You know, Cadaqués. It's just down the coast from where our brake is set." "On it, Dolly-girl. I'll plot us a course."

Turns out that to go from where we were to where Dolly-girl wanted to see, you cross the border between France and Spain, two of what we, in the US of A, would call "countries." These are countries, not states. When you go from country to country, according to our way of thinking, you need guns and armed people and lots of them. Here's what the border between these two nations looks like now...

We continued on our way which included passing a lot of olive groves and grape vines on terraces. They looked like they'd been there a while to me. But I just kept thinking about that whole going-from-France-to-Spain thing. How are they going to keep people out so that all the people who arrived as immigrants but have conveniently forgot about it can protect themselves from people who want to arrive as immigrants?

We arrived in Cadaqués and it was as Dolly-girl described it. A beautiful town on the sea coast where years ago, if you wanted to get there, you probably did it by boat and then once you were there, people left yo alone even if you were a famous artist. Partly true today--I'm pretty sure I saw William Hurt in the cafe we stopped in, and I left him alone. I've also seen George Clooney on this trip and everyone was leaving him alone too. Still, there was some good looking graffiti that would lead one to believe things might have changed.

Finally, we did cross an international frontier--a real one with guns and police and everything--as we entered the micro nation of Andorra. "Get the passports, Dolly-girl, this one means business, not like those other play countries..." "Jack, they don't seem to be paying any attention--just keep driving." She was right--only the Spanish police looking at all the tax-free goods streaming back across the border seemed to care. No capers today.

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