candy candy candy
Day 77, Hostels: because sometimes you just want to binge drink with strangers - 9/23
We soaked in every second of sweet, sweet, uncut, pure, unadulterated, private bedroom sleep we could get because we knew after this it was back to the eighteen person human incubation chamber. I fought and fought and fought and tried to sleep through it, but alas my bladder was at capacity and I didn't want to pee in a bed that wasn't mine . After taking an Austin Powers bathroom break I went back to the room and Shana and I finished packing our belongings. Roger got up as well and we spent the morning chit chatting over some coffee and juice. Roger wasn't going to let Shana poison his insides again with huevos for breakfast. Unfortunately we didn't have enough plutonium to put in the Dolorian so we had to catch a train back to Barcelona. As we walked back to the train station, Roger introduced us to a pastry shop that makes little croissants with a melt-in-yo-mouf butter sugar glaze. They also had a chocolate variety. Roger said he didn't show us this place until the last day on purpose because he knew we'd be there every minute of every day. He was right. We would have gone bankrupt if we'd known about this place earlier (see line graph: Obesity on the Rise). Not too much later we arrived at the station. We thanked Roger for ruling at life, hosting us, and introducing us to his amazing family. We told him our paths would cross again (we have a campaign to get Roger here by Thanksgiving 2014).
The train back to Barcelona wasn't a sad one however. I think Roger knew how much we liked food so he made sure we'd have some treats on the train so we could soak our tears in delicious dessert pastries for breakfast . We made it back to the hostel no sweat. As we checked in we found out we were in the exact same beds as the last time. We unloaded our crap and hung out until the room was ready.
Most of the faces in the room had changed, but the situation didn't. It was still like a SAUNA up in there so we put our things away and decided to walk around. Hunger again had caught up to us... who am I kidding, we've been chasing that dude like he was the roadrunner. A real slow asthmatic roadrunner with only one leg and a heart problem. We had passed an udon noodle place and decided to drop in and check it out. They had a pretty good lunch deal. We each got our own noodle dish, appetizer, drink and dessert. Yea thats right, its lunch time and were already having second dessert. Hold on.... whew. I had to catch my breath. I've been typing too fast and it made me sweaty. So.... tired. Ah, my fingers are sore. The noodle place was ok. The service was good, but the food was average at best. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
After a disappointing noodle adventure we had to walk around to make room so we could burn of the noodles and fire something else more delicious in our fuel tanks. As we traveled down the alleyways that make up Barcelona we stopped by a handful of vintage shops. They actually had some pretty decent crap in them. Seeing as how we were filled to the brim with our own pretty decent crap we just window shopped and explored. We made our way back toward the hostel and stopped into the La Boqueria market to people watch. The market was a huge covered outdoor food market. There were quick service restaurant stands, butcher shop stands, fresh fruit stands, candy stands, a chili pepper stand, and many other food related stands. I saw a stand where you could actually buy tripe and brain by the kilo. They had all different sized brains. That reminded me of a very funny story about a childhood friend of Shana and Zac (Shana's brother) named Loafy. Ask them about their long lost friend. Shana had her fill of strange animal pieces and parts so we went back to the hostel.
On our way back we had pick up the essential ingredients for one of our new favorite drinks, "Red Beer". Not wanting to hang out in the incubation chamber, we decided to go up to the roof and drink our Red Beer Forties. Time had passed and our forties had become paperweights. We needed to use the internet to figure out what we were going to do for the evening so we headed downstairs to the common room.
As we were trying to decide what to do with ourselves for the evening we saw our San Diego buddy Andrew. He joined us for happy hour and we talked about our past weekend adventures. A short while later Andrew saw someone he met in our room and invited her to sit with us. Her name was Nadine and she was from Berlin. We all shot the fat??? Chewed the shit??? Whichever saying means we sat around and talked. We had hashed out a plan for the evening. We would finish happy hour, go to dinner, stop by a famous shot bar, come back for second happy hour, and then go to the club. The plan was set in motion. We all went up stairs and got ready for BARCELONA-PALOOZA-THON-FIESTA-PARTY-DINNER-SHOT-MAYHEM-EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!!
