Monday, September 14, 2009

Barcelona: When it rains, go figure - it pours...

Ok, so I´ve been sulking. Can you blame me? This trip hasn´t quite turned out the way I planned but to my surprise...perhaps it has? Yes, that is the question. I got the rest I apparently needed - I managed to blitz through three novels and triple the amount of candy bars (I´ve succumbed to the idea that dire situations call for dire exceptions - no luggage equals a well deserved candy binge). I came down with a slight head cold, probably from the migraine and stress bestowed upon by the lovely British Airways - but more likely from the strange weather here in Barcelona. Heavens above, it´s raining...

Not the kind of rain that makes you want to dance in, to twirl in your summery Spanish dress and raise your arms, trying to feel the wet drops on you palms and open face. Not the kind that makes you giggle because it´s made your shirt a bit damp and want to find cover under a stranger´s umbrella perhaps finding yourself in pleasant encounter with a new friend. No, it is not that kind of rain. Because should you decide to do any of the above, you will likely be shot down by lightning. The raindrops are the kind that are as big as blobs; loud and thick they can drench you in a matter of seconds. There are slim chances for a friendly encounter that might deem romantic because everyone is running with their umbrellas. Thunder booms so loudly the building shakes from its ferocity, followed by lightning so intense it illuminates the skies in angry streaks of white shards.

This did not dissuade me from running across the the street however, to grab a late lunch, for I could no longer ignore the hunger in my stomach that threatened a storm of its own. By the time I stepped out of McDonald´s (ok, I´ve secretly been having it at every opportunity...) the rain had lightened up a bit and I was able to find a clean if not slightly damp bench to eat my chicken nuggets and yogurt parfait as I did what I enjoyed doing most- I people-watched. It seemed that the people tourists and locals alike, aren´t sure of how to dress for Barcelona´s spontaneous changes in weather. Women were still wearing dresses and brazenly skimpy shorts, men passed by, also in shorts and tank tops. Then there were others, those who were more prepared it seemed, wearing raincoat panchos, others carrying large umbrellas, and some dressed in winter attire.

I noticed that like any other place of interest, people acted much the same way, where ever they were likely to be in the world. From families with young children in strollers, to single men and women dressed to attract, from teenagers expressing their rebellion in outlandish outfits - it was all much the same - except of course for the language that was coming out of their mouths. I must admit, I have not done much in my attempts to speak Spanish. I´ve been downright surly and haven´t gone much farther than a polite ¨Hola!¨or ¨Buenos Dias and Gracies¨ (spelled differently in Catalunya). Shameful, I know. I tried much harder when I was in Greece. But for the most part English is becoming the universal language and I am understood - that is, when I´m not acting like a luggage tyrant.

Along the street of La Rambla are vendors of all sorts. They sell birds and turtles, flowers and doo-dads. There are single sellers who approach you with all sorts of things. Thrusting it into your hands which at first you think is a gift only to find out that each red rose you were so sweetly presented with, cost a Euro a piece...ouch. Homeless people and beggars are also in abundance. Eager to help you, should you need assistance with machines, payphones and directions only to ask you for money after guiding you. ¨Please, please¨they beg (I experienced this first hand when I tried to purchase a Metro ticket and stared hopelessly as I looked for the English translation button).

What I found most shocking were their portion sizes. You may not be shocked to read that I was shocked. Small, literally means small. In fact, in my vocubulary, it should consitute as tiny...I found a Dunkin Donuts and was happy to purchase a small iced coffee to find myself asking, as I held the drink in my hand, ¨What is this? A portion meant for dolls? Do I look like Thumbelina?¨ I tried not to look around thinking perhaps that someone was playing a prank on me. But then it made perfect sense. I was the only one in line who´d ordered a ¨petit¨size - everyone else had ordered ¨largo¨which was the healthy ¨small¨size I was accustomed to. I deflated at my tiny beverage and silently reminded myself that it was good for me. It reminded me to throw the candy wrappers that were stuffed in my pockets. But the most blasphemous of all was the cost of their donuts! For a single chocolate donut with sprinkles, it would cost 1.20 Euros! That´s about $1.80 cents...for ONE donut. Guess I´m forgoing donuts on this trip. Instead I´ve had a local favorite, churros and chocolate. Yum...forget donuts, this treat in addition to a cup of coffee is a good morning pick-me-up!

Just moments ago the receptionist and I talked about the strange weather. He tells me that it doesn´t usually rain for consecutive days and that I would be free to tour the city without any worries. He goes back behind his desk only to come back to me in the lobby where I´m currently writing to input this blog and tells me with regret that the report says that it´s going to rain for the rest of this week. He´s known how tough it has been for me the past couple of days and seemed sad that I wouldn´t be seeing much of Barcelona in the sun. I just smiled and asked, ¨So where can I get an umbrella around here?¨

I hope that the umbrella becomes a souvineer that is never used during my time in Spain. But I guess we´ll just have to see.

In conclusion, before I trudge back up the stairs (I seem to get saddled in the top floors of hotels with no elevators - someone up there has a very sick sense of humor) you´d be happy to know that I finally got my luggage ;). They sure took their sweet time, though! 3 full days into my trip until finally just an hour ago, they delivered my luggage to the hostal.

Thanks for reading! Miss you all!

1 comment:

  1. hey anna! its sOnya =) miss you babe. but really the candy bars and McDonalds?? lol :P


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