Posted by: martinworster | August 8, 2003

2. GOTHIC HORRORS AND MEDIEVAL MAYHEM

Marijuana on the roof, smelly neighbours, blood duels over seniorittas y hablo espanol muy mal.

 I’ve also been very lucky with my apartment. I’ve become very attached to it despite the fact that it’s a tad over priced. Basically it’s an attico on the sixth floor where there’s no lifts and only a very narrow winding type staircase. It’s been cool training for next seasons snowboarding but in the heat by the time I’ve ascended home I’m sweating like Barrymore at a pool party. It’s very characterful. On the second floor there’s lottery ticket vendor of around fifty who lives with his mum and I think they’re both deaf due to the TV decibels pumping out. Then on the fourth floor there’s the female hunchback with an odour problem. ie I’m convinced she doesn’t have a bath or if she does she doesn’t know how to use it. The rank stench has made me gag a few times, especially in the heat. If someone in the vicinity is making too much noise then you can ask them to be quiet or you call the noise police. What do you do if someone stinks?

There’s also a lovely roof terrace where the Catalan guy who lives on the first floor grows marijuana plants. If I still smoked it would be cool. Unfortunately I don’t as I turn into a paranoid wreck and start to melt whilst twitching uncontrollably. It’s very common to grow dope on Barceloneon roof tops apparently. On the floor below me lives Jorge, a Mexican architect and Frederick, a Swedish guy. They’ve both become friends. It’s like that here. Lots of different nationalities. In fact we had a party on the roof terrace a few weeks back and I think most nations on the planet were represented. We were going to do a Eurovision song contest game but the macho guy from Israel took offence when I told him he had to dress up as a woman a la Dana International.

The roof terrace looks out over Plaza Santa Maria Del Mar where there’s perhaps the finest example of a Gothic church in Barcelona (so the guidebook says). Just up is the Passeo Del Borne which is a tree lined walk with bars and restaurants. In Medieval times they used to joust here. Now they jostle over Capirinihas. That’s what I like about this barrio and a lot of Barcelona, you can really smell the history of the place. In medieval times there were blood duels over seniorittas, last century they were shooting each other with pistols in the civil war. This year history has gone full circle and there’s still blood duels over seniorittas.

So one of the main reasons for being here is to learn Spanish. Things are moving slowly. Half of me thinks I am a thicko lacking in linguistic ability. The other half thinks no one is fluent in two months. I’ve done six weeks at school on an intensive four hour a day course, in a class mostly of Italians. I remember the first day clearly. We had to introduce ourselves and talk about ourselves. ‘Hola’, I beamed as I thought I’d lead onto how hot the weather was. ‘Estoy muy caliente,’ I continued, thinking this meant it’s really hot when in fact I had just told the class how horny I felt. ‘Hi class, I’m Martin from England and I’m really horny!’ No wonder my classmates looked at me strangely from thence on.

One thing I’m very aware of is my confidence when speaking to locals. It’s low. I’m always reminded when I met Spanish people in London and they would talk and mess up everything. Wrong tenses, crap vocab. ‘Last weekend I am going to went to…’ type stuff which I realise now makes my attemps look anything but the King’s Spanish.

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