Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today began like total crap. I woke up stressed out about finding a more permanent place to stay since I am only staying at Roy's (a very nice friend of Miriam's who invited me without even meeting me first!) until Wednesday. The first thing I needed to do was find an internet connection and check on the couchsurfing emails I had sent and look more into work trade sites such as or These are sites where, once you pay a fee, like 20 Euros, you can email all sorts of people who are looking for helpers in exchange for room and board. I like this idea because it gives me a place to base out of and hopefully a lot of opportunities to speak Spanish (or Castillo (sp?), as they say here)....unless it is in Cataluña, were they speak Catalan to each other and Castillo to you. Ok, back to the internet search. Everyone here has locked wireless networks. There are dozens and dozens of networks because everyone lives so close together but they are all locked. For example, I am close enough to three networks to have four bars of service but they are locked. Boo. So I set out for a cafe. First, it is way too early. 9am to be exact. Everything is closed. I ask five shops and no one can tell me where to find internet. So now I am setting up on street corners searching for the elusive open networks. Yay! I find one. It is in a plaza. I sit, do a bit of work and then my computer runs out of battery.
I take the computer back to Roy's apartment to charge. I am feeling restless. No one couch surfer has returned my requests. I only have one more night of lodging. I do some sit ups and other exercises while passing the time and my computer charges. I decide that it would be better for me to take a walk rather than stay cooped up in an apartment waiting on electronics. I follow the noise to the government plaza, where my mom and sister saw the parade of huge, life-like historical Spanish figures, and find a protest! I think it was a union protest but the signs were not very visible so I can't be sure. There were maybe eighty adults standing outside of the government building blowing whistles like there is no tomorrow. What a great idea! The people inside were probably irate about the noise, so their cause and presence was definitely well known!
I return to a charged computer and head back out to the plaza where I was stealing internet earlier. Unfortunately, a construction project has begun and half of the plaza has been excavated with a giant backhoe. No biggie, I'll just set up next to the barricade. Nope. This is where big trucks enter and exit. No problem, I'll just go across the street and sit on the sidewalk. Now I am looking up places to work trade and emailing couchsurfers with people stepping over me and my backpack. Grr. I have had enough of that and decide to look for another place to steal internet. I pass a few cafes, all without wi-fi and find myself outside of Miriam's apartment. She is in London otherwise I would have rang but instead I sat outside and stole her internet.
The next crappy moment arises when my debit card is turned down from both worktrade sites that I was reluctantly signing up for. I am reluctant because I know that there are lots of great opportunities all around me, quite literally passing me on the street while I sit with my nose in the computer. Now I have a bank issue. I think the problem is that when my dad moved to Silverton, I changed the mailing address of my account to his new house. When I did this, I accidentally gave them the wrong zip code. I thought I had corrected this, but apparently I have not and because the actual zip code does not match the one the bank has and the wrong one does not match any map, it wouldn't work.
I send a few desperate emails, one to the bank asking them to remedy this asap and the other to Trip to get my routing number so I can just set up a paypal account. Still no word from couchsurfers. No farms contacted.
Fuck it, I'm going to the beach.
For awhile I had forgotten I was just blocks away from the Mediterranean sea. It gets so cold and dark in the small street corners that it is easy to forget the sunshine that lies just beyond the tall apartments. I go back to Roy's, put on my suit, grab my hula hoop and start out for the sunshine. Halfway there, I walk past two hippie kids selling a few trinkets and playing a drum. They see my hoop. We are friends. I sit and talk with them for a bit and then they decide also to fuck it and go to the beach since they weren't selling anything anyway. They are a couple from Germany traveling in a green caravan with a women they met at a psy-trance festival.
The ocean is amazing! There is such an extreme temperature change between the shaded streets of Barcelona and the beach. The water has tiny specks of something that make it look like gold. This dries to your feet when you walk in the sand and it is like gold glitter. We swim out really far and talk a lot about the bad travellers luck we are all experiencing. The girl, Sara, speaks very good English and the boy, Christian, is quite good too.
Next we lay on the beach. I hoop for a bit, Christian plays the drums. Sara paints a really beautiful design on my face. Having your face be touched by a cool, soft brush is so relaxing. I must do this more. Sara spins a mini-staff and with Christian drumming we make a plan to go out busking after dinner and dumpstering at the market.
I eat dinner with them in their green caravan. They make hippie mush: noodles, carrots, ginger, onion, garlic and lots of very tasty spices. I love it.
Next we go to La Boqueria where the night before I was able to find all kinds of produce. After a shopkeeper sees me picking up a fig he taps my shoulder and points to a table where they have left a pile 14 boxes high of the prepackaged fruit slices they sell. Gold!
We grab a bunch, share with others and set out for a feast! After filling ourselves with fruit we walk to La Rambla to try our luck with the tourists.
Within two minutes of us setting up, with Christian on the drums, Sara on the mini-staff and my on the hoop we have an audience! Within five minutes the police come and tell us we have to go. They say it is too dangerous Now I know why there are only statue performers on the streets. It's alright. We've made 2 Euros in five minutes. We walk to another plaza, on the lookout for police and set up there too. After just a few minutes I spot police coming (they wear bright yellow safety vests, how nice of them) and we bolt. We still made a bit though. We walk to another plaza, the one where mom had bought the icky-its walnuts ever. There is a Rasta guy playing Bob Marley on the guitar, performing for the outdoor restaurant. He invites us to join. Now there is a guitar, drum, mini-staff and hula hoop. We are a circus! And we make 4 Euros-not including the Rasta guy. Now we have attracted a crowd of hippies and punks. We sit down, share the rest of the fruit, trade some with the waiter for a warm, gigantic croissant and meet Norbert and Pedro. They live in a squat just outside of Barcelona. We talk for a bit about travels and they tell us we can go with them tomorrow to the squat to check it out. Horary! Housing problem solved (hopefully, as of writing this, it is only Wednesday morning, but I have faith that it will work out).
The next act in the circus is an old woman who used to be an amazing flamingo dancer. She orders the drum to beat and the guitar to strum and does a five minute show for us. Wow, flamingo is such a precise dance. She is cool and tells us to go to the cathedral to play. We aren't sure why but we follow her anyway. There we run into David, another German, who is spinning poi. Crazy, eh?
David has lots of great travel advice and websites that he offers us. We also make a plan to visit an eco-village on Saturday together. Then we attract jugglers, skateboarders, more poi spinners and a few other stragglers including a 50 year old woman from New York who used to be in the color guard. German, English and Spanish are being spoken, and then translated and then retranslated. It is very amazing.
At around one a.m. Sara, Christian and I start walking home. We are all so excited that our travelers luck has changed. When I leave them to go back to Roy's I feel drunk with happiness, I feeling that I can't recall having before, or at least in the recent past.
And that is where I leave you. At 2 a.m., writing a blog post about the day. Lots of love and hugs.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad your day ended with you drunk with happiness. I will still worry about you, it's in the parent handbook. I miss you. love dad