As if a salve for people like me who have to go back to work tomorrow, Michael Lewis hits the New York Times Op-Ed pages this weekend with TWO articles with cheery titles. The End of the Financial World as We Know It and How to Repair a Broken Financial World.
Gleaned from these articles are 7 ways to begin the recovery:
1. “Congress might grant qualifying homeowners the ability to get new government loans based on the current appraised values without requiring their bankâ€™s consent.”
2. “Stop making big regulatory decisions with long-term consequences based on their short-term effect on stock prices.”
3. “End the official status of the rating agencies.”
4. “Regulate credit-default swaps.”
5. “Impose new capital requirements on banks.”
6. “Break up any institution that becomes too big to fail.”
7. “Close the revolving door between the S.E.C. and Wall Street…But keep the door open the other way.”
The funny thing is, thereâ€™s nothing all that radical about most of these changes. A disinterested person would probably wonder why many of them had not been made long ago. A committee of people whose financial interests are somehow bound up with Wall Street is a different matter.
Thanks for clicking on the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. There are 10 chapters total, listed at the end of this post. Check out the introduction for more information.
Admittedly, I haven’t been on many airlines recently, or ever, but Iberia airlines seemed above average to me. The flight took off on time, which these days is almost all you can ask, and they actually served two edible meals. I realized as soon as I shut my cell phone off that I hadn’t brought any type of watch and the vacation would be (excuse me) timeless. Ooof.
We landed in Madrid in what was the middle of the night for us and had a bit of trouble figuring out how to get to our connecting flight to Barcelona. The interesting architecture of Barcelona started with the ceiling of the Madrid airport and the way they filter light into the terminals. We landed in Barcelona and the doors in the back and the front opened to aid in disembarkation onto some buses for a trip across the airport to customs. There were 4 lines, 2 for EU residents and 2 for non-EU residents. Eventually all of the EU residents filter through and the 2 guys who had been checking the EU residents went on break. Down to 2 lines, the fast one and the slow one. Obviously, we’re in the slow line. Excruciatingly, the guy seemed to be playing 20 questions with each person trying to get through. Not asking 20 relevant questions about border patrol related issues regarding importation of fruits and vegetables, but literally playing 20 questions. “Is it an animal?” “Is it a mammal?”
What we didn’t know before we left was that the day of our arrival was also the day of an exciting, organized taxi strike. We didn’t realize there was a strike going on until after we got to our hotel, but the line for the A1 Bus from the airport to the PlaÃ§a de Catalunya did seem quite long. As we got to the front of the line, there was a guy in a suit carrying a small Zara bag telling us to go to the unmarked bus behind the A1 bus. I point out the suit and the Zara bag because it struck me as utterly ridiculous. Mr. Bean-like. We were exhausted and he was speaking quickly, so we followed his direction and got on the bus. It dawned on me that we weren’t on an official bus, this was just some enterprising dudes with a bus taking advantage of the taxi strike. Capitalism, it’s electric!
We got to the Hotel Regencia Colon after a short walk and checked into our room that surprisingly had a view of the Cathedral and smelled of smoke for only a second when walking into the room. We slept for an hour before getting up to explore. And explore we did. We walked around the Cathedral, Barri Gotic, Ciutat Vella, down to the water, and up Las Ramblas to La Boqueria. Then we seemingly did most of it all again looking for a phone card or internet cafe or both to get in touch with some friends who were in town.
We connected with Crystal who had us meet her at Flaherty’s to watch a EuroCup 2008 match between France and Holland. It was a strange experience to be jet lagged on our first night in Barcelona in an Irish Pub full of Dutch people (with a smattering of French people). It was all very continental. When The Netherlands scored (4 times in all), the place exploded, and beer got spilled on me. We weren’t sure if we’d be able to sleep because of the jet lag, but all the walking we did had us asleep for 10 hours.
There are 10 chapters in the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. I hope you find them useful.
Day 1: Barcelona to Boston: PlaÃ§a de Catalunya
Day 2: More Walking: Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum, Ciutadella, Euskal Etxea
Day 3: Gaudi and Eating: Casa MilÃ
Day 4: More Gaudi: Parc Guell, Sagrada FamÃlia
Day 5: Sitges and Birthdays: Barcelona Cathedral, Parrots Hotel, The Beach House
Day 6: Sitges and Beach
Day 7: Sitges and Montserrat: Montserrat
Day 8: Sitges
Day 9: Too Hot to Shop: Aparthotel Calabria, La Boqueria, TapaÃ§ 24
Day 10: Montjuic: Montjuic
Map of where we went or wished we had.