Ok, so you guys might think this is kinda a cheesy title, if you all know the reference, but I decided to use it anyway. It’s my blog and I do what I want. Anyways… so, not to spoil things or anything, that’s kinda what I’m going to be writing about today.
As I was saying before, I have navigated to and from school successfully for a few days without getting lost once! I even took a different route to a different part of the university, and I got there without a hitch, and just within a nick of time! I am figuring now, that you would all want to hear about my adventures in Sagrada Familia, Parque Guell, Montjuic, Placa Espana, and of course, venturing to the Mediterranean sea, which just happens to be within a 45 minute walk from my house. Well, here goes.
First, Sagrada. upon stepping up the metro stairs, I was expecting the large grotesque building with looming spires to jump out at me. I didn’t see it straight away, but once I turned around slowly, as one would do if starring in a horror movie, it was there. Looming, grotesque, and large are all great words to describe it, but none of them do it justice. I had to crane my head back to try to get a decent view of it. After learning about the gothic cathedrals, and looming spirals of the Romantic era in my English class last semester, this building topped them all off by a large margin. Do you remember making sandcastles as a kid? Well, you would plop on the wet sand close to the crashing waves, pour the buckets full of sand into piles upon piles and watch the sand drip and create layers. Am I right, or am I right? (or perhaps, this was just something I did… hmm.). Moving on… so do you guys remember that? Well, multiply that by, the largest number you can think of (I’m not good with numbers, so I might be completely wrong, depending on what number you’re thinking of). Let’s just say that it was huge then, like a monster about to eat you, minus the condiments and utensils.
So you can imagine this, right? Well, factor in the fact that this is one of the biggest pickpocket areas in Barcelona. You can guess why. Well I know I can. Every traveler who visits this spot for the first time gets so overwhelmed that their mouths hang open, their senses fly out the stain-glass windows, and they begin to root through their touristy bags, through the layers of touristy maps, touristy postcards, touristy souvenirs, and touristy free-bus-ride passes, to find their huge cameras. They back up several feet, but of course, they can’t fit the whole cathedral in the comparatively small viewfinders. Then, they spend several minutes squinting, adjusting their glasses, and angling the cameras just right, while a “churrizo”, “ladrón” or pickpocket master (whatever you want to call them), expertly fishes in the gaping purses and bulging pockets for the passports or visas.
I will have to admit, that for this day, I was one of those tourists. Not to the same degree of course, but I was to the degree that I was targeted as one of those “touristas”. I was taking my essential photos with one of my friends from our group when two Asian ladies with clipboards approached both of us, asking if we could donate a little money for a wheelchair ramp to the Sagrada Familia. I was feeling kinda doubtful about the whole thing, feeling it was a scam, but I looked over to see that my friend was filling out a paper that the lady was holding. I decided to give it a try, and filled in my name, my country, and then stopped at the donation box. I decided €1 (one Euro) was enough, and made sure my purse was closed after I pulled out my money. Once I pulled it out, two more ladies arrived, and they began to press up against me with their clipboards, speaking frantically, when I kept saying “un momento! un momento!” When I finally found two €.50 cents, I dropped it in one of their greedy hands, and backed away, snapping it shut. They then asked for my ID. Hesitatingly, I opened my wallet just enough to stay close to my body, but so that they could see it. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a hand reaching for my Forever 21 card that only had about $15 on it. I snapped the wallet shut, not minding her fingers and said “NO GRACIAS!” Then walked away.
Unfortunately, they swindled me out of €1, but I got the better end of the deal. I still have my Forever 21 card, which would have been of practically no value to them, and even if they would’ve snatched my wallet, I had only my driver’s license, my Forever 21 card, and about €10. Hence, they would’ve been sad to know that they wasted so much time to not earn much on such unfruitful pursuit, such as mine, not to brag on my newfound traveling skills.
However, though I was successful in that part, I still have no idea how to disguise myself as an exemplary Spaniard for the semester, or even a university student. Everywhere I go, I have been identified as American. Even when I was almost robbed of everything that is not valuable in my possession, the Asian asked me if I was a tourist, and I regret that I agree to that fact. I am, sometimes in fact a tourist, I will have to admit to that fact. But I am not a tourist when I am going to buy a pastry, a cell phone, or even when traveling on the metro to school. So why do I seem to be addressed in English when I clearly spoke in Español? Well then, there is no answer to this question, so I have decided to dye my hair orange.
Just kidding. But seriously, it has been a problem, which I have no solution. I guess for now, I will have to deal with it.
Wow. That was a lot, and for just one day. I will have to continue when I am in a fully conscious state. ¡Hasta luego!