Saturday, May 24, 2008
Gracias por no fumar
If there's a downside to being in Spain, it's that it is probably the last country in the world to realize that smoking is a Bad Thing. The UK is almost completely smoke free now, with no smoking allowed in indoor places and cigarettes being taxed higher and higher, and despite the stereotype, France doesn't have a lot of smoking anymore, but almost everyone in Barcelona smokes.
There are all these lovely outdoor cafes and beer gardens, but they're constantly thick with cigarette smoke all the time. Restaurants have separate "fumar" and "no fumar" sections, but it doesn't do a whole lot of good if everyone in the "fumar" section is puffing away. I've been conditioned not to be able to eat if there are people smoking in the vicinity, and Barcelona has been a bit tough for that. Strangely enough, the best place to find a smoke free meal is the touristy Las Ramblas area. In a few more years, I think smoking may be a thing of the past, but there are still a few countries like Spain where it's as popular as ever.