As it was a month ago, Clara and I are once again separated by an ocean. Because of some mis-planning and bad calender abilities, we ended up having different return flights to Canada, with Clara leaving this morning and Melody and I flying out tomorrow morning.
In order to make Clara’s flight, we got up early today and hit the breakfast room. Unfortunately, I was still absolutely stuffed from the feast last night (which was fan-friggin-tastic) and couldn’t possibly eat another bite yet. After Melody and Clara’s bellies caught up to mine, it was off to catch the bus to the airport.
It should be noted that while today was my second last day in Barcelona, it was actually a day of many firsts. To begin, this morning was the first time a bus driver forced us to put on the seatbelt required by wheelchair-users on the bus. For those who haven’t seen this process, it is different than in North America in that the wheelchair is positioned backward with an extremely tight belt wrapped around your chest to tether you and the chair to a steel frame behind you. I’m not exactly sure how this is safer, especially because the belt is around me and not the chair, meaning the force of a 350lbs of wheelchair being tossed by an accident would be placed squarely on my ribcage: something tells me it wouldn’t hold.
Anyway, we made it to the airport without any problems and saw Clara off. It was sad seeing her go, once again, and not be going with her. Being the suck that I am, I already miss her even though she’s only been gone about 12 hours.
So that leads us to today–complete aimlessness without our master of ceremonies, tour guide and translator. Without her, Melody and I were a bit of a mess today. Upon returning from the airport, I decided I wanted to have another go at the aggressive salesman at the sports shop in La Rambla in the hopes of acquiring a cheap Spain football jersey. I was totally geared up with a whole strategy on how to weasel the guy out of 30 euro, only to find a totally tame (read: lame) sales staff who would barely look at me let alone threaten to murder my family if I didn’t buy something. Where’s the fun in that??
Unsuccessful, we decided to head back to the hotel and attempt to make plans for the day. Instead, we ended up falling asleep. This wouldn’t be the first time “…wanna just sleep?” would be suggested as a “plan.” Melody and I basically just loafed around the hotel all day, trying to eat all the left over food and drink the left over wine from last night. Suffice to say, this was a terrific way to just drift in and out of sleep for most of the day, living like slobs until about 4pm when we decided to venture out for real food.
This is when we would have two more firsts occur. The first was when Melody left her wallet at the Snack Bar we love so much, but luckily the owner chased us down 3 blocks away, yelling at us to come back in Spanish before we finally realized he meant us. He was the cutest old man and joked around about the whole thing. Looks like that extra tip we left today really paid off. We found it quite funny that we could go 13 days without being mugged, robbed, stabbed or otherwise hurt and we were almost foiled by the ol’ “leave the wallet on the table” trick. Classic.
The second first was several blocks later when I heard something fall off my chair that sounded like money. We looked around but couldn’t see any change on the ground, so figuring it was just a piece of metal or something I ran over, we kept going. It was when we returned to the hotel that I discovered my seatbelt had fallen off my chair. Yep, the screw that was holding the belt to the chair had somehow come undone and fallen into the street. I can honestly say in 27 years, I have never ever broken my seatbelt. I can also say this kind of ruined our plans to venture out of the hotel after, as I didn’t feel secure enough to get on the bus and we weren’t feeling bold enough to venture out and find some sort of rope or duct tape to secure me to the chair.
Instead, we decided to just stick around the hotel, slowly pack our things up and take care of any unfinished food and drink. Oh…and sleep.
If the belt hadn’t broken, our plan was to just get drunk on wine and go play bingo at the bingo hall next door. Clara, we’re lost without you!
The last note-worthy event of the day was our last stop at the Catalanista cafe down the street for one last coffee. Our favourite barrista, the old Catalanista who owns the joint and has “perfect english” was there and we managed to order food and drink in english with limited trouble. He also tried to teach us some Catalan, but teaching me Catalan is kind of like beating a dead horse with a bag of dead horse. The barrista has been so good and kind to us I wanted to give him a little thank you, so before we left and had said our goodbyes through some interpretive dance (how to do you signify “flying away on an airplane to Canada tomorrow??”), I ripped the Canadian flag off my travel bag and gave it to him, telling him that if I was leaving with a piece of Catalonia I wanted him to have a little piece of Canada as a thank you. He was extremely thankful, told me to come back soon, and said he would mail me some cafe if I got desperate in the interim. The next time I come to Barcelona, his little cafe will be the first place we visit me thinks.
So that is the trip, more or less, with one big hurdle standing between me and Canada. The flight is going to take over 8 hours, followed by a 2 hour drive down the 401. The 8 hours should give Air Canada ample opportunity to destroy my chair…I’m half expecting them to bring me a lawn chair with 3 lawn-mower wheels duct taped to it and claim it’s the chair. Speaking of smashed chairs, Greg if you are reading this, you own me $5.
Oh well, this time tomorrow I’ll be back in London, sucking at staying awake, but Clara and I will be back with 1 more blog posts recount our adventures with the airline industry and a very special “What We’ve Learned” recap of our favourite moments, lessons learned, and words of warning sometime early next week.
See you hep cats on the flip side,