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Diary

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Spain travel diary, part 3

August 7, 2003
The Iranian

7pm
"No hay mas tickets hacia Madrid hoy, pero si quieres, puedes regresar una hora antes de que el tren departe para ver si hay ticketes que han sido reservadas pero no recojidas. Gracias."

This time, instead of going back into Barcelona, we decided to stay at the train station and rest. Hopefully by 9pm we'd know if we could get on the 11pm train or not.

I don't know what it's like where you come from but I am not used to the amount Europeans smoke in public areas. Everyone lights up all over the place and Barcelona Train Station is no exception to this. A thick low lying haze of exhaled cigarette smoke hung in the air. After being in there for a few hours, my eyes were itchy and I had lost any craving to ever smoke again... ever!

9pm
"No hay mas tickets hacia Madrid hoy, pero si quieres, puedes regresar una hora antes de que el tren departe para ver si hay ticketes que han sido reservadas pero no recojidas. Gracias."

10pm
"No hay mas tickets hacia Madrid hoy, pero si quieres, puedes regresar una hora antes de que el tren departe para ver si hay ticketes que han sido reservadas pero no recojidas. Gracias."

"It's an hour before the LAST train leaves."

"Sorry, no seats yet, come back in 15 minutes."

10:15pm
"No seats."

10:30pm
"No seats."

10:45pm
"There are no seats to Madrid tonight. You must come back tomorrow at 6am and maybe you get seats."

Let me tell you something about Spain. They have weird rules. For instance, we were unable to buy a ticket for the 7am train. We had to go an hour before it was departing and buy it then. No reservations, no bookings, no paying in advance for a guaranteed seat.

With our backpacks on, we ran (ok maybe it was more like shuffled Hunch Back of Notre Dame style through the smoke) to the bus station, which was in the same complex only to find that we were too late to get a bus ticket.

"Hay otra estacion de autobus sobre la calle varias millas mas , si corres, talvez podas alcanzar el mismo autobus de ellos." (There's another bus station a few miles down the road, if you run, you might be able to get on their buses.

There was no way in this world, Safa and I were going to run anywhere... let alone a few miles. The backpacks were getting heavier by the minute and I felt as though I needed to lie on the ground to be able to get any air that wasn't nicotine infested yet scared that if I actually did, I wouldn't be able to get up since my backpack now weighed at least 60 kgs (or felt it).

With arms waving around in the air in an attempt to gesture to this young man that we desperately needed to get to Madrid tonight because we had a hostel booked and paid for and nothing in Barcelona, he just giggled and said "Parate en la calle, fijate si alguien va para Madrid, y metete al carro con ellos." With the help of another person we came to work out that it meant, "Stand on the road and see if anyone is driving to Madrid, and get in the car with them."

It was close to midnight in Barcelona. We had left Tel Aviv 19 hours earlier (and not slept for many hours before we actually left) and had not eaten at all in that time. With red shoulders, well on their way to beautiful purple and yellow bruises, we sat on a bench in the middle of some random street and took out our Lonely Planet's guide to Barcelona (seriously... don't leave home without one).

"No tenemos Vacancias" = We have no vacancies
"Les cuesta 170 Euros Cada uno" = It's a 170 Euros each
"Les cuesta 90 Euros Cada uno" = It's 90 Euros each
"No tenemos Vacancias" = We have no vacancies
"No tenemos Vacancias" = We have no vacancies
"No tenemos Vacancias" = We have no vacancies
"No tenemos Vacancias" = We have no vacancies
"No tenemos Vacancias" = We have no vacancies
"Les cuesta 70 Euros" = It's 70 Euros

Closer to 1:30am, we checked into the 70 Euros place and showered. The feeling that one has when they take such a large weight off their shoulders and lies down, is one that I would sacrifice my left arm for (and in fact nearly did... the backpack from hell had started cutting off the circulation to my body parts). And so we come to the end of day one.

(to be continued)

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