October 16, 2006

Barcelona Stories

I've been writing about Barcelona and well, it's a long post. It's made me decide to post it in several installations over the next few days, in an effort to make for faster reading for those of you sneaking in a bit of fluff at work. Not that anyone I know would do that. Certainly not. So let's start off with our first installation.

Brophy Sucks

Somewhere far too early to do so, I started issuing a countdown message and photo to those of us joining in on the Spanish Fun. It was easy enough to do; google Barcelona for images, save a few to the hard drive and then send them out every day with a message saying it was now X days until Barcelona. I thought it was nice. Evidently I was the only one because not a single person mentioned it until Scout Master Mark sent me an email addressing me as Ms. Countdown Clock. It amused me. All this is to say, I started counting down 10 days out. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone involved that the trip was imminent. Given the fact that we’d decided back in July to go for a long weekend in Barcelona, it should have been well worn as an idea by the time I finally got around to the countdown photos.


Sarah wrote to me on the Tuesday before we departed to tell me that she wouldn’t be joining us. Ummm, excuse me? This was your idea, Ms Adventure. Besides, the tickets were paid for, the rooms were reserved; I had a good idea of what I’d be packing. Surely it was too late to cancel? Not so. She’d been sick, she was moving house, she needed to buy stuff, London was soooo expensive, whine, whine, whine… I tried my best to change her mind, without result and then brought in the professional: I set Mark on her. I was the only one she told at that point.

So Mark tried to work on her, I tried; Joe was in New York and of no help whatsoever. The day arrived, I took myself to the airport and was just pitching my first of several Ryan Air induced Hissy Fits when Mark rolled in, sans Sarah. I knew I should have taken a taxi to her apartment and thrown her in with me. Joe, and what was left of his hair, finally arrived and we all observed a moment of silence before setting off for a beer. (What? We had 45 minutes before boarding.) As much as I’d like to give her credit for being the heart and soul of this group, we buoyed quite well and it was only 10 minutes before we were laughing at ourselves.

We boarded the plane, bought our first round of drinks (red wine for me, G+T for the boys; with diet tonic and wet wipe type packets of Gin. That was interesting. Should you manage to get your gin open, you must open it over the glass since the Gin runs everywhere once the packet is opened. Mark licked more of it off his hand than he put into his drink. It was nice gin from all reports) and then we tore into the guidebooks. Sarah had bought for the occasion a guidebook called the Cool Guide to Barcelona. It’s a great little guidebook, specializing in all things non-tourist. Cool clubs, cool shopping, cool off-the-beaten-path spots… I decided to give an impromptu reading of the book, turned to the page Mark suggested and read aloud the first line: Barcelona is a very horny city.

Clearly not your typical guidebook. It has a section dedicated to sex. Where to get it, how much to pay, where to buy condoms (every pharmacy has a 24 hour vending machine for your convenience), swingers clubs… Everything I’d need to know if I weren’t visiting Barcelona with 2 gay men and my sister-in-law. Also of note for this book is the fact that it is written by personal review only. If you’ve been somewhere cool, write it down and send it in. If they like it, they use it. So I read the passage about the swingers club aloud and the stag party in front of us paid the strictest of attention. I’m sure they were just bored, what with not having reading material of their own. Yeah.
2 short hours later we landed in Girona, Spain. Ryan Air tends to buy an airfield near popular destinations and then buy a fleet of buses so they can bring you in cheaply and then charge you for a ride to the city. So an hour later, we arrived in Barcelona. An hour and 15 minutes later we were sitting in a bar at the end of the street near my apartment, having our first drink (What?) and offering our first toast of the trip: Brophy Sucks. I took a photo of it and texted it to Sarah. It was to be the first of many such photos for her that weekend.

I’m amazed she’s still speaking to us.

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