My CELTA starts on Monday, and I’ve had two of five total days so far to be a tourist. Have been pretty worried about my knee, but haven’t let it deter me from making the most of my time here. When I feel pain I have enough awareness to stop at a cafe or restaurant and ask for a bag of ice, take a 15-minute-break, and move on. I love Barcelona as much as I did when I was here 10 years ago, and am enjoying that I can do as I please opposed to being chaperoned by my French teacher from HS.
My hotel is two blocks from Plaza Cataluna and The Rambla. Its a pretty sweet location and centrally located to a lot of the Gaudi buildings. It’s said if you drink from the fountain in Plaza cataluna that you’re meant to return to Barcelona again. I didn’t do so 10 years ago, but I am here now, and I am truly enjoying the chillaxed vibe of the city. All the locals have been extremely friendly and I’ve needed to use minimal English to communicate. Its a great feeling when you surprise yourself. I thought I would be so rusty at Spanish after barely using it the last 7 years, but I’ve managed to carry conversation in Spanish without a problem with many of my servers at restaurants and all the people I met tonight at an Irish karaoke bar (day 2, now day 3 while writing this)
Apparently the previous building/cathedral isn’t the Sagrada De Familia, but just another one of the many gorgeous cathedrals in the area. I confess that I was convinced otherwise when I stumbled upon it. However, this actually was the cathedral of Barcelona. I enjoyed drifting through the building and appreciating all the different paintings and golden sculptures. I saw a common theme of many adults with weapons or illustrated in a negative, menacing way, and only baby Jesus smiling or staring upwards with the curious eyes of a child. In adult form Jesus, is subjected to the suffering of the rest of the adults, but takes it willingly in order to sacrifice himself for us. To teach us that suffering only exists in the mind if we allow it to, and that death is better than disassociating with our purest values. When we aren’t our true selves is when we leave his kingdom of heaven.
I used to think that prayer was begging a higher power to heal or forgive me of things I had done wrong. I’ve realized that we are the higher power, or at least I’d like to think so. Our unlimited consciousness is what allows us to forgive ourselves if we can perfectly atone for what we’ve done. Nothing is perfect, and we don’t exist in a pure state of consciousness or ego. There are all sorts of shades in between, and the more we spend in shades of gratitude, acceptance, and consciousness the better. Why things like blogging, drawing, gratitude journals, prayer, or meditation are helpful. A peaceful environment to reflect and manifest our grace.
I spent a very long time in the prayer area where photos weren’t allowed with my eyes closed and reflecting about a lot of things. My failed relationship with Manami*, my failed poker career, my gratitude for all of my best friends who somehow haven’t disowned me by now, as well as my regret for burning bridges with all the amazing people that could be, but are no longer in my life. Can’t say I’ve fully atoned for a lot of my crimes, but I surrender to them right now. I know that I can’t change the past, but I can hopefully change the present, so the past doesn’t continue to perpetuate into the future. Its nice being the owl in the forest.
It was about 4 P.M now and I was starving. Saw a place that had seafood paella and Patatas Bravas for only 15 euros, so snap-called it off (poker slang). The first server I spoke to spoke extremely quickly and was using all sorts of vocabulary I didn’t know, so she switched with a different server. The new one gave me the recommendation of Porto Olympico for something to do later that night. At the time wasn’t really dying to go out, but did want to find the beach, so I could walk along the coast. When she asked me where I was from, and I responded that I was from Vegas, she taught me how to say ‘That what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ Lo se que paso en Las Vegas se queda in Las Vegas. hehe
I continued wandering afterwards and stumbled upon a bar. Today, I actually went looking for the bar because I had one of the most genuine and laid back conversations with the bar tender and wanted to hang out with him again, but sadly couldn’t find it. I needed ice for my leg and came in begging for ice because I was in serious pain. I felt guilty sitting at his bar and not ordering anything, so eventually bought a Moritz beer. He spoke limited English, so I was forced to only use Spanish once again. We talked about the differences between Vegas and Barcelona. He told me that he had wanted to go to Vegas for the longest time, and I recommended to do so because of all the incredible food, hiking at Mt. Charleston and Red Rock if he was into that, and the beauty of all the lights and the fantasy of the strip itself. This is something I feel a lot of Vegas locals likely under-appreciate. We talked about the differences in prices between Barcelona and Vegas in terms of alcohol since he was saying that Barcelona’s prices were pretty fair. He said if someone ever gave him 50 euros that he’d give the person any bottle they wanted and be completely appreciative. I laughed and told him that that would be two drinks at a club in Vegas. On New years in Vegas that bottles at Hakkasan or Omnia to see Calvin Harris start at $2,000. He said for $1,000 that any customer could have the entire bar and that he’d happily cater. He wasn’t saying this from a point of desperation, but he was truly shocked about how people could carelessly spend so much money on such cheap alcohol in Vegas to prove status. I truly respected the clear disgusting on his face by the pointlessness of status and elitism that Americans pride themselves so much with. His humility was admirable.
Will get to my night tonight (last night), but for the most part haven’t felt as eager as I used to be in approaching random girls. Progress!! I’ve enjoyed wandering around and being in this foreign land with my-self, and haven’t felt the need like I used to. His shift ended and I left to the park de Ciutadella. It was gorgeous, but at night didn’t feel that I would be able to appreciate it as much as I could during the day. I sat at a bench and relaxed for a while since I was so tired, and watched the sky go from murky to dark and inevitably night black which was the sign to go home. I vowed to return the next day. I returned to my hotel at around 7:30 P.M and instantly passed out because I had likely had 8 hours of sleep over the previous three days.
