Barceloneta Xiringuitos: Goodbye

Cities tend to change and adapt to the new needs. It is said: either update or die… but it’s not foreseen that with each renewal there are some things that just disappear

Along the seaside of the Mediterranean Sea there used to laid out the xiringuitos: traditional and romantic restaurants with an ancient taste. They succumbed to the excavators in behalf of modernity in the Barcelona of 1992.

It’s not the aim of this report to question the convenience of the demolition of the xiringuitos or its preservation, the need of the city to regain the coastline, etc. The reality is that the project of the Olympic Barcelona in 1992 brought the excavators to the beaches of the Barceloneta and they finished with toilets and restaurants.

Goodbye to the romantic dinners under the stars, by the light of a candle or by the seaside. Goodbye to the toasts for a better future with your feet buried on the sand. No more “urban” disorder caused by the old wood repainted every summer, the recycled bricks and flagstones and the illumination of the 125 watts bulbs. No more glamour from “El Salmonete”, “Gato Negro”, “Sol y Sombra”, “Can Costa” or “El Rancho” above many others. No more anonymous fishing boats burning up the night of the 23rd of June during the so traditional fireworks of the Sant Joan celebration. The landscape has changed, and with it, people’s habits. Some of the personalities –the photograph, the guitarist- have relocated in time and space with more or less fortune; others –the natives of Palma and the gypsy who sang “sa, sa, sa”- have disappeared, or at least I haven’t seen them since. There will never be more “wet and sanded paella” in August when suddenly, after a sunny, roasting morning, the situation turns into a heavy wind, bringing a convenient bunch of black clouds which pour all their fury and liquid content on your head. And if you don’t take shelter, after the brief storm you look more as if you had survived a shipwreck than a Sunday tripper. Everything has transformed, even the weather: it doesn’t rain like that anymore… the “Col·lectiu d’Arròs Blanc i Negre” has also, in its own way, succumbed –we were eight photographers determined to conquer the world…- and it was left in an indefinite standby… and so proves it that the “Barceloneta –Xiringuitos” was the first and last project –until today- that we carried out. At that time, we would have celebrated it with a delicious wild rice; now we meet every once and a while to have dinner in a Chinese or Mexican restaurant. Anyway, that’s what it is now…

This is an eighth part of the original report, but here it is, for some to know, for others to remember. Done between 1990, 1991 and 1992 in Barcelona.

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