Asparagus, Avocado and Tomato Salad; the Barcelona Beggar

Asparagus, Avocado and Tomato SaladAsparagus_avocado_tomato

We were walking down Las Ramblas in Barcelona, a few years ago, enjoying the beautiful spring evening.

A woman stopped us… An American.

She told us that someone had stolen her bags and her purse, leaving her with no money and no place to stay.

She rather looked like an old hippie (takes one to know one), long, graying hair, Birkenstocks, jeans…

She explained that she had called her brother in California and he was wiring money to her but she wouldn't be able to get it until morning.

She'd overheard us talking, knew we were fellow Americans, and was wondering if we could possibly give her some money to buy a sandwich…. To tide her over…

Of course, we gave her some money, kind, generous folks that we are.

Six months later….

Same woman, same story.

She got about 2 sentences in to the routine when mon mari snapped: "We gave last time".

A few months later, I hear an "Excuse me".  I turned around, it was her…


She didn't even speak; just walked away.

Another few months went by.

Once gain, we were walking down Las Ramblas.

Once again, we spotted her.

This time, mon mari just walked up to her and handed her a few coins.

She was speechless.

Over the ensuing years we developed a relationship of sorts.  Whenever she saw us, she would come over and warn us about a pickpocket, or a thief… Or maybe just tell us about another beggar that  was or was not worthy of our largess.

We always gave her something in exchange. 

The last few times we were in Barcelona we didn't see her.

Funny how people can cross our paths, leaving no appreciable impression, and, yet, still we remember them clearly.

I wonder what happened to her….

I miss spring in Barcelona…..

And speaking of spring… This is my new favorite spring salad: quick, easy and full of good foods.

Asparagus Avocado and Tomato Salad

Avocado, Asparagus and Tomato Salad

1 avocado
4oz (125gr) cherry tomatoes
8oz (250gr) asparagus
2 tbs fresh, snipped chives
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs olive oil

Mix soy sauce, vinegar and oil in a medium bowl.
Roll cut asparagus into 1 1/2 (4cm) lengths.  Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes.  Refresh in cold water; add to bowl with vinaigrette. 
Cut avocado into cubes; add to asparagus.  Slice cherry tomatoes in half; add to asparagus.  Add chives.  Stir well to combine and serve.

Do you have any ephemeral persons in your past? 

10 thoughts on “Asparagus, Avocado and Tomato Salad; the Barcelona Beggar”

  1. Barcelona is beautiful in Spring. I love it in Autumn too. It’s interesting that she was an American begging in Barcelona. I wonder how it all started out for her and why she ended up begging in BCN? She must have been able to survive on it if she was doing it for that long.

  2. There is a gentleman in uptown Toronto that wears a bowler hat, spats, and sports a walking cane – sort of a black Charlie Chaplin. He has hit me up for larger fare for the train – with a similar story of robbery.
    He is just so charming, I can’t help but give him the money… again.
    A lovely combo of flavours in you salad. I love Spring produce.

  3. My Beloved and I had a similar experience around Lake Merritt in Oakland – except our lady said she was escaping her physically abusive boyfriend and could we give her enough for a BART ticket back to the city. We not only gave her that, plus $20, we also took her to the BART station in our car and encouraged her to call us if she had any further trouble with the boyfriend, giving her our home number. Only later did we realize she must have been laughing up her sleeve at these two naive do-gooders!

  4. That salad is awesome Katie!!! I love it soooo fresh :D.
    Poor old woman… I’ve heard that Barcelona has doubled its number of beggars… the crisis doesn’t help!
    Get a day fixed, for example next Sant Jordi… I’ll walk down the Ramblas with you 😀

  5. Tanna, life is always interesting – when we pay attention..
    Amanda, I think some of them did okay… but it was curious.
    Zoomie, yeah, I’d do that… naive sucker, too.
    Natashya, sometimes, they’re worth it – when they’re charming.
    Shane, now I’m hungry for that…
    Nuria, oh, how I would love that… Have I missed Sant Jordi again?

  6. Interesting story – and reminded me that I have never met as many well-spoken, charming beggars as I did in the USA. Here in London, they tend to be under the influence, abusive or just plain scary, but in the USA they all seemed plausible.
    This salad sounds fantastic – lots of English asparagus about at the moment. The only challenge is to find avocados in this country that actually RIPEN rather than being rock hard on Monday and rotten on Tuesday…

  7. Jeanne, I remember when one didn’t see any in London – or, at least, I didn’t. They must have been some where.

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