Barcelona: Communism, Jam Session, Freak Out!!!!

On Sunday (after getting back to the hostel at 7:30 AM and promptly falling asleep for a few hours), Katherine and I went back out to La Rambla for lunch and got some delicious tapas, as well as a traditional dish from Catalunya called Botifarra.

Yuuuummmm!!!!Traditional Catalunyan dish

Katherine was still exhausted, so we went back at around 4 PM for her to nap. She ended up napping for the next 5 hours, so at least I had Alessio to keep me company because he was working the evening shift on Sunday. Italian lessons continued, and I also helped him do some of his chores around the hostel, like making beds and such.

That’s how bored I was.

Plus, he was kinda flirtatious, so I was having fun getting so much attention from an Italian! However, there was one teensy weensy itty bitty detail about him that kinda-sorta makes him the type of guy I could never bring home to meet my folks:

He’s a Communist.

His Facebook profile pictures (yeah, we’re friends) feature Marx, Fidel Castro, and other beloved heroes, along with tons of anti-capitalism, anti-American banners and pictures. But my favorite part is what he calls Coca-Cola:

“Black water from The Empire”

…..

I love it.

Coca-Cola is my favorite company because they are marketing geniuses, but this phrase was so hilarious to me that ever since my return to the U.S. I have adopted it into my lexicon.

But yes, this is how I spent Sunday. Hanging out with Commie Alessio. He left at around midnight, and afterwards Katherine and I left to get a late dinner (we went back to the Ravi Kebab place, and the owner was so nice! He gave us free drinks because we were being friendly and asking how to say “Hello, How are you” in Pakistani). I don’t understand why Igor said that the people of Barcelona were unfriendly or didn’t smile — I encountered so many wonderful people during my weekend!

After we finished our dinner, the two American musicians from the party on Saturday night came over and played a few of their songs, and it was awesome! Since my return I have tried finding them via Internet, but even my superb stalking skills have fallen short. I am really sad that I can’t find any information about them, because their music is fantastic.

Jam out session w/ the AmericansYou can tell they're really into it.

At about 3 AM I went to bed for a quick nap. I was supposed to wake up at 4 AM so I could pack, check out of the hostel, and take the metro to the train to the airport for my flight that would be leaving at 6:10 AM to return to Sevilla.

That nap was a MISTAKE.

Instead of waking at 4:00, I woke up at 5:10, had the most MASSIVE freak out of my life, shoved everything I owned into my backpack, and ran down the stairs to check out. The receptionist told me I needed to bring down my bed sheets before she could let me leave. I almost cried. Right when I was about to turn to run up the stairs, the French girls and one of the Americans I had gone out with the previous night came to my rescue: they said, “Don’t worry about it! We’ll take care of the sheets! Go!” I thanked them with all my heart, ran outside and hailed the first cab I could. I told him I was headed to the airport and I needed to get there ASAP. We pulled up in front of the airport at around 5:45, and I paid, ran out, got my passport stamped, got through security, and arrived at my gate at 6:00 AM. The Ryanair people shooed me in, and the gate closed right after me. I was the last person to get on the plane, but the point is…. I MADE IT!!!! I arrived in Sevilla two hours later, caught a bus to my apartment, dropped off my bags in my room, showered, went to class from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM (it took so much will power for me to stay awake), then promptly came home, ate lunch, and slept until dinner.

So that concludes my adventures in Barcelona!

If you’re wondering why I never talked about La Sagrada Familia, the symbol of Barcelona, it’s because I never went. I also didn’t get to go to the Picasso museum, nor did I visit Camp Nou (Barcelona’s fútbol stadium) even though my hostel was just a few blocks away from it. HOWEVER! I went back to Barcelona in late May and did everything that I had missed from my first trip! I even saw some more, like Montjüic and the monument to Cristóbal Colón. But that blog post is for another day.

When I come back to Spain in the future, I hope to live and work in Barcelona. I absolutely fell in love with the city, and I felt like it was where I belonged. Funnily enough, my grandmother’s maiden name is Taulé, which is a Catalunyan last name. So maybe, just maybe, there’s something in my DNA that really is calling for me to return to Barça. 🙂

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Granada’s Gypsy Flamenco

Too. Cool.
First of all, the location was already incredible. We made a long trek up a mountain to get to the caves where the Gitanos live, and on the hike up there we had stunning views of the Alhambra and the city of Granada below. When we finally arrived, there were groups of Gypsies lounging outside of the cave dwellings, strumming their guitars and smoking their cigarrillos, no doubt preparing for their performances. They all had tan skin with long, dark hair, just as I had imagined. The “caves” actually have smooth, white walls, but they are called caves because these rooms have been carved into the side of the mountain. We all crammed into this long, skinny room, and the excitement in the air was palpable.

Flamenco 101

*JOURNAL ENTRY: February 10, 2012*

I went and saw my very first Flamenco show last night! I went to a restaurant called “T de Triana” on Calle Betis that has Flamenco performances every Tuesday and Thursday nights. The dancers are INCREDIBLE. They have lightning feet!

So proudLoved watching the emotions on his face
Olé!Calm before the storm...
BAM!Love it!!!!!

Flamenco dancers 🙂

Flamenco is performed on 12 counts. Dancers tap their feet and clap their hands to keep the rhythm. There are many varieties, but here’s the most common/basic beat for clapping your hands: 1-2-CLAP! 4-5-CLAP! 7-CLAP! 9-CLAP! 11-CLAP!

And then you start back at one. It’s very fast-paced, and difficult to keep up! Try practicing it and you’ll have taken the first step on your way to learning Flamenco. 🙂

TIP: for me it’s harder to clap and keep track of my counts at the same time, so I just do this: 1-2-CLAP! 1-2-CLAP! 1-CLAP! 1-CLAP! 1-CLAP!