I knocked on Yasmin’s Barcelona door in the early afternoon.  I had spent the morning adventuring in the Olympic Village, after checking out of my hostel with a RyanAir ticket to Gothenberg, Sweden and my backpack.  I made some Swedish friends in Rome last year and stayed in contact with them.  Now, I was finally going to see them in their homes.  I had been planning this leg of the trip for months.  In Rome, the Swedes swelled with the pride of their fine country and its fine people.  For the next couple of weeks they would show me why, I thought.

As I walked towards  Barcelona’s el Gotic district, where I had spent most of my time since arriving, I thought about how I would get to Gothenberg and then Jonkoping, where I would be staying.  The night before my wallet had been stolen with my cash, debit cards, and identification cards inside.  This certainly added a level of difficulty to the trip but I was pretty certain I could still make it.

I knocked on Yasmin’s Barcelona door.  She opened the door and, with a smile, invited me in.  She was just moving into this new flat so I asked how I could help.  After hanging a black shelf that ran the length of the longest wall and assembling an Ikea table I was starting to get hungry.

For the past four days I had been wandering in Barcelona’s el Gotic district.  The bed I rented for my first four days in Barcelona was on Escudellers in the heart of el Gotic.  The buildings began where the one lane street ends.  At night I was sleeping on the third floor in an apartment that had been repurposed into a hostel by adding five beds to each of the bedrooms.  Below the window of this hostel there was a party that lasted until the sun rose over Barcelona.

Now, here I was four doors down and one floor up helping a new friend from Angelholm, Sweden move into a flat in Barcelona.  I could hear the street festivities below.  I could smell the fresh samosas that were being sold out of cardboard boxes.  My new Swedish friend asked when I was leaving to see my other Swedish friends in Sweden.  As was true of most of the people I met from Sweden, Yasmin was certain I would enjoy my adventures there.

Then I told her my story about getting robbed at the end of Barcelona’s main promenade, La Rambla.  She told me that if you haven’t been robbed at least once in Barcelona then you haven’t really seen Barcelona.  We both laughed and then she got serious.  She told me that she knew what it was like to get robbed here and it was not fun.  She offered me her couch, if I assembled it first, so I reconsidered my trip to Sweden.  Without any money the trip to Sweden was going to be slower than I had hoped.  It would also mean meager eating and free transportation.  Once in Jonkoping I could have someone from my family mail me my new debit card when it arrived at my home.  This was one option.  This ended up not being the option I chose.

In Yasmin’s flat above the narrow street in el Gotic, Barcelona I assembled a couch.  Then, that night Yasmin, James, Walter, Yvanna, Davíd, Jim, Emilie, and I went out together to see the city’s nightlife.  While we were out James told me that he knew a guy who would let me work for him doing pub crawl promotions any night of the week.  I was hoping to get make some quick cash while I waited for my debit card so the next night I walked over to the Victoria Pub.

I went into the pub and found James’ friend, Jason, who had moved to Barcelona from California.  He told me to meet him outside the bar in about a half hour.  When I came back there was a small group of people outside the Victoria Pub.  They were also working for some quick cash.  Most of them were either travelers or new arrivals in Barcelona.  No one had any plans to do this work long term.  A few of them had been doing it off and on for a month now for extra money.  Jason made it very clear that we could take this seriously or not.  To him it made very little difference.  If we brought people in to the pub to sign up for the pub crawl then he paid us for each person.  If we did not then he paid us nothing.  He handed each person in the crowd an unopened box of cheap sangria, told them to have fun, and we dispersed.

When I got to Placa Reial I sold my Sangria to an old man from Barcelona for a fair price.  I wandered the Placa, full of glowstick salesman and club promoters, reading the flyer I had been given about the “pub walk.”  Jason warned the group of us that the police do not allow “pub crawls” in Barcelona.  However, they will allow “pub walks.”  So, with what information I had I came up with a pitch and began talking to everyone in Placa Reial.  I started with the salesmen and other promoters because I knew they would tell me no while I worked out my pitch.  After talking to fifty or so people I saw a group of American girls sitting on the edge of the fountain.  As I talked to them they grew interested in the pub walk.  I escorted them to the pub to sign up and get a drink.  Then I went back to work in Placa Reial.  I made twenty-two Euros that night but, more importantly, I talked to a lot of people from around the world that night.  Most of them had no interest in a pub walk but a lot of them had a few minutes to share a story.

Well, the adventures in Barcelona went on for a few weeks after this and I will share them with you soon.  Until then…

 

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