Saturday, October 10, 2009

Barcelona!

First and foremost, being in a foreign country and finding out that your president has won the Nobel Peace Prize is one of the weirdest, proudest moments to occur. Going into a foreign store, looking at the news, seeing the headline, and knowing that the two Americans you are with are the only people to feel the same way as you in a very large radius is a bizarre phenomenon.

Second, I apologize for the anachronistic nature of this post but I want to get the mugging out of the way first. I promise everything else will be as chronological as possible. No more numbers.

Went to Barcelona this weekend.

The Mugging: One and a half blocks away from the hostel we were staying, a group of Spaniards asked me where a Negro Discotec was. If it doesn't seem like Spanish it's because it was some weird fusion of Catalon, English, and Spanish. Anyways, I made the very big mistake of saying I didn't know where the fuck a discotec was. That means I made eye contact. They persisted and insisted on continuing to ask in broken Spanglish. They kept trying to explain what negro was (it's black btw). In order to get close to me, on the assumption that I knew very little Spanish, one of them kept pointing out things of mine that were black. He was handsy; I'll get to that in a sec. He kept pushing his hands toward my pockets and belt, explaining that my belt was black (which it wasn't, it was brown, moreno). When he pushed my shirt away and saw that my belt was brown I could tell his energy faded. I was blocked off from the girls at this point by another of the “gang” and they were looking for a way to take my stuff. I continued to push his hands away from my body and at one point he full on touched my junk. Great. I barely responded to his words and my knowledge of what he was saying made his actions seem stupid. I got lucky, it just took too long for them to get close enough to take my stuff (I just wasn't drunk or uninformed enough for them to take advantage of me, but it's a very fine line). They gave up and we went to the hostel. The girls were pissed that I blew off the incident, but I figure that if I get out of a potential mugging with only mild sexual assault, it's a good story and nothing more.

In all honesty, writing about it just now made me more nervous than I was then. I am really surprised I got away with everything and without any physical confrontation. I got lucky. Really lucky.

Back to the timeline. Got off the plane and took a bus into Barcelona. The hostel: Centric Point, very nice and close to everything, also right off a Metro stop. I would stay there again. Wandered around. All the pictures we took I either have are of my eyes closed or I look like I haven't slept in weeks. I had fun though I promise.

There are a lot of Americans there. Correction: there are lots of foreigners, I truly have not heard that many foreign languages in a city ever. San Francisco comes close, but the sheer number of European, American, and Asian tourists that spoke little or no Spanish/Catalon astounded me. It doesn't really matter though, everyone speaks English in BCN. It's just weird, I haven't heard that much English in a long time, kind of a culture shock.

We were booked for a 6 person hostel room and when we came back from shopping, a yellow towel was draped on the chair in the room. We sat and conjectured on the nature of our new room mate. Our bet was a German/French girl traveling alone for some reason. When we came back from dinner later that night we were greeted by a six foot tall Dutch guy named Mark (who incidentally traveled back to Madrid with us).

We drank tinto de veranos (Red wine and fanta) in the hostel room and went out looking for fun. We made it to Hook and grabbed mojitos (at the recommendation of my cousin Crystal). Quiet bar with a pirate theme, seems like Crystal's scene. And it just blew me away to think that she had been there before and spent time there, in a place so distant for both of us. A bizarre sort of connection and shared experience followed.

Almost got mugged. Returned and found a naked Dutch Mark asleep in his bed.

Next day went to Parc Guell as well as doing our own version of a Gaudi tour. That guy was really cool, dunno a thing about him though. Parc Guell is amazing. Absolutely beautiful view of the city, a real tourist destination but totally worth it. Previous to that we went down to the Playa and I dipped my feet in the Mediterranean. It was warm, and awesome.

Previous to all that though, I got us a little lost and we found ourselves at the marina. Just by sheer coincidence I ran into Liz and Max, I couldn't believe my luck. We talked for a bit. But I assume that they couldn't figure out international calling like me because we never could call each other after that. Oh well. But it was great to see them and it made me realize I want to visit London.

For dinner we got bad Chinese food. I know, authentic Spanish. Anyways, called Jarrod (Tufts, tall, skinny, and apparently quite gullible) and talked to him about meeting later. Not a big deal, except the part where I told him that the girls and I had smoked crack in a very serious voice. He believed me. I forgot to tell him otherwise and until about two hours ago he believed we had smoked crack last night.

We checked out the clubs on the playa after going to an Irish pub called 32. the club scene is kind of nuts, I would like to try it sometime. Got back to the hostel around four. A symphony of snores emanating from our newest room mate Charles (the sixth and final person. From LA, large asian) with background vocals from Mark. Passed out, woke up to Charles farting really loudly.

I'm back and going out again. That was my weekend.