A week filled with friends old and new, headassery, weird vibes, sandwiches with Iberian ham, and collisions of worlds.

For this particular post, I will need to introduce a couple of “typical espaneesh” vocabulary words:

This week starts with Francisco. For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember, Francisco is the 80-year-old man that I met in Madrid on the metro after stepping on his shoe. If you need a refresher of the story, check out the Madrid part of the week three blog. Francisco called me randomly on Sunday, telling me that he is in Barcelona visiting some family members and that he would like to take me out to lunch at a nice restaurant downtown on Monday at 2:30. So fast forward to Monday. I woke up after a late night out with Diego and his friends and went straight to the restaurant. It was this beautiful restaurant called Tragaluz. It was a fine-dining restaurant that served overpriced (but very delicious) Catalan food. We sat on the terrace in the attic, where we were surrounded by lush vegetation, natural but indirect light, and many other rich Catalan people. I ordered a white wine and had some fish that was TO DIE FOR. It was easily the best meal that I have ever had in Barcelona. We ended up talking about architecture, Spanish culture, partying in Spain, and all kinds of random other things. At the end of the meal, Francisco offered me 50 euros cash to treat me to partying the upcoming weekend. Obviously, I didn’t want to accept the money, but after he insisted so much, I graciously accepted the money. I almost felt like he was going to be offended if I said no one more time. I ended up walking home on Monday after a delicious, free 80-euro lunch 50 euros richer. I don’t really know how it ended up happening, but somehow these things always end up happening to me.

After my afternoon with Francisco, I ended up meeting Radek and Didi at the mall across town. Instead of taking the train a few stops, I decided to skate all the way down diagonal. It took me about an hour, but it was a really pleasant skate. Ironically enough, I ended up getting to the mall only 5 minutes after Radek and Didi. While at the mall, we went to the Spanish equivalent of Shoe Palace, where I saw some Stan Smiths for 100 euros! I couldn’t believe that they were so expensive. I went on a rant to Radek and Didi, saying that they are so ridiculously expensive here, that they cost only 80 dollars in the US, and that I always buy them for 40 on the 50% sale. Apparently one of the worker girls that was about our age was listening and she stopped me because she couldn’t believe that I get them for only $40. We got to talking, and she told me where I could find the fake Nike SB Dunks to take home with me. Radek was sitting there the whole time like “wtf are you doing talking to this girl”, but then when we exchanged Instagrams and Radek got a look at her Instagram he was begging me to give him her Instagram because she was “so fucking bad”. Then, Radek ended up buying a super cool sweater that said “skatepark everywhere everyday” on it. Freaking poser SMH. Radek you’re a big fuck up, and for more reasons that will come later.

The next day I spent super chill, hanging out around the house writing my blog, since I always end up procrastinating and get busy and wait until Tuesday to write it. Radek stopped by briefly and I helped him plan the trip to Milan with Cole. They were planning on going to Milan and then Munich, but then they found a flight from Milan to Cologne for 8 euros as well as a flight back to Barcelona from Cologne for another 9 euros. Seventeen euros wont even get you a night in the most terrible hostel in town. I ended up getting a last-minute invite to play soccer across town and went to play with a bunch of people that I didn’t know. I had a blast playing and I realized that I am actually still pretty good at soccer. Every time I get invited to play for fun, I’m usually one of the best if not the best of the players there. Obviously, if I were to be playing in more serious setting, it probably wouldn’t be the case. But it is cool that I can come back to Spain all these years later and still be really good. I ended up scoring three goals and getting kicked, hacked, and pushed around. I was dribbling and got my shirt ripped by the other really good guy as he took the ball from me. Nobody said anything about the foul and the guy ended up going on and scoring. My team and I complained but we let the goal stand because we were winning. The very next play, I got the ball with the guy who just ripped my shirt on my back covering me hard, did a little move to drop him to the ground, and scored a beautiful goal. The ball never lies, and there is no better revenge than juking the man and scoring a goal.

The next day Cole got here. I woke up at 9AM to go and get him from the airport. I ended up getting to the train station right on time for the train to have come and left early, meaning that I would have to wait another 30 minutes for the next train. BUT the next train that would come came 10 minutes late. So, Cole ended up beating me to the train station at the airport by a good 15 minutes. Luckily, he had slept on the plane and was a good sport about the whole thing. But like Radek, Cole is also a big fuck up. He decided to come to Spain with no hotel, no idea about a phone plan, and no euros. In fact, a couple days before leaving, Cole called me and told me that he was going to come and bring a few thousand dollars cash and exchange it here. I told him that he was insane to travel with that much cash on him and that he should put it in a Bank of America account so he can withdrawal it here in Spain with no fees. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a Bank of America account and two days would give him enough time to open the account and get the debit card. So, he ended up putting it all in the bank, hoping that Father Mana would figure it all out. And figure it out we did. He ended up just wiring me a bunch of money and I withdrew it from my account at the ATM. I felt like a drug dealer with so much cash on me LOL. Then, I called a few different hostels in Barcelona and finally found the perfect place for him to stay. It is right in the middle of my house and Radek’s, only 24 euros/night, has a super nice owner lady, and only has one other “roommate” in a room with 6 beds.

