When it comes to food, the ever lasting crusade of being a “traveller” or a “tourist” emerges again. It might be the motive of thousands of professional essays and articles about how to differ one from the other, and if such a distinction exists at all. But when it comes to the ubiquitous realm of food, then it will require no efforts at all to tell them apart. Let’s take the ever sunny Spain with its wide spread sandy beaches, its overly vigorous bullfighting, its passionate Flamenco and its bloody red Tomatina festival as the prime example. Here starts that intricate test that you would have never thought to sit. The aim is to demonstrate that you are “Not Just a Tourist” but instead have a more traveller sort of mindset. Or even if you are a tourist (let’s be honest, we are all tourists at some point) you don’t have any intentions to remain in the limbo for the rest of your vacations. Have you read Kafka Metamorphosis? At this turning point you are undergoing a similar metamorphosis, moving from the blunt state of being Just a Tourist towards the VIP status of being “Not Just a Tourist”.
First day of your stay in Spain, visiting the Andalusian gem: Seville. All excited about its southern charm, the subtle jingle of the horse carriages on the cobbled streets, bright yellow coloured buildings, the astonishingly overwhelming cathedral, the mindblowing smell of orange blossoms, and the bustling street cafes. All of the sudden the tempting smell of Spanish coffee lures you into an animated cafe. What would you order? A coffee please? Wrong! Why not hanging around for a little while and observe what people around you order? Un “Café con leche”? Un “cortado”? Un “café bombon”? “Un maquina” maybe? That’s it. You got it. Here you have your freshly brewed ever first Spanish coffee.
The show must go on and so do your first steps into that long lasting dream, called, holidays in Spain! By noon you feel quite hungry and are constantly allured by the numerous cafes in the old town with their immaculately white table cloths swinging in the light breeze of the April month. Would you give it a go or rather miss the chance? Afraid of the long list of all those illegible names that don’t mean any thing to you but a full and frustrating menace? You wish you would have taken those optional Spanish lessons, or your teacher was a bit more attractive. Would you decide to go for a “Paella” calling for a “Paela”? Wrong! “Paella” is surely a fantastic choice but wait a minute, let’s first check where you are- in Seville! Where does the “Paella” come from? Hummm, Surely Google knows it better than anybody else. Oh yes, Valencia, way far from Seville, plunged into the Mediterranean Sea.
Have you heard of that century old proverb: in Rome do what the Romans do. So, what do people in Seville do? Of course, they eat “Tapas”, delicious tapas that were always kind of a mystery to you, what is it? Where does it come from? Or for the most honest ones maybe: what dose it refer to? Here is the once in the life time opportunity to indulge yourself with the wide variety of the tapas that you have in each cafe and bar sitting attractively in the bar waiting just like the Miss World to be chosen. Not sure about what to try? This is what Tapas is all about! You don’t have to choose only one and then regret it absolutely for the rest of your life as it was not what you thought it would be and as it cost so much. Just pick up a few of them and let’s your mouth buds get excited with so much new inspiration.
It’s time to get back to work, sorry, to continue the sightseeing, the Cathedral maybe? Or if you have done it before, a leisurely stroll in the old town? Or perhaps a walk through the Bohemian neighbourhood, la Alameda? After all you have seen enough cathedrals, monuments, old towns. What you need to see now is an evidence of the city and its urge to redefine itself, where the trendy and the cool, the bohemian and the beatnik, the gypsy, the artist, the hippie and the unconventional head to.
By the time you get there you are overly satisfied with your achievement as the savvy tourist, you have that unyielding smile on your face and are almost about to whistle out of joy. Every thing has worked out the same and easy way it would have worked back home. In Seville without fear! With the culminating success that you passed the cafe, lunch and the stroll test your brain cries for a bit of stimulant. So you sit down at a street cafe in the shady and tranquil Alameda and wonder how to face the new challenge now. It’s been a hot and sunny day and you would appreciate a refreshing drink
Scanning fast through all the Stereotypes you had, just before launching for this trip to the “south” the word “Sangria” stands out. But, there must be something wrong, if the “Paella” was not the right choice neither the plain cafe, nor sitting in a restaurant and ordering a full meal would be anything close to the idea of dining in Seville, then why should “Sangria” be the right drink to order? You look around and see a few glasses of temptingly refreshing pomegranate red drinks standing with pride on most of the tables. You gather all your courage, stand up, approach the table nearby and ask with your sweet foreigner accent: pardon, and point at the demonic red glass: nombre por favor? There are unanimously cheerful voices chanting in choir: ”tinto de verano”! By now it’s clear that you are “Not Just a Tourist” anymore! Welcome to the land of “tinto de verano”, the land of the southern plenitude!