Thursday, June 04, 2009

Barca and bocadillos

May 16

When you open the big, heavy door to our hotel (each guest has a key) you enter this grand marble hallway with some grand marble stairs up ahead. Oddly enough, there's also an elevator that looks incongrous- but it's for the residents of the other floors of this building, they live here and there's a row of mailboxes in a corner. This adds to the illusion that we're actually locals here.

We walked all the way down to the water after breakfast. A slighly uninspiring waterfront, this section at least, a bit industrial looking. And we found a lovely plaza that we later came to know as the Placa Reial- a beautiful big plaza with a fountain in the middle and a graceful ochre yellow building to one side. It's lined with rather touristy cafes and restaurants, but with this heavenly sunset, the palm trees and a 400 year old fountain, who really cares if there are tourists? Speaking of the sunset, it got dark only after 9pm. Having got used to the tropics of namma Bangalore, this is a nice change especially because the light at this time of year is so very pleasing.

There are several Indian boys walking around selling fat red roses for a Euro each. There are also Indian boys walking up and down the Rambla, which is the main avenue, selling beers that they swing in their hands and whispering "I get you anything you like." Er. We see one Indian restaurant by the waterfront, the inevitable "Shalimar" or something like that.

For dinner, we ended up back on our street at the tiny cafe where two people couldn't go down the stairs side by side. I virtuously ask for orange juice, (large), but because I'm a low talker and my Catalan is laughable, the barkeeper serves me a beer (large.) When he brings the beer, I understand why he looks so approving- J has asked for a small beer. Ha, ha. J tucks heartily into one of those sandwich things they call bocadillo; kind of like a six inch sub, stuffed to bursting with cured ham and cheese. Real paisa-vasool, these thingies.

Very very early the next morning, I heard a football riot- people running, glass smashing, police sirens, and finally an awful series of loud pops that I finally figured were rubber bullets. In the morning we talked to our hotel guy and he confirmed that these riots are common in these parts. Football is serious stuff. To end the discussion, he helpfully added, "Barca lost, you see!" We nodded, as though we knew full well not only who Barca lost to, but also the win-loss average, the star striker, and future prospects of blessed Barca.

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