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I could write a Barcelona hostel guide!

But really would just like to find a place to call home.

sunny 25 °C

What a week it has been. After twice thinking that I had a place to stay locked up (so to speak), I had to go back to the drawing board. So here I am, in hostel number two (the old one couldn't extend my stay) and still without a true home. I had two great bites on rooms, but neither panned out. I was flat-out denied by one, and the other needed 3-4 days to think about it. Oof. I am newly empowered with a different room-listings site, though, and am looking forward to three more showings tomorrow. I have also given up on going into the showings speaking Spanish-- I think it was hurting me being a 22 year old American kid and not being able explain fully that I'm here to work, not party all the time. I am still certainly looking for Spanish speakers, but if they speak a little english for the 'interview' process I am more than happy.

I continue to stumble upon new and incredible parts of this city as I run around like crazy locating and seeing rooms. I walked past one of the famous Gaudi buildings today and saw everyone gawking, but had to hurry through to get to my appointment on time. Felt like a regular ol' local. I'll be back later, a little less stressed.

Speaking of walking, one of my first Barcelona lessons: When crossing the street, the little green man blinks to signify that time is running out. However, whereas in the US, where the hand blinks a bazillion times, this green man only blinks about 7. Therefore, under no circumstances do you start crossing when the man is blinking, and if you value your life, you will run if he starts to blink and you are still in the street. The reason for this is that all of the mopeds (almost more numerous than cars, and half driven by fearless women) sneak to the front of the line and anticipate the green, so that sometimes they are in the middle of the intersection when their light turns. I have been a part of and witnessed many Frogger-like scenes with the uninitiated.

I had the opportunity today to meet up with the parents of one of the guys with whom I played soccer in college as they complete a tour of Spain. It was great to grab lunch and walk around el Gotic with them and practice my English again.

So I mentioned earlier that I had to move hostels, and this new hostel offered a great deal (do not try this at home, kids, I got lucky)-- so I arrived and the guy explains that the room is has is really small. I point at the pile of luggage and go 'will I fit?' (half joking) and he looks for a minute at it and says (not joking) 'yeah I think so.' Great. So we get to the room, and he takes out the oldest key I have ever seen. Seriously it looks like something out of Frankenstein. He inserts said key, and tugs on the door. After several minutes of frantic tugging, he turns and goes 'could you have a seat over there? I'll be back in 3 minutes.' At this point, I was sure that I was being scammed. I had already paid, but I went and sat to see how it would play out. 20 minutes later he flies back down the hallway with a master set of keys, apologizing the whole way. I am so relieved me came back at all, I just smiled and said nothing as he had equal success the second time around. And then he turns to me and says: 'I'll have to put you up in a single room with its own bathroom'. Nooooow we're talkin. He takes me to my new room and all is good. It could have gotten hairy, and for a minute I was considering drastic action whew. This new room, though, has a shower that is quarter-circle shaped in the corner of the room. You step in and close the doors with both hands like you're loading the escape pod in a rocket (or the way I envision an escape pod). I even made the air whooshing noise the first time. And that's just the beginning, since it has three modes: 1) Waterfall, where the ceiling of the shower just starts pouring on you (doesn't seem very economic for a country in severe drought, but I loved it) 2) Regular handheld shower head 3) 6 horizontal nozzles that spray a fine(er) mist from the wall. I didn't even really try this one much since I was so engrossed by the waterfall option. What an experience.

You noticed, I hope, that I posted a couple of pictures earlier. The first was taken from the airplane as we flew towards Barca, and the second is the street my last hostel was on, taken from Placa Catalunya. This is just a teaser for the kinds of things one might find on the as-yet unformed Flickr account for my travels. I'll keep you posted on the status of that. Phew, I know, I promised to keep these short. Sorry! I need to go anyway- it's bedtime- but I think I have time for one more shower.

Hasta Luego!

Posted by dclift 21:56 Archived in Spain

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Comments

Great job sticking it out to wait for the second (luxury) hostel room. Good luck on finding something more permanent. I'm wondering if you could find a real Spanish-speaker who knows you there would write a short recommendation for you that you could give to the potential landlord? Given your struggles with Spanish (so far) and the trouble finding a landlord with better English, this might be the only way to get the point across?

Good luck!

I look forward to when you can post larger pix to Flickr. I've been enjoying chatting with Alex about his pix there!

All the best.

by Stew

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