Our first stop was El Tropezon. This was a popular tapas spot. We strolled right in and then strolled right out. We were put on the waiting list. One of the host/bartender/server/bussers said it would be about ten minutes before we could get a table. If there's a wait at an eating establishment that usually means the food is really good, or the drink prices are great, or the service is slow and shitty. We were hoping for the first two. Twenty minutes passed by and we were escorted to our table in the back. We checked out their extensive tapas menu. It had over fifty items... in spanish. Damn. I was deciding on what could either be sausage or walrus arm. A minute or two passed by and we looked at the back side of the menu and they had translated it into english. Nice. As a table we decided on the spinach empanadas, patatas bravas, fried pork face, and devil's chorizo. We also ordered two tall frosty mugs of sangria. When we were about halfway done with our mugs the food started to come out. The spinach empanadas came first and they were ok. The cold mush spinach inside wasn't that appetizing. The patata bravas came next, mmmmmmm. They were delicious. They weren't the best I've had, but they're in the top two. Next came the fried pork face. It wasn't a whole pork face. It was about half a pork face cut up into bite size pieces, coated with a light batter then fried. Those pieces were a delight. The tortilla (fluffy omelette shaped into a disc) came shortly after and this was also well received. And last, but not least, came the devil's chorizo (see diagram: hell going in and hell coming out). The waiter lit it on fire and said, "Put it out in two minutes". We snacked on our other tapas before putting out the flame. This dish was sure to wreak havoc on my intestines, but boy was it tasty. We made it to the fiery top of tapas mountain and we were ready to embark onto the next stop.
We walked through the tiny alley ways and ended up on one of the main streets. We saw our destination lit up with a bright blue neon sign. Espit Chupitos!!! The famous shot bar. We walked in and saw the giant menu on the wall. There must have been over eighty shots. There were the standard: adios MF, red headed slut, Jager bomb, etc. There were also bunch of shots named after movies. Shana chose the first set of shots. She went up to the small bar and said, "Four Harry Potter's, please". The bar tender smiled, grabbed four shot glasses, filled them with a clear liquor, a splash of another clear liquor, and another splash of another clear liquor, sliced an orange, put the pieces on top of each shot, sprinkled some sugar on each slice, grabbed another bottle full of clear liquor, poured it all over the shots and in a circle around the shots, and then proceeded to light the whole creation on fire (see flow chart: FORGETT-A-CUS!!!!). He let his fireball light up the bar for roughly an eternity before having us blow out the flame and take the shot. We were to take the shot like a tequila shooter: shot first then follow with orange. The shot was pretty good, but the sugar had caramelized on the orange from the burning and that tasted awesome. Andrew and I chose next and we decided we'd go with a Tarantino themed shot. We walked up and ordered four Pulp Fiction's. The bar tender smiled and once again pulled out four shot glasses. A blur of liquors went into each glass and the end result was a Black Death color. Instead of lighting these on fire the bartender opened a new syringe and syphoned the first shot into it. Shana went first and the bar tender squeezed the contents into her mouth. We all took turns afterwards (see diagram: stab her three times?). Another cool thing about this shot bar is all of the shots only cost two euro. We had had our fill of needles and fire so we went back to the hostel to catch second happy hour.
This was our first time at the hostel (awake) for second happy hour (twelve to one thirty in the morning). We ordered a round and discussed politics and religion and the falling power of the american dollar*. After happy hour was over we caught a cab to our next stop; Club Shôko.
If you were a resident of Kabul you could get into Club Shôko for free after one thirty instead of paying the fifteen euro cover. We walked up to the giant mountain of a human that was the door guard/bouncer and told him to suck one (suck one = showed him our Kabul room key and he kindly let us in for free). Club Shôko was your typical club playing typical club music. Shana and I danced for a while and were over the sweaty, drunk, wankers crashing into us and the god awful Techo/House music. We weaved our way through the crowd and headed out the back door and onto the beach.
