Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why Di Shouldn't Have Explored Barcelona Alone on Her First Night ... (the uncut version)

I'm still giggling as I make myself comfortable here on the bed, ready to confess how inept I am when I wander in cities and countries not my own.

If ... let's say hypothetically so I can tell you without entirely losing face, I once worked for a Dunedin city photographer who found it fall-on-the-floor-laughing funny that I would become disorientated on the spiral staircase to the basement in his office area (I was very young at the time), obviously giving him the impression that I am geographically inept, to the point where it's probably some kind of syndrome ... well then, I shouldn't go out with a key ring of 5 keys, some of which are just for show and some of which are for real, to be used in a complicated system of unlocking doors to get back into the guest house where I'm staying.

Just for show ... I didn't get what she meant about that.
Tomorrow's big question over breakfast perhaps.

2. If I know I am geographically inept and I had already noted that the guest house owner appears to have given me the wrong street address by one number ... truly, she has, then I shouldn't go out into the night because ... I will press the button of my floor on the WRONG building.

Sigh, he sounded lovely and did want to help.

3. So I was correct to hang my head in shame when I finally identified my building but couldn't make the keys work ... not one of the 5 keys actually, (although they were spectacularly less successful in the wrong building). I was correct to hang my head in shame when my real Spanish neighbours had to let me in and showed me, (and I could tell this was a regular thing with silly guest house tourists, despite their very gracious manner), showed me how to work the complicated key system and which key holes were fake.

I can only hope they appreciated me sending the elevator back down to them. I didn't call them down, I was just lucky they were coming in.

But now to the good news ...
On my way to the supermarket (because one does get terribly hungry at 4am, when they're done with sleeping from that early night they took to avoid going out in search of food for fear of getting lost or locked out) ... on my way to the supermarket I accidentally wandered into a rather excellent tapas bar, as one does in Spain.

I ate at de Tapa Madre and the food was stunning, the wine was excellent, the price was superb and ... the waitress had lived in New Zealand last year and loved it of course!

Unfortunately she wasn't given approval to live there, for which I apologised ... my people are rotten about foreigners which is terribly hypocritical when you consider that some of the New Zealanders came by their land by foul means, as in land theft and colonisation.

My waitress's English was perfect and even better, she understood mine ... but seriously, if you're in Barcelona and you want good food and a nice atmosphere, then I would really recommend de Tapa Madre

Oh, and the complicated system of keys and locks ... further complicated by the fact that my guest house host rarely picks up the phone so when I arrived earlier than expected from the airport, I ended up being let in by other guests who happened along.

So far I have been twice-saved from a night spent sleeping rough on Barcelona streets ... I think I'll just curl up and sleep now.

What is it Scarlett O'Hara said?
After all... tomorrow is another day. ;)


Mlle said...

ooooow...Reading this made me giggle :) You are really quite an adorable kiwi, you is.


Di Mackey said...

Is I?
As I read your comment, I imagined you saying 'plonker!', through laughter of course.

Lydia said...

This post was SO well-written, and so funny; I just loved it.
I have a horrible sense of direction so can appreciate some of what you experienced.
Did you ever touch base with Carlos at Barcelona Photoblog? I hope he gets to read this post.....

Kat said...

Keys just for show?!? That's hilarious!

You sound as dizzy as me! I had my backpack stolen in Barcelona - while I was checking out a church! Tut tut. Still love the place though!! :)

Di Mackey said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it Lydia. I still need to go check out Carlos's blog. I didn't have time when I was at home and until the noisy couple next door leave, I'm awake so ... I might just pop over there now.


Jule's Short Story said...

Mmmm with my experiences exploring Rome with you, I think being geographically challenged rubs off. Still traumatised by the map reading failures :)

Enjoy and post lots of photos for us southern folks.

Di Mackey said...

Well, I've been out and wandering Jules and you would adore the Barcelona map - the city layout is superb so far ... I can't resist posting at the moment. I'm back between morning and late afternoon light, emptying photo cards and etc :)

Kevin said...

I have a horrible sense of direction so can appreciate some of what you experienced.I can only hope they appreciated me sending the elevator back down to them.

Di Mackey said...

I would like to say, I'm glad that someone shares my directionally challenged ways but it's a bit mean, since I should wish that no one does, Kevin.

The great thing I've discovered about Barcelona is that maps work really effectively because the streets are so well planned.

Kevin said...

I have a horrible sense of direction so can appreciate some of what you experienced. This is a very good post and is written in a very appropriate way.

V-Grrrl said...

I say none of it was your fault at all. It was INDEED confusing. And the story of the keys made me sweat. You are a brave and daring wandering woman to deal with wonky locks and odd addresses and hosts that don't answer the phone and all THAT.

Di Mackey said...

Thanks Kevin.

And dank u wel, Ms V. It's all a bit disorientating in a new country when you don't have someone to call when sleeping in the gutter or on the sidewalk is looking imminent but I guess that kind of makes it fun (in restrospect, I hasten to add).

Thanks for calling me brave and daring ;)