Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Palacios Chorizo Challenges

A few months ago now, a couple of friends came to visit. They stopped in Paris on the way. After a particularly inspiring trip to the Louis Vuitton store, they found a cafe for lunch and, through error or inattention, ordered an enormous plate of blue cheese, a food item they both abhor. It was then that my male friend (the challenger) challenged my female friend (the challengee). The challenger promised that if the challengee ate the entire plate of cheese, he would buy her the 800 euro Louis Vuitton bag they saw that afternoon.

The challengee didn't trust that the challenger was sincere and didn't attempt to make a dent in the cheese. Later, after repeated assurances of good faith, the challengee came to believe that she had made a horrible mistake. To revive her chances of obtaining the coveted bag, she requested that further challenges be proposed. The challenger obliged, but he was no longer in a generous mood.

The second incarnation of the Louis Vuitton challenge involved the challengee walking into the Mediterranean (off of Barcelona's city beach) fully clothed, submerging herself completely and, once back on land, making the hour long trek home on foot in her soaking clothes. The challengee tried to negotiate this one to permit the leaving behind of personal items like her watch and purse, but to no avail.

Finally, just before they left Barcelona, the challenger gave the challengee one last chance. We were picnicking in Parc Guell, a tourist filled park of a hundred hectares or so situated on the side of a fairly steep hill. After we finished lunch, just as we were on the verge of getting a little restless, the challenger made this proposition to the challengee: run around the park twice in 10 minutes or less and the bag is yours. By way of reference, it had taken us just under 10 minutes to climb up the hill to where we were sitting (approximately a quarter of the route that the challengee--in flip flops--would have to run twice). The challengee couldn't say no. She raced off before we could shout "go!". We stopped timing after 15 minutes had passed and she hadn't yet completed the first circuit. Eventually, she showed up, pink and breathless, asking how she was doing on time.

In the end, all the challengee had to show for the Louis Vuitton challenges was a fairly impressive blister on her right foot. We photographed it alongside the mosaic tiled benches of Parc Guell--the mosaics are pictured above without the blister.

The challenges came to be known as the Louis Vuitton Challenges and their high brow nature perfectly sets the stage for a new set of challenges: the Palacios Chorizo Challenges.

I will have to tell you about those tomorrow.

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