Saturday, October 3, 2009

Things I´m learning

I started my day with about 4 trips back and forth between a phone store and the apartment where I´m staying this morning. I bought a SIM card yesterday only to find out that my phone from home is, in fact, locked (and can´t be unlocked - I tried to have them unlock it for me). So I had to buy a new phone which is global and unlocked and can be used (hopefully) for the rest of my trip. But there were complications with unknown PIN numbers and the whole phone and instruction book being en Español. Eventually I got it figured out. Kind of.

Then I spent the rest of the day lost. Well, I was calling it "wandering," but let´s just call it what it is. :-) I had a destination in mind, Barrio Gótic and the Museo de Historia de la Cuidad. I have something to say about the museum, but first some bullets on things I´m learning about Barcelona and things I´m learning about myself.

About Barcelona:
- Streets are sidewalks; sidewalks are streets. People walk and drive wherever they want it seems. But it works for them, so I just always carefully watch where I´m going and pay attention to what I´m doing.
- Dogs aren´t often on leashes here. No idea why, but they stick close to their masters so I guess it doesn´t matter.
- Mohawks, dreads, and rattails are all still popular hairstyles. The rattails are weird, but I like seeing all the mohawks and dreads.
- A lot of people speak English, but just as many don´t. I´ve had conversations with a lot of non-English speakers. You´d be surprised, but it mostly works. A little bit of Spanish from me, a little bit of English from them and somehow the transaction takes place.

About myself in Barcelona:
- I´m a total sucker for interesting doorways and alleyways (but really they´re very narrow streets so I don´t know what they´re called). I´ve taken tons of pictures of both.
- I really love turning a corner, not knowing what I´m going to see, and being completely wowed. It´s an awesome feeling.
- I know more Spanish than I thought, but it´s still not enough. :-)
- Being lost isn´t all that bad and can be kind of interesting because you´ll run into things you weren´t expecting or wouldn´t have run into otherwise. . .my limit, though, is when I´m starving and all I want is to feel like I know where I am before I stop to eat. Grrr.

I mentioned the Museo de Historia de la Ciudad (City History Museum - had you guessed right?). I think it was ToadMama who asked me if there was really old stuff in Barcelona and I´m pretty sure I said that there´s older stuff than in Baltimore, but nothing really old. I could not have been more wrong. There are Roman ruins here and I had no idea. The museum was cool because on the floor you enter on, it was modern day Barcelona. Then you get onto the elevator, go down, and you come out in Barcino (Barcelona when it was ruled by Romans) in 5 BC. So, so cool. The whole museum above has been built over ruins and you walk along a metal grate or glass walkway through the actual ruins. I touched a wall built over 2000 years ago and when it occurred to me that that is what I was doing, I nearly cried. Really. It was way more emotional than I can describe, knowing that you are just on this planet for a blink of an eye. I wish I could have taken pictures, but it was forbidden.

Then I was lost for another hour and a half or so. I kept thinking I knew where I was going, but it turned out I wasn´t even going in the right direction. Over and over again. With the help of a map! I´d probably still be lost if I didn´t have the map.

I stopped for dinner which was really just tapas and ate some yummy food. I had the dos platos menú for €6.50 - ensalada verde (green salad), conejo en cazuela (rabbit in sauce), y una cerveza (beer, but I think everyone knows that one). I met a man named Juan who didn´t know a lick of English, but again, somehow we chatted for a bit and made it work. He bought me a beer just as he was leaving, so that was nice.

I went back to the apartment to see if my host was home and promptly fell asleep - was it the two beers, jet lag, or walking around all day that made me sleepy? Couldn´t tell you. My host, by the way, is very nice. He´s a Frenchman who´s lived in BCN for about a year and a half. He likes it a lot more than Madrid where he lived for 3 years. He´s been the perfect host - he made dinner for me last night, has gone above and beyond accomodating for me, gave me keys so I don´t have to work around his schedule, and has just been all around a cool guy. He also wants to travel the world, so we´ve had plenty to talk about.

Oh! Two random notes: 1) Spanish Scrabble right before I left ended up helping me more than I thought it would. One of the players used the word ´migas´ which I´d never heard before. It means crumbs. Today I passed a store called Buena Migas, Good Crumbs, and I only knew what it meant because of Scrabble. 2) I´m keeping a running list of ways I know I´m not in Baltimore anymore. There are already some interesting tidbits on there and I´ll share them at some point.

Gotta wrap it up, this has gotten kinda long, but first I need to send out an SOS for IT assistance. I brought my camera, the cord that connects it to the computer to upload pics, and a flash drive to save the pics to as backup. The problem, that I didn´t remember until just this second, is that my camera came with software for uploading pics. I have no idea what to do. I plugged the camera in, but without the software nothing happened. Is there any way around this?? I can´t possibly wait a year to show pictures. A year´s worth wouldn´t fit on my camera anyway. Anyone out there have any ideas?


  1. Try this:
    Once you have your camera plugged in, click Start>Control Panel>Scanners and Cameras>Add an Imaging Device.

    If it won't let you do that, then try Start>My Computer and see if the camera is listed there possibly under devices with removable storage. If it is, you should be able to open it like it's any other folder.


  2. I looked at your camera's manual. It doesn't look like you can get pics from the camera to a computer without software. But you can remove the card from your camera and use an SD Memory Card Reader (which you would have to buy, ~$10) or hope the computers at the cafes have SD Memory Card slots (my notebook does).

  3. I was going to say the same thing as ToadMama. I have one that I bought for about $6 so you should be able to get one pretty cheap. Hope it works because I really want to see some pictures!

  4. I figured it out and I don´t even want to say what the problem was because it´s too embarrassing. :-p However, the new problem is uploading pics to Picasa. Picasa is loaded on the public computers, but everything´s in Spanish and I´m not sure what I´m doing with it. I don´t want my pics to end up saved on a public machine. I tried to use the web version, but with that I can only upload one pic at a time - annoying and it would take forever. Thoughts? I might have to get my host to come with me to the cafe so that he can be my translator lol.

  5. Ahh. I should have remembered to tell you to turn the camera on first :-)

  6. I am not and will not admit that that was the problem. That´s my story and I´m sticking with it!