Diaries Magazine

Welcome to Barcelona, Have a Nice Stay!

By Pearlmacek

It was supposed to be a nice getaway where we could relax and celebrate our birthdays. Barcelona is just a two hour flight from Paris and for me it was the most romantic city on earth, not Paris. I wanted to show B this city that I had fallen in love with a couple of years ago hoping that he too would leave Barcelona after a four day jaunt with amorous feelings towards the city.

So we arrive in Barcelona at 9:30 in the morning. Neither of us had been sleeping well that fateful week; both B and I had been working nights and we were all out of whack with our sleeping routine. So we hadn’t really slept that much the night before- maybe two hours or so- and we were looking forward to arriving at the hotel early enough to take a nap before going out to explore the city…..

We decided to take the train into Barcelona. I had taken the train last time I was there and it had only taken 20 minutes to get into the town center. Easy. There was also an bus available but we opted for the train thinking that we would get to town much faster.

…..an hour and a half later we are still waiting on the train. It is having technical difficulties and here lies the great difference between Parisians and Spaniards in general, everyone is waiting patiently for the train to leave the station. Finally the conductor’s voice comes through the speakers announcing that there is no chance of the problem being fixed anytime soon so we might as well get off and try our luck with another mode of transport. Barney looks like he wants to get back on the plane and fly back to Paris. I look at him and tell him “Welcome to Spain!”.

We finally get to Barcelona by bus. We get to the hotel and everything is great, the people are nice and the room is clean but now it’s twelve so we decided to forgo the nap and head out and see the city.

We head to the market first where all sorts of different foods are being sold- from nuts to pig intestines to lobster. The colors are beautiful and I remember why I love Spain. We then go to a tapas bar nearby and naturally, order 6 different tapa dishes. The food isn’t that great but then again I am coming from Paris so I tell myself to stop being so picky and enjoy the experience.

We go back to the hotel and take a shower, change and head out again at around 7. I tell Barney that we will surely find hundreds of places with good food but we discover that most of the menus are the same: greasy paella and tortilla. What happened to all the good Spanish food I remember?

Surprise surprise, we end up at an Irish pub for a drink. Its funny when you’re with an Irishman, it’s ingrained in them the ability to find the nearest pub. A bubbly Estonian girl is working behind the bar and she serves us our drinks and a bowl of traditional Barcelona peanuts which were salt encrusted on the outside. I somehow managed to gobble them all down before Barney has a chance to have one. I was about to learn what the repercussions are for gluttony. You have to love a good old Roman Catholic country!

So we leave the bar, in search of a decent restaurant and I suddenly don’t feel that well. “Bad combination: beer and peanuts”, I say to myself but why would one beer and a bowl of peanuts make me feel that bad? I put it down to the fatigue.

We end up eating pasta boxes at a Que Pasta! since there is nothing that really pops up and all we want is a quick meal, go to bed and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go the next morning……I eat very little of my pasta box….I’m really not feeling well now.

I leave Barney downstairs. I tell him I am really not feeling well and that I might have to throw up. He goes across the road to get a bottle of water and orange juice. I go upstairs and I feel it coming. It comes and I know that this is food poisoning. I knew it was food poisoning by the force with which my body tries to eject all liquid and peanut material out of my body.

…..so I throw up and that’s it. I feel better. Barney comes in and I tell him about my situation. “I think I am going to be OK.”, I tell him…….but I am not OK…….not at all.

All night I feel like I am dying. I keep saying to myself “Ok, if I throw up one more time, I am going to the hospital”. Every time I take a sip of water, a fountain spews forth. At around 4 in the morning there is nothing left….even the bile has run out and it’s some grayish liquid of unknown origin.

And it’s not just vomit, oh no, my body is excreting whatever has caused this by whatever means possible. Thank god there was a bidet in the room because it allowed me to sit on the toilet and vomit at the same time. Poor B is literally right on the other side of the door, in bed, listening to what must have sounded like an exorcism taking place…..I think to myself that if he still loves me after this, well, we’re going to be alright.

By mid morning of the next day I feel a little bit better. The vomiting has stopped, the other excretions are still active but under control. I just feel weak. And it’s Barney’s birthday. “Happy Birthday!”, I sheepishly croak but I can’t get out of bed at all. I feel miserable for having ruined B’s birthday. He is gracious about it. Buys me fans for my fan collection but I can’t venture too far from the bathroom.

At dinnertime I decide it is time to venture out. It is B’s birthday after all. Hotel restaurant here I come! I manage to get down to the restaurant and order a bowl of soup, a glass of wine but I can’t do either. “Barney, I’m so sorry. I know its your birthday but I have to go.” and I go back up to the room. I feel horrible about feeling horrible but now I haven’t eaten anything in 30 hours and my body is telling me there is still a ways to go before I am worthy of having an appetite again…..those damn peanuts! I curse you!

So Barney comes up after his solitary meal and we both fall into a somewhat blissful sleep (I am still getting shot in the stomach with metaphorical harpoons but I am so tired that I can sleep).

……We are asleep for an hour and then I wake up. I go to the bathroom for the umpteenth time. I go back to bed. I realize what I have done………I am horrified….I have had an accident…..a little one but enough to be completely and utterly horrified about. I feel like an incontinent 90 year old…..I wait five minutes….should I wake up Barney? I mean, it is pretty close to where he is sleeping and after all I have put him through, that just wouldn’t be nice. Then I realize that I have no other choice. I can’t go to sleep. I can’t just put a towel over it and pretend that nothing happened.

I start to cry. I have reached the lowest point. How do I tell Barney that I just shat the bed? There is no way really. There is no life manual out there about how to deal with situations like this.

“Barney, I need you to do something for me. Please just go into the bathroom and stay in there!” a very confused and concerned Barney is woken by my muffled crying…..”What is everything all right?”, he asks but I beg for him to just go into the bathroom and not to ask questions. He understands.

So I change the bed and then all of a sudden it starts again…not for me this time but for Barney. Those same demons are now inside Barney and the only way to be rid of them is to get cosy with the sewage system of Barcelona!

The next day we are both weak and taking turns in the bathroom. The TV is on loud to try and drown out the noises but the evidence looms in the air thanks to the pungent odors coming out of the bathroom

Welcome to Barcelona, have a nice stay!
.

Around midday we venture out into the daylight. The room needs to be cleaned after all and I don’t want to see the faces of those poor cleaning ladies.

We venture up to Sagrada Familia but we can’t quite take in the beauty of it since we are constantly on the look out for the nearest toilet.

When we get back to the hotel. The room is clean, the sheet are clean but we have only been given two rolls of toilet paper so Barney has to go out and steal some from their carts. Mission not so impossible but still not the mission that one wants to be on.

For the rest of our time in Barcelona we progressively get better. A somewhat cheap holiday since we didn’t eat anything. The cleaning ladies seemed to forgive us after that one, horrible day and started leaving five rolls of toilet paper. Lets just say it wasn’t exactly what we had in mind for a relaxing trip away from Paris, but it sure was cleansing.

We are back to our normal eating habits again. I am certainly savoring my food more and appreciate the simple pleasure of a full stomach and a normal digestive system…….

….I will be laying off the peanuts for some time though


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