Quedar y tomar: to meetup and drink something with someone. It is a way to get to know someone, hang out with the people you love, find opportunities, and pass the time. Some of the best times, some of the best laughs, and some of the best people are experienced this way. This week was characterized by crazy times with fun people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have been making new friendships and developing deeper relationships with my friends, and doing more cool stuff because of it.

This week started out with an invite to go out with some of my old friends from high school; Uri, Victor, and Alex. I dressed in jeans and a sweater, thinking that we were going to sit around in a bar and chat, but when I arrived, we ended up playing soccer table tennis at some park in the dark. It was SO fun, and I actually ended up being the best one there, which surprised me since one of the other guys there played soccer at a pretty high level here in Barcelona. In fact, he played on the A-team for a team that I tried out for and made the C team LOL.

Alex invited me to go out to to the skate park the next day. This skate park was brand-new park on the outskirts of Barcelona, where apparently the city spent over one million euros to build. It is the newest (and in my opinion) best park in the city. I ended up playing my first game of S-K-A-T-E, where I ended up losing by only one letter. I was impressed with myself. I think played against one of his other friends, who made quick work of me with a bunch of switch tricks. I ended up doing my first 50-50 grind and got some solid progress in the bowl. After skating for a couple of hours, I headed to Gabriel’s house to watch the Barcelona game. At this point, I just use the soccer games as an excuse to go and hang out with Gabriel. Plus, the skate home from his house at night is all downhill on streets with smooth grounds and empty roads.

The highlight of my week was that ARANE CAME TO VISIT ME IN BARCELONA!!! I have always dreamed of showing her around Barcelona someday, so it was really special to be able to walk around the streets of my old stomping ground with her. She got to see my life here, meet my friends, and of course, meet Junior and my cousin. It was such an amazing collision of worlds for me.

As soon as she got here, we dropped our stuff off at the house and went to the Labyrinth Park. After making the 45 minute trek on the metro, we get to the park only to get a call from one of the guys I met at the skate park saying that he needed an English substitute in 2 hours for a school in a town 1.5 hours outside of Barcelona. Of course, since I am a poor, starving American in Spain, I told him that I would go take the job. Arane accompanied me on a journey to a town called Cerdanyola del Valles. Let me just tell you that calling it a town would be giving it a lot of credit. We end up going to the address that my friend gave me, only for it to be THE WRONG ADDRESS. We were feeling pretty exasperated.

So after our very wild detour, we ended up going back to the original plan to get lost in the labyrinth. After walking around the park, we went to the Mirador d’Horta for the sunset and view of the city. There used to be these cool swings at the top of the mountain, but someone had cut them. Luckily I brought my hammock, so we mounted it and sat around as the sun set over the mountains. We actually ended up getting so comfortable that we fell asleep. We were really enjoying looking at the lights of the city streets when all of a sudden the hammock RIPS! Thank God it chose to rip there, when I was only a foot off the ground, because I have been in that hammock in the canopy of a tree. We ended up packing up and getting things ready to go home when we realized that our phones were dead. We are both exhausted from a long day of walking, Arane is in panic mode, and I am just ready to get home. SO we had to get home from the very top of the view in the dark at 11:30PM with no phones. We ended up trudging through the shrubs until we FINALLY found our way to the trail (that ran right along a cliff). Once we got to the bottom of the hill, we had to ask some very sketchy stoner/druggy types how to get to the metro. Luckily they were super nice and told us exactly where to go. We caught one of the last metros of the night at about 12:45 and made it home with no (further) problems. Upon getting home, I made us some good ol’ fashioned American steggs, which is something that I seriously miss from home. It was very suiting that her first meal in Barcelona was steggs, because it was one of the last meals that I cooked Arane in Las Vegas.

After such a tiring, adventurous night, we decided to take it easy, opting for a picnic on the beach with muy mucho wine. The whole time we were on the beach it looked like it was going to start pouring, but the rain never came. Once the sea breeze got too cold we got up and walked (or should I say danced) our way to a cool mural downtown, patatas sultan for 1 euro, and later to the mall for a good view of the city. After walking ALL the way home, we grabbed the ingredients for chicken noodle soup and headed over to Radek’s to make dinner and have some beer on the terrace. Arane and Radek’s land-lady, Rosario, got along super well, bonding over making fun of me. Everyone ended up giving me 10 points out of 10 for the soup. Upon leaving Radek’s at around midnight, Arane and I decided to go for a late-night city walk, as if we hadn’t already walked 30km in as many hours. We walked all the way up the 200-something steps of the contemporary art museum, where we found a really cool lookout spot to drink our last beers of the night. When we got home, we watched the episode of Friends were Rachel learns how to do laundry and has her first kiss with Ross. This episode is extra significant/funny because when Arane came to live with us for the summer of 2019, my mom gave her the tour of the house, showing her the laundry room and saying “Here is the washing machine, you can use this whenever you want and use as much detergent as you want”. The only problem is that at 20 years old she had no idea how to do her own laundry HAHAHA.

On Friday, Arane got to meet Junior, which as I mentioned was a very special collision of worlds for me. We met up and walked down to the beach, where we watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen while Junior worked out. After hanging out with Junior for a little bit, we went to get PERSIAN FOOD. I made a friend in the owner of Barcelona’s only Iranian store, who recommended me this really good Persian restaurant. The decor inside was really beautiful and the food was even better. Nothing like in Los Angeles though :(. The best part of the restaurant experience was when I told the owner that I was from Las Vegas and he recounted his crazy Vegas stories LOL. This man had a very soft demeanor, but from his stories you could tell that he was wild in his past. He got so drunk he passed out at the machines and woke up thinking he was in Iran and ended up finessing an “escort” for free. What an animal.