After getting Cole all settled in, we headed downtown for the language exchange. We ended up having a blast and meeting a bunch of new people. I was feeling really tired from not sleeping the night before and getting everything set up for Cole so I decided to go home early. Radek and Cole ended up making friends with the people that were there and went out to the bars. Let me just preface this with the fact that Cole and Radek each had three beers each on the way to the language exchange, and had two beers and a shot each while there. When they went out to the other bar, apparently they got to drinking much, much more. Then, when they finally stumbled back to Cole’s hostel, they finished off the last 6 beers that they had out in an alley. When Radek got home, he was so drunk that he sat down on the couch, tried his hardest not to die, and ended up falling over LOL. But all of a sudden, he felt like he had to throw up, so he ran as fast as he could AND THREW UP IN THE SINK. The next day, Rosario (his landlady) asked him if he came home drunk, since she heard him fall over on the couch and run the sink. Me and Radek just gave each other a brief side eye and held back our laughter as we said “yeah, yeah he was a little drunk”.

On Thursday I spent seven hours with my old high school Spanish teacher, Pedro. When I was on my exchange here in Barcelona, he was the person at the school that was assigned to be our “intermediary” when we needed anything from the school, teachers, etc. Of course, me and Ben (the other American kid at my school) didn’t like having him around, and spent most of the time trying to avoid him so that we could ditch school or tricking him into giving us less work. Anyways, we met up at the metro stop and walked around for a couple of hours, just talking and catching up. We ended up talking about everything from Spanish/American politics to girl problems to contemporary literature. We stopped at a coffee shop for an hour or so and then resumed our walk around Poblenou. When lunch time came around, he ended up invited me up to his house to eat lunch with him. I gratefully obliged. He showed me around his very nice apartment, cooked up some delicious lasagna, and put on some cool jazz tunes. Turns out that we share a recent discovery of our love for jazz music. I ended up sticking around and chatting with him all afternoon until his wife came home. I was having such a good time that the time flew right by. In fact, I didn’t even really want to leave! To be honest, if somebody would have told me 6 years ago that I would have such a wonderful time with “El señor Pedro”, I would have laughed in their face. After that, I went home and slept for the rest of the evening since I am always chronically tired.

Friday night would end up being one of my favorite nights in Barcelona, but would begin with me not wanting to go out. After not sleeping and doing so many things, I yet again got sick. I woke up on Friday sick AF (and not in the good way). I told the boys that I didn’t want to go out, but when this girl Claudia hit me up to go out with her friends, I said that I would take one for the team and go out on the town. The pregame would take place at Radek’s, but first we had to get alcohol. Fortunately, my host mom was getting rid of a bunch of the wines that people have gifted her over the years. I decided that I was going to broker a deal. The wines that she had were nothing special, probably between 3-5 euros each one at the store, with a couple being worth slightly more. SO, I told the boys that we could buy 12 bottles for 30 euros, pricing each bottle at 2.50, and I told my host mom that we would buy the bottles for 30 euros, but that I would charge a 10-euro broker fee. That way, my friends get booze below market value, my host family makes 20 euros, and I drink for free (since each of us put 10 euros in for the bottles). WIN-WIN-WIN.

We took all the bottles to Radek’s house, where Cole and Radek would finish two and a half bottles between the two of them. They were starting to get a little rowdy, so I decided it was time to get them down to Marina, where we would meet Claudia and company for the second pregame. You see, here in Spain you have to pregame for the pregame; it’s part of Spanish culture. Once we got into the bar, we had to find a table. We shared a table with some guys who I initially thought were random guys, but ended up being “Jordi Comunista” and his friends. Jordi is one of the random people that I met on the beach, but I remembered him in particular because his father worked for the Communist Party of Catalunya. Plus, he pressed me about American politics, which is most certainly a contentious point for a communist. Then, while waiting for the girls to get there (Spanish people never arrive on time), I went all over the bar, asking anyone and everyone to give me a chair, because we were short two. In the process, I ended up running into Junior’s friends and sat around with them for a little while. It’s crazy that I ran into so many people that I know when considering the few people that I know here in Barcelona.