On day 2 I returned to The Gloria Cafe where this incredibly beautiful waitress told me to return for lunch the previous day. Its extremely annoying that a lot of the menu del dias are for two people minimum. Way to cater to those traveling alone! She wasn’t working yet, so I asked if I could order one of the specials and was told no a second time. I complained because of how I was misinformed the previous day, and she asked me to wait for 10 minutes. The waitress I knew clocked in for her shift, and of course, we had a misunderstanding because I’m probably not as competent at Spanish as I think I am. They still offered it to me because they felt bad that I had returned, and I got to talk to the one I liked 🙂 She threw me an extra glass of wine. Que dulce y hermosa y simpatica chica ❤ Ojala que nostros tengamos un “date”.
We talked about language learning and her experiences learning English. She told me she actually hated her past English teachers because they were extremely boring and just kept talking and writing on the board without paying much attention to the class. I told her I’d try to treat my lessons like a mixture between a stand-up comedy skit and a conversation. She smiled and said she thought I’d make a great teacher. I asked her if she liked singing because I love karaoke, and if she had a good spot she could recommend to me. She told me to check out George Payne’s Irish Pub because it has an amazing vibe. I told her that I would definitely do so that night. I finished my meal, and told her I’d return to see her before my program starts on Monday. Definitely need to do that sometime today. Never know when I’ll get lucky and would consider it a massive sin to not ask her out.
I headed to the aquarium afterwards. I felt that seeing this aquarium would be a completely different experience from ten years ago. The aquarium made me think of poker. A bunch of fish and sharks caged in containers aimlessly swimming around. I admired their beauty and elegance as they put me in a trance with their circular motions. Some would dive up and down, others would just swim laps in their containers without any knowledge of which lap they were on. Found myself trying to take the ‘perfect’ picture in here, but instead danced with my camera in synchronicity with them. Fish make pretty great trance DJs. Wouldn’t it be great if humans could be more like fish? No destination and not a care in the world instead of taking pictures constantly to hopefully help others understand their worlds? Or am I being selfish and ignorant to the fact that they’d rather be in an ocean free to go wherever they please? Hmmm… 🙂 Pretty sure we and they alike are just a bunch of Beluga whales.
Left the aquarium to return to El Parc De Ciutadella. Wandered around and took pictures when I felt appropriate in doing so. No-mind 🙂
Grabbed a quick sandwich and headed back to my hotel for well-needed nap prior to my Karaoke session. Got to the George Payne Irish bar at around 10:30 PM. Sadly didn’t really take any photos, because I was enjoying myself. As soon as I walked in the door, asked where the DJ booth was so I could request two of my favorite Karaoke songs: Santeria by Sublime and Mr. Brightside by The Killers. Met a group of students studying marketing who had just finished a big exam today (yesterday), and were unwinding. It was really a great night. Enjoyed conversing with all of them and hearing about their respective countries, Germany, France, England, Costa Rica, and Bolivia. I didn’t try to escalate anything and simply just wanted to be. They were a nice group to be with.
An hour and a half later or so, I was called by the DJ to go up and sing Santeria. I didn’t bother telling them and wanted it to be a surprise. I sang my heart out to the empty orchestra. Some sang back, some nodded their heads, but my group was in a trance of their own. My heart raced originally, but singing in front of people had always been part of the flow for me, so I simmered down and fell into my rhythm.
I made my way back up to the second floor to return to my group when a girl touched my chest, turned around, and rear-ended her butt into my python. She was by herself as well and said she needed to escape Brooklyn, New York and then touched me again. I’m not one to touch women in bars or clubs, and I honestly don’t like it when someone touches me without at least even carrying conversation first.
I went back to my group who didn’t even realize I was on stage! Oh well, they’re entitled to have their own fun without entertaining me, the inclusion in their group provided enough entertainment.
I was called 10 minutes later to sing Mr. Brightside, and to my dismay some girl was singing my song! Then another girl came up when she gave me my mic and insisted she had requested the song. I didn’t mind sharing the mic. I suppose I didn’t have a choice, and wouldn’t even be allowed to hold the mic for a song I personally requested. I didn’t let her prevent me from doing just that, though, and kept singing.
I went to the bar to grab a beer, and the stairs back to my group were blocked! A group of possibly 7 were singing a Spanish song, so I decided why not sing along with them. Didn’t know the name of the song, but loved joining their choir. They put their arms around me and we swayed like willows to the wind of the music until the breeze subsided. They went downstairs and I went up.
Tanya, I didn’t even get her name, so lets call her Tanya felt the need to touch my chest again. Aborted, and a guy sitting with a group of girls I approached earlier wondered what the hell I was doing? She gave off a shady vibe and I just wanted to be with my group. I told him that his friends were actually somewhat rude to me earlier when I approached them. Not sure what exchange they had, but they gave me a similar grin which told me to continue onwards back to my group. Before I left, though, he told me that I was a nice guy and to feel free to return to his table should I ever want to. I appreciated him and continued.
My group was about to leave, so I thanked them for the fun time I had and peered over the balcony down below. To my surprise, Tanya returned and grabbed my ass. She offered to buy me a beer, but touched two other men’s chests on the way to the bar. I had been 5 beers deep at this point, and the possibility of her taming my python crossed my mind now that my group was gone. I was no longer part of the empty orchestra, and was elsewhere in my mind. Tanya didn’t talk much. She just danced, touched me, and touched others.
When I had had enough of Tanya and figured I’d let her touch every other guy in the bar instead of touching me, I was tired and called it a night.
Its been two incredible days so far, and I can’t wait to explore more today. Going to check out an all day breakfast spot/cafe called Desayuneria and blog some more, need to go find that waitress and profess my love to her, and sample more of the rich (rico) food in her restaurant. Enjoyed mingling last night, so will go out again and see who else I’ll meet. Won’t let any Tanya’s create a barricade between being with my group again.