There is nothing I remember best than the day I arrived to my temporary digs in Barcelona. Upon arriving at the address securing the printed e-mail, holding it like a sacred scripture, I rang the doorbell and waited. My trusty goons (the suitcases) sat on my flanks. Thieves are clever in this town as each of these made for a difficult snatch and run. Seconds turned to minutes and my mind wondered if I had fallen for a scam of sorts.
|My Movistar store on Carrer Gran de Gràcia. Notice the Catalan signage|
Across the street on Carrer Gran de Gràcia, a Movistar cellphone shop teased me, knowing very well I was in quite a pickle. I picked up old Samsonite and his twin brother, dragging them to the store. I was determined to purchase a prepaid phone to get connected to the grid. Being jetlagged and somewhat underslept – for lack of a better word – my most immediate need was to find a way to communicate with my supposed host in the case my intelligence was erroneous.
Fifty euros or so later, I was in possession of a sleek new cheap phone and was able to dial up the number for the apartment I could easily see from inside the store. I was immediately greeted with a friendly che or two, establishing initial contact. My new flat mate mentioned that he had totally forgotten to tell me the doorbell was out. He said he’d meet me at the door, so once we hung up, I proceeded back to the point I was dropped off. My suitcases were getting much heavier each step I took under the warm, humid, Catalan midday sun.
I noticed the door to the street was now ajar, as my newest friend unlocked it through the flat’s intercom for ease of access. Nice lad. As I nudged the door open further using my patented hip shuffle, I could now see the hallway was dark as night. Well, more or less, under the lens of the unknown and all that baggage that usually follows along. I could only see the shade of a person coming down and eventually he came to the light, welcoming me to Barcelona.
|Carrer Gran de Gràcia in the nighttime. Pretty sweet, eh?|
From the street, the building itself seemed rather beaten up so I worried if I was moving in to roach city. However, the young Argentinean gentleman had a great sense of pride for his home. The apartment could have been a poster child for an IKEA campaign (this is meant in a good way) or for a magazine on how to maximize space in a small dwelling. Things were off to a good start!