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June 2003

Las dos y media

After having dinner in Paris and breakfast in London, am I finally in a flight to Barcelona. Well, I thought it would be Barcelona, but it is Girona, a city a bit more than an hour north of Barcelona. With Ryan Air you better read the small print... The bus ride to Barcelona gives me the chance to chat with the nice gay couple from Canada I have met in the flight. I am sure I will bump into them again during my trip.

After a nice walk in the heat being amazed by the beautiful architecture, I check into my hostel. The people are very friendly. Free coffee and bottled water 24 7 (that should have said it all…) My room is small but cute and original.

After a nice walk in the afternoon, I enjoy a delicious Spanish dinner with a Swedish guy I have met in the hostel. The Barcelonan dinner is accompanied by a tomato bread.

After killing time until 11.30pm I finally head out to hit the bars. One does not want to go out and stand in empty bars. Well, as I get to Dietrich, the bar highly recommended by my friend and Barcelona expert Adrian, I find an empty bar. I think to myself it might be because of the fact that is Wednesday. After my ´¿hablas ingles?´ to the bar tender and his ´no´, I challenge my little brain that has just made my French fluent again during the last days. So me: ´¿ la gente? ¿a che hora?, and himb ´las dos y media´ Here we go. Mind you, I am not talking about a club. People don't go to the bar before 2.30am. As I will find out soon he is exaggerating a bit. The bar fills up at around 1am. I will also find out that Dietrich is a bar di segunda copa (second glass). So from midnight on you can go into "first glass" bars, and then after 1am one heads into the "second glass" bars.

Since it is too early for Dietrich my adventure continues in the street where I meet two fellow tourists from Berlin, and we go to the bar named Ironic. After some Red Bull and Vodkas the two Germans head home recovering from their last new nights out and go home. I, on the other hand, try to use my 4.5 words of Spanish to inquire whether Salvation or Metro would be the better club to go to on a Wednesday night. I tell the nice bar lady that I have just been to Paris and London within 20 hours, and that I am slightly confused. The nice lady tells me that only Metro is open on school nights, and even gives me free passes for the very same. She must have appreciated my efforts of speaking Spanish. Interestingly enough they use the word ´gracias´ in Catalan here even though the Catalan word is ´merci´ or ´merces´ (polite). Maybe she is not Catalan. Oh well.

So I head out at 2am to find the club Metro. As I am walking on these huge Barcelonan streets, I ask a cute boy and girl whether they knew the way to Metro. They ask me to just follow them. They are both from Chile and he lives in London. Since his French is better than his English, we chat in French for a while.

After some blocks I have the feeling that we must be walking into the wrong direction, and so I inquire again. Well, you get it? They are trying to bring me to the subway, underground or whatever you call it. We have a big laugh and they send me back into the other direction.

After a while I find the club. I cannot use my free pass because they have ´Fiesta di espuma´ Yes, you are right, a foam party. I have been thinking the whole day that my Puma sneakers need a wash, but I was not thinking that they will be shampooed this way. By 3am the club gets pretty full, and the music is fun. I meet a pretty drunk guy from Island who can verify all stories that my ex Travis told me about this Karl Oscar pop singer guy in Island. I meet a nice boy from Berlin who shows me the way through the dark room. I have never been in one of those, and will not stay this time either. I am a prude American I guess.

Suddenly the espuma cannon gets started the dance floor fills up like a bathtub. I try to stay away as far as possible. I have done this once and do not need a repeat. I always have to go through the dark room to go from one end to the other to avoid the foam. At one point I go to the bathroom to refill my water, and even there the foam was up to my hips. How crazy is that? Nonetheless, my Spanish is getting better as the night proceeds. This is good because most boys I meet don't have much English skills.

At 5am the club closes and I have a nice chat with this cute Spanish police man and some more guys outside the club. Most are heading to the after hours, Il Latin. I decide to get some rest.

The next morning I wake up some hammering outside my window. I start my tour to find these too cute swim trunks which I have seen the previous night. The problem is that the streets in Barcelona are laid out in a grid I as much as I try cannot find the store. It is too hot to do more searching, so I give up. (Actually, I will see them again that very evening, and will buy them the next morning.)

I head towards the ocean through the old part of the city and take some nice pictures which you can see in my pictures section.

On the beach I buy some boring trunks and a new beach towel because I have forgotten mine in London. The beach is crowed with young straight couples. This day I don't know yet that there are actually two gay beaches in Barcelona. I am happy to jump into the refreshing Mediterranean. I fall asleep on my belly and the sun lotion #10 is obviously not enough, so my calves and back are lobster like right now. I am pretty mad at myself. I will have to avoid the sun for couple of days.

The rest of my trip is beautiful. I learn to nap until 10.30pm, have a coffee, and head out for dinner then. Then I do not show up in the bars until 1am. I have delicious tapas and paellas. I go to the big gay pride party where all the Spanish queens wear flip-flops and have there own fans to cool the face, or any other body parts that need cooling. It feels like an accumulation of Karl Lagerfelds. Margaret Cho would love it. I see great art, and meet great people from all over the world.

Barcelona is definitely worth a trip. The nightlife of London, and that on the beach. I don't know how people work here, but well … not my problem. Or, at least, not yet….;-)