The next day we get woken up by my cousin, who called at noon to invite us to lunch at his house at 2, an invitation which we gratefully accepted. We ended up going back to sleep and waking up just in time to stop and pick up a bottle of wine on the way. When we got there, we ended up eating MASSIVE hamburgers. In fact, my cousin force-fed me TWO massive hamburgers, using the justification that my dad would be SUPER happy with me gaining some mass. We spent the whole meal laughing and making fun of Spanish politics, the economic system, and the infernal tax structure. My kind of conversation. After being filled to the brim, me and Arane went to the foot of the Tibidabo cable car to have coffee and cheesecake and take in one last breathtaking view of the best city in the world. I even got Arane, a strict madrileña) to admit how awesome Barcelona is hehe. After that we went back home, took a little nap, gave Arane her parting gift (my black Levis trucker that she loved wearing when she was in the US), and went to the train station to say our teary goodbyes.

After dropping Arane off at the train station, I went out with my friends from high school, who had an extra ticket for me. We ended up pre-gaming at one of the guy’s houses, not getting to the club until 12:30AM. Our entrance to the club came with a free consumption inside, but of course I had to finesse an extra one. After the guy gave me the little “free drink” coupon, I walked in and then immediately walked out and asked the other bouncer to give me a coupon, since the other guy forgot. So I walked in with TWO free drink consumptions. On top of that, we knew one of the bartenders, so we got free shots all night long. I ended up getting pretty freaking drunk and dancing all over the place. I started walking around and talking to dudes when I first got there because I am looking for a futsal goalkeeper to play on Sundays LOL. I walked up to this group of guys, and RIGHT as I walked up to one of them, one turned around with his drink in his hand and I knocked it out of his hand, completely unintentionally. For whatever reason, as the night went on, every time I ran into these guys they started hating me more and more. It got to this point that one of them grabbed me by the neck and another swung a (pussy) punch at me. I pushed them away and my friends came and put them in their place. There was one point in the night that I saw this girl getting grabbed by a guy from behind (because now I know what it feels like to get your ass grabbed from behind after my experience in Madrid), and I could tell she wasn’t having it at all, so I went up to her, started dancing, and gave her a spin and spun myself between her and the guy. I stayed there for a couple of minutes until the guy went to find something else, and then went back to my friends. Just your everyday hero. I ended up getting back on the metro at 5:30AM when it opened, DRUNK AS HELL. In my drunken state I unfortunately got a little bit simp-y on the metro (for reasons I will not say) and had a rough ride home.

The next day (Sunday), I woke up at about 3PM, not nearly as hung-over as I should have been. I had some coffee with Radek and decided to go to Gabriel’s house to watch El Clasico. For those who don’t know, El Clasico is the clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid; it is the biggest, most important, and most watched game in all of world football. It happens twice per year, once in Barcelona and once in Madrid. So it is 4:00PM. I am sitting in the metro with Radek on my way to Gabriel’s house. The game starts at 4:15. My friend Brian calls me and says, “hey bro what are you doing?”, to which I respond, “Im in the metro on my way to a friends house to watch the game”. And this is where he drops the bomb: “No you’re not. I have an extra ticket to the game, if you get here in the next 15 minutes, it is YOURS”. I am freaking out at this point. I left radek in the metro, got out and started a FULL SPRINT to Camp Nou. I have never run so fast in my whole life. I got to my seat at 4:20, in complete and utter disbelief and sweating like a dog. Barcelona ended up losing, but what an experience. Seeing El Clasico is for a soccer fanatic as going to Mecca is for a Muslim.

Once the game finished, I had to quickly run from the stadium, pick up my skateboard, and head to the first book club meeting of the Barcelona Book Club. I didn’t read very much of the book because of my broken kindle and lack of money, but I had a fantastic time at the meeting. We had 6 people show up, all from 6 different countries. We ended up all hitting it off and having three rounds of beers. Funny enough, 4 out of the 6 of us were math/data/stats people, so we had very intellectually-stimulating conversations. After the meeting, the other founder, Chris, invited me to join him and a few friends for some drinks at a bar across the street. I ended up meeting a man who invited me to play soccer with him some time.

After having a beer AND a gin and tonic more, I decided it was time to meet Brian and his friend downtown to do some more bar hopping. I hopped on my skateboard (a little drunkenly) and skated down the street to the center. Since there was nobody around I ended up skating in the middle of the street with my AirPods in talking on the phone. I almost ran a red light but stopped at the last minute because I saw a car coming. I HAPPENED TO BE A COP. He gave me a very stern warning, because its apparently illegal to: skate in the middle of the street, wear your headphones while skating, skate while drunk, and run a red light. Who would have thought. Good thing the good ol’ “NO ENTIENDO” always works to get me out of trouble. He ended up saying “don’t do it again, and if you’re going to do it, don’t do it in front of a police officer”. When I finally got down to the bars, me and Brian and his friend had multiple Jager-bombs and tequila shots, leaving me a really interesting skate all the way home, since the metro was closed and my phone was once again dead. I ended up finally making it home to find the security guard of the parking below my building smoking a cigarette and reading his book out front. I started asking him about his book and we got to talking. He offered me a cigarette, which I politely refused. Then, he offered me a beer, to which I said “of course”. He took me back into his little office in the parking structure and gave me a beer from his mini-fridge. We ended up going back out front and chatted for thirty minutes or so. He ended up telling me his entire life story, about how he never used to believe in god, but he went through some trials in his life, and had to go live in a monastery for 4 years, where he ended up taking care of crazy drug addicts. He had some really interesting stories, but once 4:15AM came around I decided I was bored and I wanted to go to bed LOL.

What a week it has been