And bang goes another fortnight of the semester in which I was crippled once more by laptop problems and unable to blog my little heart out, but I am going to use every one of the brain cells which alcohol has not yet killed to try and piece together a kind of highlights package.
The farthest back I can remember is last Wednesday when, after literally month of trying, we won the pub quiz at the Irish pub – although what was meant to be a quiet night was loudened when we were told that the prize (a beer and a shot each and a bottle of ‘Moet’ champagne) was non-transferable and so we had to drink it right there. Fitting preparation for St Patrick’s day; the same Irish pub held a party with live folk music (although they repeatedly ignored my request to play some ‘Thin Lizzy’) and free Guinness-sponsored leprechaun hats which enforced the American tradition where everybody had to dress in Green and if not they were to be punished by pinching (although I feel like the smell of my only green, unwashed t-shirt was just about worse as a punishment).
On Friday I upped sticks for the first time in a while for a trip to Barcelona and a reunion with some of my friends from Albi. My journey was as smooth as any plane journey on my year abroad so far, although I arrived at the hostel before the rest of my party and as a result was not allowed into our room for three hours until they showed up. I spent this time in the common room of the hostel which provided a sneak preview of the make-up of Barcelona as a city; one Spanish guy and forty foreign tourists speaking English; it really is an international city in which the languages, in order of priority are Catalan, English and then Spanish so I would not envy anyone who had to sit exams in Spanish after spending a year there. It took me one conversation with the bar man before I gave up any hope of using much conversational Spanish that weekend and I spent the rest of the time crushing some Swedish school kids at poker (using my in depth knowledge of the films ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ – whenever I got a bad hand I just puched the guy across from me in the face and ran away) until we were rudely interrupted by their teacher who I think (although my Swedish is rusty) sent everyone in the room to bed including myself.
My friends eventually arrived at half three in the morning and we grabbed a few hours of precious shut-eye before heading off down Las Ramblas on Saturday morning. There really is not a street quite like it in Britain; walking from one end to the other is like a fun game the objectives of which are looking at the weird assortment of crap being peddled to tourists (one highlight being a slightly twisted stand which sold live birds and rubber-chicken chew toys for them to play with – kind of like the pet equivalent of these blow-up sex dolls), trying not to be molested by the street performers whose acts tend to involve painting themselves some sinister, metallic colour, wearing a mask and using a little whistle to screech at everyone who walks within ten feet of them and, finally, being wary of the infamous pickpockets of Barcelona (a dream come true for anyone who every wanted to shove ‘the Artful Dodger’s’ hat down his stupid throat) although thankfully they were conspicuous only by their absence.
After an unsuccessful search for cable cars between the harbour and the hills around it (which we saw with our own eyes even though apparently they do not exist: the only possible conclusion is that we saw a Tardis). We stopped for lunch; and disaster struck. How foolish it was of me, after my display of reckless anarchy in Andorra, to return to a Catalan sandwich shop so soon. Clearly outraged at my radical rejection of their principals, the Andorran government conspired with their Catalan neighbours and, knowing that unlike Peter Parker and his gay wee heart, my one weakness is my stomach, decided to poison my Iberian ham baguette. The ruthless Andorrans even caught an innocent bystander in their relentless quest to bring me down (although Molly would probably have eaten that sandwich even had she known how toxic it was), which meant that two of the five in our group were consigned to sick bay instead of going out on Saturday night.
Having survived this cowardly assassination attempt we went to ‘Parc Guell’ on Sunday, which is entirely designed by Gaudi (apparently for one of his also-not-gay friends. Aye.) It is a hugely impressive piece of work and although Gaudi was clearly some kind of warped genius, I think we should all spare a thought for the poor BLOODY builders who actually had to execute his insane vision.
We finished the weekend with a decent paella for dinner just to show those damn Andorrans that they can prize my appetite from my cold dead metaphorical stomach.
Which brings me to the end of week six. I’m literally going to write next week’s now.