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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Drench first, ask question later


Gotta say, the English have awesome come back lines. To illustrate, I’ll relate the following anecdote:

A friend mine is visiting from New York, and last Saturday night we were walking through the Gotic neighborhood. No, this isn’t a place where guys hang out wearing black dresses and have runny mascara and severe cases of ennui. It’s just one of the various names for the most central neighborhood in Barcelona (other names are: Casc Antic, Barrio Gotico, Ciutat Vella). It’s easily the most emblematic of Barcelona’s neighborhoods, with its twisting alleys, limned by multicolored garments hanging from balconies. Everything from Paco Lucia to Punjabi MC wafts through the soundscape, not to mention an impressive mish mash of languages.

It was about 3 in the morning and we were walking through the labyrinthine alleys of the Gotic: milky green light washed over stone alleyways that reeked of piss, random smatterings of people around every corner. My friend and I were excited to see each other (and slightly buzzed), so I guess we were talking a little louder than we should have been. Up ahead, coming towards us, was a group of English guys that were really trashed - staggering and laughing and totally oblivious.

So we were walking towards each other, and when we were about 20 feet apart this huge cascade of water came down right at the point where we were about to meet. A bucket full, to be exact. Had whoever it was who dumped it waited just a couple more seconds they would have drenched all of us. We all stopped and looked up into the darkness beyond the glow of the street lamps. We could barely see a silhouette watching us from a balcony four-stories up. Our alcohol impaired powers of deduction eventually figured out what just had happened: irritating tourists , angry tenant, bucket full of rag water … there really is only one choice.

Moments later we walked off in our separate directions and one of the English guys yelled up to the silhouette, “you missed!” Couldn’t have been better timed or in better form.

Just another episode in the annals of Guirilandia. The illustrious residents of the Gotic are fed up with drunk tourists, and have taken it upon themselves to mojar la fiesta (literally drench the party). My fellow yankee and I were lucky to escape this time.

I’m just pissed I didn’t think of that come back first.

***

Sometimes even I forget that this is not just Guirilandia, but a city where actual people live. I live in the center too, and just last night our drunken Swedish neighbors started pounding djembas. I have to work in the morning, and I have to say those arrhythmic Viking beats weren’t exactly sleep conducive.