Thursday, September 21, 2006

Honeymoon in Europe - Part IV

Need to catch up?
Honeymoon in Europe - Part I
Honeymoon in Europe - Part II
Honeymoon in Europe - Part III

Barcelona, SPAIN - 9:34am

After leaving the lobby of the Hilton, for fear of me throttling the nearest hotel employee, we took a walk to the rather large sized shopping mall across the street.

We’re thinking, maybe a little breakfast and some coffee might perk me up a bit. Sounds good, right?

This is when we learned that Spain is not like the US. Other than the fact their first language is not English (So far.). The malls and stores there don’t open until 10am. Even the McDonald’s. What, no McMuffin before ten? Get the hell outta here.

Now, the actual mall building was open, but the stores had their gates down, all except one fantastically OPEN coffee joint. It had tables out in front, where a few patrons sipped espresso from those little tiny cups, and pored over their morning papers. YES!

We quickly ordered two coffees and a croissant (I spelled that right on the first try. I’m amazed.). Yep, the first thing we ate in Spain was a French pastry. Sad, ain’t it?

The ‘coffee’ as we ordered it, was, in fact, espresso. In those little tiny cups. I gulped the fucker down like it was Jägermeister (Had to look that one up.)

Still nothing in the way of perking up, so we walked – well, she walked, I stumbled - through the mall, until we came across a familiar sight. Starbucks. Yes, the gigantic coffee conglomerate is international, and while I know I’m feeding the beast of commercialism, I needed a regular cup of coffee, stat. I sucked that coffee back like it was ambrosia, willing my senses to clear. And, nothing. That morning, I think I could’ve been slapped with a Mack truck and still been sleepy.

I pulled a total touristy thing with the Starbucks clerk, though. They did not have ‘coffee’ listed on their menu. I saw ‘espresso’ again. I said “Hola, hello,” and asked the clerk if he spoke English (he did), and then I told him, quite slowly and deliberately, “All I want is some regular coffee. Just a regular cup of coffee.” God, what a jerk. And as soon as I said it, I knew I was. So, I put a tip in the tip jar. Not exactly getting the hang of the Euro yet, I think I tipped him 4 American bucks. Which was more than the coffee. Makes me feel a little better about the whole thing.

On a side note, I quickly found myself using “Hola, hello,” to start a conversation with the locals. To me, I was telling the natives (still sounds weird), I respect your language, but god help me, I can’t speak it. It seemed to go over pretty well, and I recommend it. For the most part, just about everyone we spoke with, save the cab drivers, spoke English pretty well (Hm, just like home.). I doubt you’ll run into that everywhere, but to anyone who keeps nixing the idea of a trip to Spain, and Europe for that matter, because of the language, don’t. You’ll be fine. Not everyone’s out to get you, unlike a lot of the vacation horror stories you hear.

You know what, I’ll end this chapter on that inspiring note. Because it all goes downhill from here… ok, not all. But most.

Hugs and Handjobs,

-JQ

www.thewaitstaff.com

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