We sat in the sand and somehow started a game where we would push each other down into the sand so the other person would get really sandy. We kept calling truce and accusing the other person of going back on that truce and then starting the war all over again. Once we had our fill trying to bury each other alive we dusted off what sand we could and went back into the club to take another crack at dancing. We had the same luck as before so we decided to call it a night. We had lost our friends earlier and figured they knew how to get back to the hostel. We hailed down a cab and made the trip back home.
The human incubation chamber wasn't such a bad place at four something in the morning with a nice cauldron of booze percolating in your belly. As we got ready to shut off, Andrew and Nadine came in. They had the same trouble not being able to find us and figured we'd all knew how to get home. We were glad they had made it back safely. It was time to shut off.
*FINE! That wasn't our topic of conversation. We talked about what we've come across so far in our travels.
Day 78, Fireworks and Stuff - 9/24
When you go to sleep at 4am, waking up early is out of the question. When we finally rose from the dead we decided to start our day with showering the sand out of our butt cracks from the previous night's sand wrestling. We also said our goodbyes to our San Diego friend Andrew, for he was off to his next adventure.
While figuring out plans for the day, we realized it was the last day of the La Mercé Festival. Which meant two things; a lot of places would be closed and that it was a free museum day. We made plans to visit the Picasso museum (for freeee), but not before curing our hunger.
We wanted to check out the La Boqueria market again since we didn't get any food from it the previous day. We headed out but were disappointed to find out it was one of the venues that was closed for the day. Luckily we had a backup; burritos! We had been craving burritos since July, so we were excited to find a place with a really creative name, "Burrito". We arrived, looked at the menu, and quickly realized they didn't serve burritos... BLASPHEMY!
At that point we were super hungry so we picked the next cheap/easy thing we could find, which happened to be Wok to Walk (an asian noodle chain restaurant that can be found all over Europe). It wasn't horrible.
Once we were full we walked towards the Picasso museum. We walked by a giant crowd, looked over our shoulder and saw a tower of people climbing on top of each other to make a human tower. And then they fell (safely). It was a pretty neat sight.
After a few more minutes of walking we got in line for the museum. We thought it would be about an hour or so wait, but we're happy to get inside after about 15 minutes. The museum took you through Picasso's different phases in life, beginning with his early paintings. We got to see some impressive paintings he did when he was just 14 years old that showed a lot of talent. Then somewhere later in his life he seemed to lose that talent (just kidding, kind of) and began drawing pigeons (no photos were allowed in the museum so I stole some from google for reference). Since Jerrad loves pigeons, Picasso's pigeon paintings were his favorite. We really enjoyed the museum and would recommend checking it out.
After the museum we headed back to the hostel to rest up, since I felt a cold coming on. We hung out in the common room for a bit when Nadine joined us. None of us had plans for the night so we figured we'd get some dinner then check out some festival festivities. We wanted to keep dinner cheap and tasty so we opted for pizza. It was indeed cheap and tasty.
After pizza town we walked towards the crowd and watched a light show. It was similar to the one we saw in Amiens, France but not nearly as amazing. It was essentially some cartoons being projected onto a building, with music. Once we had our fill, we picked up some beers to-go and we hopped onto the metro for our final stop of the night; a fireworks show! I never realized how much I enjoyed lights bursting in the sky. The only bummer about the show was that everyone and their mom and their brother and their dog wanted to see the fireworks as well (see photo: HOLY CRAP THAT'S A LOT OF PEOPLE). If you know me, you know how much I love super-duper crowded places. Which is not at all. Luckily it was for a good cause (sparkly lights in the sky), so I sucked it up and dealt with all the strangers squishing up against me. We picked a curb to sit on to drink some beers until the show started. Slowly, but surely, the crowd got more and more packed. We even saw some old ladies arguing over a spot.
Then the street lights turned off, some music came on and everyone took out their phones (or in my case, a camera) to view the the show (see photo: hashtag fireworks). Then the fireworks started going off. The fireworks corresponded with the music and it was the best fireworks show we've seen. I felt like a little kid because after the super impressive explosions I would ooh and ahh. After a super long show we were ready to shove our way through the crowd and get some more terrible sleep at the hostel.
Obesity on the Rise
tapas clockwise from upper left: pig face/devil's chorizo/patatas brava/tomato bread
aka "hell going in and hell coming out"