I was enjoying the peace and quiet afforded by the 14-bed dormitory that I was staying in, until the Infamous Five and the Novocastrians arrived. The five girls were from the UK and were fabulous and the two Aussie guys were from Newcastle. I was able to pass on all the Neighbours gossip that I picked up from the other Brits I met in Paris. And again, people thought I was an actor, Ben Unwin, from Home & Away… (These Brits are crazy!)
I call them the Infamous Five because if Enid Blyton were there, I’m sure she would have done the same. But to qualify for one of her stories, there needs to be mystery, intrigue and adventures.
So we decided to go check out a bar that one of the girls had read about in the ‘quirky’ section of their guide-book. After some serious amounts of walking, we arrived at the place to find a half open roller door leading down into a corridor. We called out a hello – no answer. Checking the number again, we decided to walk inside…
Now, if you have ever seen some of the Scooby-Doo series, or some classic horror schlock, then you’ll probably know exactly what I mean when I say the decor was ‘Haunted Freakshow Theme Park’. Passing giant painted sculptures, posters for freak shows, we entered through the darkened corridor. The music was on, the lights were dim and the place was empty! Half-expecting to meet a “Jason” or a “Freddy”, we sat down in the rather odd chain chairs that were hanging from the ceiling. It turns out, the owners were watching – you guessed it – football! So after a few minutes of trying to make the ‘vibe’ of the place work for us, we decided to head on back to town on foot and in defeat. Enid Blyton would have loved that bar if they served treacle, and so it came to pass that I dubbed the girls the Infamous Five.
Barcelona is famous for its Summer Olympics in 1992, Joan Miro’s enthralling artwork and of course Gaudi’s unique architecture. It’s quite something to visit the La Familia Sagrada, Gaudi’s Stone Cathedral, and see the work as it is progressing. It began in 1892 and will take around 200 years to build. Looking closely at his design, you wonder how he was able to come up with such complex patterns and structures without the aid of computers. But the astounding thing about Gaudi, is the number of buildings and designs that he came up with throughout his life. There is a local story that Gaudi was so impressed with his own work that one day he was run over and killed by a tram while gawking at his masterpiece.
And one for the weird file… There were three tornadoes in Barcelona in 24 hours. I managed to see one of them starting to form and the other two Aussie guys happened to get off their plane just as the other two formed behind them near the airport.
HOTEL HIJINX AND THE CASE OF THE DRUGGED SMUGGLER
It was my last night in the Caribic House hotel. My newfound Aussie travelling companion, Winston, and I had just gone to sleep only to be woken a few hours later by the neighbours who were clearly either watching the local porn channel or creating a movie of their own. Aside from the walls shuddering every few seconds and loud gasps there were also classic dialogue such as:
MAN: <loud slap> You like being my bitch don’t you?
WOMAN: <long pause followed by gasps> <sound of door slamming>
MAN: <screaming> Elllll-eeenn! I love you!
Things were strange enough until I was woken early the next morning with a knock at the front door. This weird guy asked me if I was going to Kingston that morning. After which I informed him he may have the wrong room. He revealed to me he was a security guard and the neighbouring apartment had had their camera and camcorder stolen and that we were under suspicion because our balconies are connected. He said he may have to come back and search.
I was like, “Whatever…”, and felt a little shifty about his demeanour as well as his story. Checking the lock on the door I went back to bed, only to be woken again by a telephone by someone asking for a “Damon”, who obviously wasn’t in our room. I suggested that he may be on his way to Kingston and hung up.
I managed to sleep a little more, woke up for a fourth time and went downstairs for a well-earned breakfast. I let the hotel reception know about the strange going-ons and they expressed total surprise especially about their new security employee. After breakfast I came back to find an investigator chatting with our two English neighbours, Yvonne and Marinella, about a robbery. He chatted with me on their balcony. As it turns out, the ‘security guard’ was probably the thief and after swapping a few details and descriptions I was allowed to return to my room.
Meanwhile, Yvonne was out the front door of her room talking to this guy who was acting a little strange. He says that he thinks I am military as I walk past and reminds us that he is not Muslim and doesn’t bomb people even though he should remove his beard. (???)
Later, the police arrive to talk with Yvonne and Marinella about their robbery. But the crazy guy isn’t sure why the police are there and starts talking. Naturally after hearing him talk for just a few minutes the police enter his room and search it. They end up taking him down to the station handcuffed with his suitcase as well so they can properly search it… apparently for the drugs that Yvonne says the crazy guy admitted to be smuggling.
CRAZY! But I highly recommend staying at Caribic House Hotel, if not for the air conditioner, at least for the experiences.