Bicycles for Barcelonians ONLY!
We got back to our hostel about about 4am this morning after going to a Salsa Club that Alicia's friend's host woman got us into for free (Hopefully that makes sense, haha) and after getting lost trying to find our hostel. We never did find our hostel, so we ended up taking a taxi back.
Since we were going to get up early that morning, I decided to take a shower at 4am. When I went to bed, my hair was still a bit wet and when I got up at about 8:30, I had bed head hair. I tried to gel my hair down, but it was still a bit weird. I didn't really care, so I just left it alone.
After that, we looked for a place for breakfast and we ended up eating at this one cafe that had these pretty neat napkin holders. I had a cup of super thick hot chocolate and a small plate of greasy churros. The churros were not bad, but the hot chocolate needed some getting used to.
We then left the cafe and did some more sight seeing. We went to Plaça Catalunya and then walked down La Rambla. We saw people getting ready for their day and several people getting dressed in costumes. I don't know what these costumed people are, but they were the most creatively dressed we've seen during our whole trip.
We walked to the end of the street and we saw the Mediterranean Sea and the Column of Christopher Columbus. There was a tourist booth nearby and Alicia wanted to ride the red bikes so that we could see more of Barcelona within our limited time in Spain. We went through this big search to find out how to rent the bikes, but the tourist booth people didn't seem to know what they were doing. They said to cross the street and go to the building opposite of the column so that we could obtain the required card to rent the bikes. We looked, but couldn't find where to the exact place was. Alicia asked people who were returning the bikes back to the stalls and they people said that the bikes were only for people who live in Barcelona. The tourist people should have told us that, but they did not know what they were doing.
After that, we met up with Alicia's friend again and we went to get some lunch. We had kebabs at this one Istanbul cafe and afterwards we went back to the hostel to pick up our stuff so that we could head back to Barcelona.
We walked blocks to the Barcelona Sants train station and when we got there I tried to pick up my tickets from the machines. But the machines weren't able to give me my tickets. I knew in the back of my head that I would come across some difficulty about obtaining my tickets since my train tickets were French and we were in Spain using a Spanish train station. In short, Alicia's friend helped me buy new tickets and I ended up having to cancel one of my original train tickets. (I still need to cancel the connecting train ticket.) I paid way too much money, but i was tired of being away from "home" and I was ready to do whatever it took to get a back.
We were at our platform and the train finally came. I walked into my "coche" or car and I found a girl sitting in my seat. She spoke to me in Spanish and said that somebody was sitting in her seat. I couldn't think of a Spanish answer quick enough so I responded to her in French. I saw her talking to some older people before getting on the train so I knew she spoke French.
Upon putting my duffle bag away and taking off my jacket, I instantly fell asleep. When I awoke I decided to read my book (Angels & Demons). I read for a while and the girl sitting next to me asked me in French if I could watch her stuff. She left and after about 30 mins or so, she came back and asked me if I could call her friend because she didn't have any more credit on her phone. I told her I only had about 1 ? left on mine so I told her I couldn't. She explained that I could call and then hang up after the first ring. I called and then hung up, but I before doing so I asked her how her friend would know it was her. Less then a minute later, her phone rang. She told her friend "bien joué" (well played) and they spoke.
She spoke to her friend for a while and afterwards she thanked me. We talked to each other for a while and we got to know each other. She asked me why I was in Barcelona and why I was heading to France. I told her I was studying in Bordeaux and that I was returning there after a week's vacation. I asked her what she was doing in Barcelona and she said that she was working on oceanography things and that she was heading back to Pérpignan to teach a class at her university. She said she was a first year Ph.D. student.
She told me I spoke French well quite a few times and I modestly told her that "oui un peu" (yes a little) and that I sometimes have difficulty expressing some ideas (or something of that effect). I told her I was from California and she then started speaking English with me. She said that her English was not that good, but then I later told her it was not bad since she was able to express all her ideas. I think what she was most worried about was her pronunciation. It was heavily accented. But I still told her that it was fine. I think she told me my French was good because I was able to pronounce everything rather well and not sound too American. I was happy and accepted the compliment.
When we arrived to her stop at Pérpignan, she told me her full name so that I could find her on Facebook. I was excited to finally make a French friend. She told me if I were in Paris or wherever that we could meet up with some of her other friends and we could hang out. Hopefully, we'll cross paths with each other some day.
We were one hour away from Bordeaux and I sat in the connecting train ride from Narbonne. I sat there in a contemplative and happy mood. I reflected and thought that I was so lucky to have gone on this trip. I thought to myself, being on this study abroad program is more than academics and learning from a text book. It's about living and learning about the world around you. It's about finding out what is out there and what the world has to offer. I am truly lucky.