justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

El Ultima Dia

I spent my last morning in Barcelona sitting in the windowless upstairs cave of my of Quality Street, the art gallery/collective/hangout where I met most my BCN-based friends. I sunk into a well-worn brown leather chair and watched Corinthians play Chelsea in a cup that I didn't know about until the night before. As I sat there watching a grainy internet stream, while my friends chain smoked and ate Burger King, I realized I did it. I went to a completely foreign country with zero connections and found myself in the exact same place I'd be if I was back in the States. 

After giving my Brazilian friend Carlos some congratulatory handshakes for his club's win, I started to check off the few remaining items on my Barna bucket list. 

I rode up Passieg Sant Joan to visit Casa Macaya and snap a picture of the bike sculpted into the building's entry way. The bike respresents the buildings architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who rode his bike between projects. 

Then I headed over to the Christmas market in front of the cathedral to snap photos of the caganers, because that's the best poop-related Christmas tradition outside of Mr. Hanky. Brief back story: Since the late 18th century, Catalans have placed a pooping figuring aside their nativity scene. The "shitter" is fertilizing the earth, or any of the other explanations from wikipedia. Catalans also have the Caga tió aka Shitting Log aka Christmas log, which is far better than Santa, because you don't get to beat Santa with a stick until he shits out candy. While little Catalans do get to beat Caga tió with a stick while singing a song that translates to: "Shit log, shit nougats (turrón), hazelnuts and cottage cheese, if you don't shit well, I'll hit you with a stick, shit log!"

After I'd Catalan Christmas'd myself out, I bounced over to Raval to get one final haircut from my Pakistani barber who is the first person in the world to give me a haircut that I don’t hate. The fact that his prices range from 3 to 4 euros for a cut also make it a great stop. Inside the dingy shop, three fellow Pakistanis sat in the waiting area and watched a championship game of Kabaddi being broadcast on a 13-inch oldschool TV that was hung in the corner of the shop. 

I still have zero clue about how Kabaddi works. It’s one shirtless and shoeless guy against
four opposing equally disrobed athletes. After watching it for 10 minutes I could only gather that it
was a cross between Red Rover and wrestling.

Post Kabaddi/hair cut sesh, I passed through Ciutadella park one last time and tried to take in all its beauty as I have no clue when I’ll ever get back. It’s a shame that despite reading its wiki eight times over I never could remember its amazing history of being a jail or prison town or something properly. 

I did snap a picture of this kid though. 

When I showed Sarah the picture, she asked if the kid was alright. But at the time I never even thought to ask if he was OK. I just snapped and bopped. 

This is the same logic that I used when I didn't help a young woman in the grocery store who had tripped and fell. Sarah said I was rude, but my thinking was that she was too embarrassed
and I was doing the right thing by not drawing any more attention to her.

Back to Barcelona. Many of our friends came over for one final goodbye. We played Pictionary and I drew the word "Warsaw." Having little knowledge of Warsaw I sketched a picture of a war, which was quickly
guessed, then a picture of a saw, which everyone recognized but nobody knew the word of in
English, which ruined my turn. I joked that this is why I need to return to America, but it was actually better than any other moment in my short Pictionary career. 

After our friends left I was sad that I wouldn’t be seeing many of them for a long, long while and I'd probably never see all of them together again. I stared off my balcony into a plaza that I’d spent countless hours gazing into. Then I heard the bar below come alive after a Barca goal (somehow I watched a Corinthinians game and Kabaddi game, but I couldn’t bother to care about watching my local club one last time). It was a nice year.