I was determined not to drink in my sick state, but I ended up giving in and got a liter of some delicious orange substance. We played drinking games, told stories, laughed at said stories, and got into discoteca mode. After a while, we decided it was time to hit the club, but stopped by the bar for one final shot before the prices of shots would literally go up fivefold. Claudia picked the nastiest of the one-euro shots and ordered one for each of us. I was the only one smart enough to change the shot at the last minute, so while the rest of them took the nasty shot, I took a very delicious blue shot. Almost as soon as we took the shots, Cole vomited EVERYWHERE. He got some of the vomit on the bar, some on the barstools, and the rest of it on the floor and people’s shoes. As soon as it happened, I grabbed him by his vomit-covered sweatshirt and pulled him out the bar LOL. He threw up a little more outside the bar, but Cole is no bitch; he knows how to puke and rally. After all, he DID spend four years in a frat at UNR.

THEN WE GOT TO THE CLUB. The ladies entered first, while we followed behind. Radek had some difficulty with the language barrier and the COVID certificate and the bouncer was giving him a hard time, so I had to step in and help him out. Meanwhile, Cole took advantage of the chaos to put his (very drunk) head down and walk right into the club without paying the entrance fee LOL. Although I ended up once again finessing an extra consumption, I didn’t get as good of a deal as Cole did. Once we got into the club, mission number one was to find Cole. Some people think that it’s hard to chase your drunk friend down the street, but try and find your runaway drunk friend in the discoteca. It’s much harder, I promise. We ended up finding each other and proceeded to dance the night away. I had a blast dancing with Claudia. I even learned how to do a tiktok dance when we went outside to “smoke” (aka blow bubbles). Then, I gave Cole the gift of his first PERREO. I tried to get the girls to give him a good perreo, but when nothing came of it, I had to take things into my own hands. SO with everyone around us hyping me up and screaming their heads off, I threw it back and gave Cole his first perreo.

The night would have been perfect if it weren’t for three things. First, we decided to take some shots in the club, which ended up costing FIVE EUROS. After taking them, my heart just about stopped upon seeing the price tag. After paying 5 euros for a shot, I don’t even need a hangover to say that I’m never drinking again. Second, I was too cheap to pay 2 euros for the coat check, so I ended up having my huge sherpa Levis trucker on all night as I danced. And then lastly, the biggest pain point of them all, that they played YMCA. First off, the song is terrible. On top of that, people here go absolutely crazy about it when it comes on, screaming the chorus and doing the hand thing in the air. I don’t know why they love it so much. I haven’t gone to a club here yet that HASN’T played it, but I can think of a handful of fantastic reggaeton songs I haven’t heard since I have been here.

After the club closed at 6AM we zombied our way to the churreria, because there is nothing like some greasy, fried, warm churros with chocolate after a long night of drinking, dancing, and clubbing. Okay, maybe L8 Nite Steggz at South Point might come out on top, but you get the idea. BUT when we got to the churreria, IT WAS CLOSED. We were so bummed, but settled for good ol’ 365, which is like the WinCo of bakeries. Like it’s there and its okay, but you really only go there when Vons, Safeway, and Smith’s are closed, because you know the vibes are inferior and you are settling. By the time I finally got home, it was something like 8:30AM, but the boys didn’t end up getting home until 9:30, since they took the wrong direction on the metro line that they only needed to go one stop on LOL. Big fuck ups. I actually got home right as Arane was waking up, so I talked to her for a couple of hours and then went to bed at about 10AM.

SATURDAYS ARE FOR THE BOYS. We ended up waking up at about 6PM, just in time for dinner! We all headed over to Radek’s, hung over as hell, and cooked up a very delicious red pesto and chicken pasta dinner. After that, Cole and I mozied on down to my house, where my host family’s extended family were all over drinking and having a good time. I was so over party, so sick, and so drained as a person that I only mustered enough energy to make myself a sandwich and eat it in my room. I ended up sitting around and chatting with Cole and Didi, but other than that I was ready for a death sentence (aka bed time). UNTIL Junior called me, telling me that he and his friends were going out botellón-ing. So in order to spend some time with my little brother and his super cool friends, I put aside my suicidal thoughts (joking, just continuing the metaphor) and got my butt on the renfe.

The reason for this week’s massive street party was the celebration of my old barrio, Clot. When I was 16, I remember having a blast at the fiestas del Clot, and for whatever reason remembered it much differently than I would come to re-experience it. When I arrived there were a few things that immediately disturbed me. First, there were all the banners that demanded the independence of Catalunya, women’s rights and feminism, and communism (the sickle-and-hammer, red-star type). Now, I am not here to comment on any of the three very touchy subjects that I just mentioned, I am just here to paint the picture. Secondly, the music that was being sung on stage was very weird CATALAN ska/rap/rock? Honestly I’m not too sure what it was, but I do know that it was garbage. And lastly, the whole crowd was made up of perroflautas, which between their unshaved legs, dreads, gypsy clothes, and joint smoking gave me very weird vibes. On top of that, once we went away from the stage area, the rest of the people that were around the park were either big groups of 15-year-olds botellón-ing or canis looking SUPER sus, probably waiting to find an altercation. Needless to say, as soon as I got the opportunity, I got my ass on the metro and went home.