Our Spanish vacation is over, we’re heading home at 500 miles per hour. Racing the darkness, traveling against the rotation of the earth. It’s funny that every time you return from anywhere to the USA, you time travel backwards. If only you could get a little younger or a little thinner in the process.
It was a wonderful break. The kids really enjoyed themselves and it was fun trying to speak and be understood. Most people in Barcelona spoke English, some better than others but they all wanted to practice and were certainly better at English than we were at Spanish.
I was quite surprised at my actual knowledge of so many words. I guess those hours of Rosetta Stone paid off. Of course the only way to really learn is full immersion, however having someone who speaks English to guide you in the intricacies of the language is beneficial. We all learned the bad words of course. Our hosts in Madrid weren’t scared of the odd shit or fuck here and there…actually all the time. Learning the phrase ‘Puta madre’, loosely translated as ‘fucking great’ was fun and silly. The kids learned what mierda (shit) meant because when driving it’s what you constantly say.
We missed the clock change this weekend, which really isn’t a bad thing. Adjustment for us will take a few more days. I guess readjusting to a 5 hour difference compared to a 6 hour difference is negligible at best. I’m hoping we’re not back to getting up in the dark. I hate that more than anything, well I hate ironing more but that’s another story.
Barcelona was the most wonderful place, with tiny little cobbled streets. Some streets were wide enough for two way traffic but most were one way. There was a really cool thing, where the street was single lane but two way. You came up to the entrance, pushed a button and the steel pole would move down into the road to allow you to pass when the light turned green for you to go. The street somehow knew if it was clear. They were all over. Cars and bikes and pedestrians shared most of the lane way with out incident. The cars drove slowly enough for you to get out of the way and the bikes, well they just weaved their way through.
All the little alleys and lanes would open out to squares where they would have restaurant and weekend markets. It was alive and bustling well into the late evening hours. It’s not a city for early rising. Most stores open around 10am unless its a breakfast place. We spent 2 sold days walking and discovering the sights. We went places I imagine not may tourists would. We found ourselves right in the middle of the hooker area by mistake one evening and although I was quite concerned, there were several policias around tending to some disturbance, that I felt safe enough to get the fuck out of there by continuing through. Grand Master D noticed where we were around the same time as myself. We both saw her, in her blue sequined dress and her black velvet shoes. She was haggard in her made up appearance, a life on the street will do that. The question was, was she a she or a he or maybe even a he/she… Whatever she was we were glad to be gone and fast. As we travelled down that 100 metres of alley we came across several more ladies of the night, more the worse for wear the further in we walked. We were never more pleased to turn the corner back into the realm of tourist civilization only to stumble upon this gem.
It was locked up for the night behind a graffiti-ed roller shutter and we have no idea what it was. Could it have been a place to sell the smoking paraphernalia or perhaps seeds? Maybe it was a smoking bar? We don’t know the rules on such things in Spain. The kids and I did come across a guy smoking openly out in the street at midday in Madrid. I guess the Spanish are more relaxed about such matters.
We ended up back in La Ramblas where we found a great little place to eat and laughed about our stroll though the seamy side of life… I knew it would be more educational for the kids than a week in the classroom. Who needs fractions and essays when you can have hookers and weed? Miss Gremlin certainly had many questions about hookers and why they would do that and who even buys sex anyway? Ah the innocence of youth 🙂 We’re such good parents.
I thoroughly recommend this free form ‘travel the world experience’ for your children… At least once 🙂