I tried to be the polite roommate when I awoke at ten o’clock, but I did accidentally make some excess noise, which soon was followed by irritated sighs and scrunched, sleep-covered faces quasi-glaring at me: a pet peeve of mine that has grown monumentally during this trip.
Most of the day involved going to a couple of museums in the Gothic Quarter of the city. I headed out a bit late this time around noon, after a brief check-up on e-mail of course. I decided to have a pre-lunch breakfast that involved a creme croissant and a normal coffee. After that, it was off to the Chocolate Museum, which was all right in that it gave a free bar of chocolate upon purchasing a ticket at the entrance. The sculptures there were okay; nothing too awe-inspiring stuck with me. Chocolate versions of Don Quijote, FC Barcelona, and the Pieta were some highlights. Apparently there are a few of these museums around the world with the same history-of-cacao section. Still, I got some cool photos and had some much needed chocolate.
When I finished here, I went to the Picasso Museum, which was a bit of a letdown honestly for the price of 9 Euros. Many of his works housed at this one were from his university days and times before he was exceedingly popular. Therefore, there were very “normal” paintings around most of the exhibit. At least it was cool wandering around here with a fellow hosteller, even though she wandered off near the end of the whole thing (and I don’t recall her name).
I wandered a tiny bit more around the Gothic Quarter, then shuffled back to Las Ramblas to find the open air market. I found it, closed. As it was Sunday, nothing would be open to the public. Downcast, I made my way back to the hostel for a longer-than-normal siesta before dinner. Here’s where I met the next intriguing character on my journey: David from Scotland. He was an overweight, middle/late-aged guy who has been to a fair few places in his life. He has lived in San Francisco, New York City, and even knows people in the gorgeous city of Lorain, Ohio – near my stamping grounds. He has also gone extensively throughout Europe, including smuggling drugs to soldiers in France and Germany; plus, he had recently been traveling through Morocco before stumbling over to Barca. Strange bloke.
With the siesta over, I went to purchase my bus tickets for Tuesday, which wasn’t too difficult. After that task completed, I got some dinner at this side shop: tortilla española and some kind of salad with rice and corn. The waiter tried to charge me for the bread that he put on the table (which I didn’t touch once!). This grated on my nerves, another fuck-the-tourist move that I’ve seen before. These things don’t pass by me, and I didn’t pay a cent for that uneaten bread!
That evening I stayed in once more, a strange occurrence considering this is Barcelona. I hung out with a fair bit of people including David, Vito, and Brendon – along with some others. D & B had been out scoping the stores and returned with a large quantity of beer. We all had our fill. The topic of conversation skipped from subject to subject with Alhambra flowing freely; starting off normal, harmless, everyday chitchat to more depressing topics, especially the economic state of the world and the shitty health-care that America has. It was still a good evening. I had tried to steer my part of the conversation in the room from the depressing shit (God knows I didn’t need more of that presently), and I became successful of the rest of the night.
One weird moment happened in the evening: three newcomers arrived at the hostel around 9:30 found no one at the reception area. The workers had to be called to return to the hostel and check these people in! It was odd that they would leave before the precise time of ten, that’s when they had to stay. I will never understand everything. They got to check in eventually, and we gave them some beer in sympathy of their plight.
I had no special things today happen for the most part. Again. I spent most of it heading back to the Gothic Quarter with David, the Scot. I showed him around the area, stopping at some side shop/bar to catch a quick lunch that for consisted of a shepherd’s salad and calamari (not the best, pretty greasy and a very small portion).
When that was over, we traipsed through the quarter some more, saw the always-under-construction cathedral, and sat on the steps where Mr. Columbus supposedly asked Ferdinand and Isabella for the dinero to get to “America.” Here our discussion grew highly political again, talking about the election to take place and the excessive amount of racism and also fundamentalism in the US in comparison to other areas of the world.
I forgot to mention the market! That was the first place the pair of us went to today. There was a remarkable amount of fruit on display. Salivation commenced and continued for centuries. Figs, dragonfruit, kiwis, mangos, papayas, you name it; they had it. I tried this mixture of coconut and mango in smoothie form; it was definitely amazing, with the coconut not too overpowering as you might expect from such a mixture. The market was decent overall with all the variety you might come to expect at one (including various forms of pork you definitely wouldn’t find in Turkey). I still prefer the Kadıköy market.
I contemplated going to the top of the Sagrada Familia after David and I finished our discussion on the “Columbus” steps. In the end, the option was the hostel to read and vegetate. As I lay on the couch, some hostellers put in the first Harry Potter flick, so inbetween chapters of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle I glanced at the TV screen showing the black-and-white version of the film. The TV for some reason had a tiny glitch that day.
That evening brought another march to the supermarket, where I found exceptionally cheap cucumbers and Granny Smith apples. Dave, a Chilean woman (whose name I’ve forgotten), and I went to collect some more goods for the dinner. We all returned back to the hostel along with €2 cases of beer to add to our load, but we had to wait in line for the two lone electric burners (sent by Satan himself to torture us).
While waiting, I munched on cheese, olives, cucumbers, and sipped wine elegantly from a coffee mug. Soon we had a burner for the mashed potatoes. Part One of the cookout began. The second burner eventually opened up for meat, onions, and garlic (plus a healthy helping of red wine). Just about all was ready soon. Maria (the Chilean girl, remembered her name!) decided to add in some salt to the potatoes, only to have the lid pop off because it hadn’t been on 100% tight. All the salt cascaded into the pot mixing with the mashed potatoes. As you can guess, Maria was none too pleased with the incident. She resigned to pitch the potatoes, but we salvaged a bit that was eatable despite the salt dunes. I scrambled some eggs in recompense and split it between the three of us. That with the beer was a decent supper I think.
There was going to be another venture out into the city with some of the hostel heads (as there are many Sant Jordis around, not just our Arago facility). This time, a guy called Eduardo was our guide.
After we injected our bodies with alcohol, we set off to the bar called Le Kasbar. Little did I know that it was really masked as a club with an outside looking like the normal dive bar. Figures. I don’t think they have true bars in Barcelona (other than that mojito dive, tapas places, and also Irish pubs). There were a ton of Americans in our group this time: all I can remember name-wise is some dude named Leo and a girl called Erica. There were also a few Aussies.
I can’t really hate this club too much, as they had a few songs here and there which were nice and were played to the very end! Not like Shoko. I really wasn’t in a dancing mood, though. Near the end of my stay there, I sat at the bar and sipped on a rum and coke, chatting with some Aussie dude from the hostel who wasn’t big on the dancing tonight either. That passed the time nicely.
Not too long after, most of the group decided to go somewhere else. The Aussie and a couple others weren’t up for it, so the four of us split a cab back to the hostel and made it an early night. Around 1:30.