Saturday marked the first API planned day trip. We traveled to Tarragona, which is a site of ancient Roman ruins. Essentially the tour went something like this: “Here is the wall of the Roman fortress. This is completely restored, but it’s what the original would have looked like.”
Last November I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Italy where I visited Rome on a day trip. Seeing Tarragona after Rome was kind of like seeing Wicked at the Pantages and then going to see the Simi Valley Cultural Arts production of it. Enough said.
It wasn’t all bad. We happened to be there for the Santa Tecla festival, which I guess would be something like 4th of July specifically for California. There was music and families and a great vibe. We also traveled in a REALLY comfortable bus, so I can’t complain.
On the way home, Jacqueline and I sat next to two guys from Texas; Steve and John. Jacqueline is a Texas girl, and I love meeting West coasters (Texas is close enough), so we had fun conversation all the way home.
Steve and John live in the Gracia District of Barca, which is Jacqueline and my favorite area in Barcelona. It’s urban meets hippy meets boho. The Gracia District is filled with tiny vintage shops, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and lots of Spaniards our age. Seeing Americans in the Gracia District is rare. We decide we should meet up later that night and go out to some bars.
Jacqueline and I show up to their apartment and we’re welcomed by country music and whiskey cokes. We were ecstatic. We hung out at their apartment for a while talking about all things Texas (I declared myself an honorary Texan for the night). We didn’t actually get to their apartment until midnight and by the time we left to go to the bars it was past 2:00.
The whole Spanish stereotype is that things stay open all night, but that’s not exactly true. Bars tend to close between 2:00 and 3:00, which is when the clubs open / get busy. We wandered around looking for a bar and eventually found an open one.
We were greeted at the door by Xico. (Xico is a Catalan name…The “X” in Catalan is like a Ch + Sh mix). Xico is EXTREMELY enthusiastic about our US roots, and we instantly start talking. We go in and talk with the bartender and a few other people.
We explain that we’re here for 4 months and we’re trying to learn Spanish, etc., etc. The bartender then tells us that we’re not going to speak in any English for the rest of the night. (Normally we speak in Spanglish). He is awesome and corrects our Spanish when we mess up and explains normal ways to say things instead of the formal way we learn in class.
We end up on the topic of Salsa and we (Jacqueline and me and the two boys) talk about how we’re dying to learn. Xico declares he knows a Salsa club in the Gracia District. He wasn’t sure if it was open, but we decided to check it out. We leave the bar with our group of four, Xico, and one of Xico’s friends.
None of us actually believe we’re going to make it to a Salsa club. We get to this door of an unmarked building (it could have been an apartment), and I’m thinking, “Oh well, it looks closed.” Xico pushes the door open and boom, hello Salsa club.
I guess I need to explain Xico a little more. Everyone (including Xico) is confused about his sexual orientation.
Anyways, we end up dancing in the Salsa club for the rest of the night. It’s a tiny place (maybe 3o people total). Xico teaches us all to salsa, including our Texas friends who just go along with it and dance with him.
When the club closes, we all go outside. The owner insists everywhere needs to be quiet because we’re in a neighborhood, so there are people sleeping all around us. Everyone else listened and quietly left the salsa bar. The six of us didn’t really pay attention….at least not until we were covered in water.
When people are loud downstairs from your apartment, it’s normal practice to go out on your terrace with a bucket of water and throw it on the people below. They skip over the whole, “Hey, shut the fuck up” conversation.
I had absolutely no idea was happened, but after we ran away drenched, we finally figured it out. We say good-bye to Xico and his friend (promising to meet up with them again), and head back to the boys apartment to get our stuff before heading home.
The night ends with Jacqueline and Steve two-stepping to country in the boys’ apartment. They were awesome. John and I tried to show them up with our new salsa skills, but I’m pretty sure they out-shined us.
One of my favorite nights in Barcelona.