Thursday, July 12, 2007
I was "bicing" (bicycling) down Rambla Catalunya today, on my way to a class, when all of a sudden the traffic became unbelievably slow, then essentially stopped. It was even difficult for those of us on bicycles to negotiate our way along. Turned out it was because of the throngs who had stopped on the sidewalks to watch Woody Allen work.
I didn't sop because it would have made me late, but he seemed to be pacing out a scene. (Is that the correct lingo?) To me he looked like a nice old guy in a fishing hat. He was a little heavier than I expected. (I thought people were supposed to look heavier on film and lighter in person!)
OK, that's all I saw, so now for the controversy. It's twofold: 1. residents are beginning to complain about traffic jams, crowds of people, special privileges alloted to El Señor Allen. 2. Opposition politicians in Barcelona's city government have accused socialist mayor Jordi Hereu of giving Señor Allen essentially carte blanche in exchange for a photo opportunity when he was in New York not so long ago.
Well, maybe I'm oversimplifying the second point a little. Apparently, the city has invested in the project, along with the Spanish and Catalan governments. The conservative Popular Party (PP) wants to know exactly how much the city has spent. So far the response from city hall has only been to say it is under a million euros. The PP also wants to know who paid for trips the mayor city council members made to New York City to meet with Señor Allen.
Hmmm, the plot thickens...