free stats Carmen's Web: Barcelona Bustle
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Barcelona Bustle
I've been on the verge of tears all day. Arrived in Barcelona last night to find a problem with the apartment...couldn't stay there for the evening and had to find another place to sleep in. I ended up leaving my bags at the apartment and made my way to Ramblas where I walked up and down the avenue trying to find a cheap hotel. Some were cheap, but full. Others were ridiculously expensive, some wouldn't take me because (the genius that I am) I had no passport. I left it at home with the rest of my bag. Here I was, stranded in a street unlike any I've ever seen...tourists, locals, crazies, and everything inbetween existed side by side. I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I walked in one hotel, heart in my hand, and asked if they had a room available, and when they said yes I begged for it. I showed them my driver's license, showed them my credit cards, told them that I was desperate, and the guy took pity on me and gave me a room. As unappealing as it was, it was heaven last night.

I checked in and realized that the television was in Catalan, so decided to step out and explore the area a little. I was a little exhausted from the trip and finding the hotel and had planned to just call it an early evening....I'm going to be here indefinitely after all...but was a little too antsy in my room. Walked up and down, wasn't really impressed much, but as I was turning the corner saw a HUGE poster for a Juan Luis Guerra concert next month. If I had thought that I made the wrong decision to come to Barcelona, this just made everything worthwhile! He was in New York the evening after I had left and I was seriously considering changing my ticket so I could catch his concert. That I'll be able to see him here is a special treat.

I woke up this morning and made my way to school to get the keys for the apartment. Got there, checked out my room, and was ready to head on the next flight back home. My room was filthy, the bathroom had a funny smell to it, I was afraid of the kitchen. My sheets were stained, the duvet completely discolored (probably from someone's sweat), hair was all over the floor. I mean, I didn't expect luxury accommodations. And I'm not a prissy princess...I can easily deal with austere accommodations, but I can't deal with dirty ones. Unless it's dirt of my own making, I don't want to be around it.

Swallowed my pride and made it to the orientation at school, but couldn't stop from feeling as if I'd just made the biggest mistake of my life. Today when we were going around introducing each other and participating in activities all I wanted to do was break out into tears.

Everything seems so foreign here. I feel so foreign in this language. I'm afraid to say a single word in Spanish, can't come close to understanding anything in Catalan. I went into Corte Ingles this afternoon and avoided all the salespeople so I wouldn't have to converse with them, but at one point had no choice and needed to ask where things were. And although I asked for things in proper Spanish, I did it through muffled whispers to the saleswoman, afraid of my own voice, as if the world would suddenly explode if actual sound came out.

Bought myself some new sheets, a mop, and some cleaning supplies and made my home to scrub my place down. My room now smells like fresh lemons, the sheets added a nice homey touch, but haven't yet been able to do anything with the funny smell in the bathroom.


I feel incredibly lonely and more alienated than I've ever been in my life. Sadly, I sought comfort in...McDonald's. Yup. As tacky as it may sound, the Golden Arches provided me with what I needed the most--some kind of familiarity. I was embarrassed to go in, and even more embarrassed at how relieved I felt when I did. The only meals I've had since I've been here have been Filet de Peix meals. Supersized. Had it for dinner last night after walking up and down Ramblas without finding a place that looked appetizing. Had it again today for lunch. Am feeling really pathetic that the only place I can go into with some kind of comfort is McDonald's.

It's getting late and my first real day starts tomorrow. Maybe if I go to sleep I'll wake up and find myself in Oz (Dorothy's Oz, not HBO's...)
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 8:04 PM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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