Trying to Find Large Portions of Anything

They say in America everything is so big. Meals, people, houses.

Well in Europe I’ve found things actually are small relative to what I’m used to. In some places this is good. Small little curvy streets with cobblestones and low doorways are cute and much prettier than the cookie cutter housing establishments in the States. But when it comes to my gastronomic needs, I find things woefully inadequate.

At three dinners in Europe so far I’ve told the waiter my order and she responds, "Wow, are you hungry?" Upon receiving the meal I’ve found it to be about just right. I’m always seeming to have to order a starter or two and one or two main entres.

Today Austin and I hunted for a big water bottle. Not these little 1/4 liter bullshit bottles, but real, 1 or 2 liter bottles. We looked and looked and looked. Nothing. Suddenly we spotted a girl with a big bottle, asked her where she purchased the conveted good, and, following her directions, made our way to that shop in this mall. We looked and looked. Nothing. We asked a Spanish woman working at a store. She pointed to a place across the hall that sold big water bottles. The store had only small water bottles on display. We asked her, in Spanish, whether she had bottles GRANDE. She went to the back of her shop and finally pulled out the jewels (see pic). Why the hell aren’t they on display? Who knows.


Later, at Park Guell, the climate and environment felt like the middle of an African desert. We were roasting. Finding free water is considerably more difficult in hot tourist spots since there are vendors a plenty looking to sell you the overexpensive bullshit bottles. Austin and I resolved not to patronage such an affront against our human rights to water. We searched for a fountain, which has appeared throughout Spain on various streets. No luck. Before, I would have merely said "Woe is me" and collapse on a bench from heat stroke. Now, I have a new strategy which is absolutely killer: identify tourists walking around who have a *big* bottle (ie one they couldn’t have just bought) and ask them where they re-filled it. I did it in the park and the man directed me to a free fountain 3 minutes away. It was so out-of-the-way I had to ask two natives ("Hay agua libre…") to make sure I was headed the right way.

Summation: Meals are smaller in Europe. That’s probably why they don’t have an obesity problem. If you’re an American who’s not obese, however, be prepared to order more food than usual. On the water front, try asking others where they filled up the bottles.

1 comment on “Trying to Find Large Portions of Anything
  • The reason there’s no free water is because it’s a scarce commodity in Spain. Or rather there’s plenty in the north but not much elsewhere. The north won’t give it up as it sees this as mortgaging its future. In the south, they have desalination plants.

    Few people drink tap water because it is only in the last 25 years that Spain has had enough for the whole country – one way or the other – and there is a natural suspicion over quality. As for taste – the stuff in the south is disgusting and warm out the tap (faucet).

    The big bottle problem flummoxes me. Go to any supermarket and you can buy it in up to 8 litre bottle sizes. Try gas stations as well.

    On the food front – maybe think also about the waste of food in the US?

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