I found myself hotting to death upon arriving Barcelona. Getting to hostel Sant Jordin Diagonal was easy. I didn't have a lot of time to settle in. A quick shower and I was out again, heading to Camp Nou to catch the much anticipated FC Barcelona vs AC Milan game. It was easy to just simply follow the crowd to an event like this so that's was what I did. After a slightly annoying snafu re: ticket window pickup, I was out there at the stadium with practically every major players i've wanted to see in my life that are not on germany team playing together in one sitting. It was unreal - the energy among the crowd. The 90+k Poole who were there. The singing, cheering, vuvuzela-ing. Europeans sure are passionate about football. Loved it. The score was 1:1. Amazing game. It ended at about 10pm. Unlike the crazy logistical madness of new meadowland stadium, I made it back to the hostel by 10:30. Back at the hostel people were congregating to head out to party. Apparently they organize this nightly so we don't end up making noise partying in the hostel. Interesting. Sant jordin hostel is famous for super intimate and friendly setting. They do live up to it. Despite my exhaustion and lack of food, I went out anyway. Didn't want to pass up the one opportunity to hang out and meet people. To no one's surprise, I got drunk rather fast and made a ton of friends :-D

Matt the fabulous is from Madison, Wisconsin. I have a feeling I made a lifer friend in Matt, thanks to his facebook addiction.

Coco is from Bolivia. His real name is Jorge but he would rather be permanently known as Coco (a la coco channel) - another fabulous.

Ashley and Tanya from Adelaide. A staple, really. It would be weird by now to not meet Australians while traveling. I always seem to get along best with Aussies for some reason. These girls were at tomatina earlier that day. They came via Dublin.

Yigit is a 20yr old Turk. Super fantastically cute. Kid was the most sober of all of us - the voice of reason, and the compass that guided our drunk asses home. He speaks fluent French and is studying international policies.

There were 10+ others also. The night was super fun. We went to a dive bar in some back alley first to get drunk on cheap cervesas, then onto a club for dancing. The club reminded me of LA - very nice. Coco wanted to take pictures every second of the night. Matt, Tanya, and I were dancing up a storm. Ashley ended up kissing Coco, who later went home 'early' with Matt. We ran into the Palestenians on the way back. They were obnoxious to the ladies. (I hear later that they took some chick's undies and flung it around the hostel that night). 4am - tank is empty. It was a long day.

I came back to life again at 10:00am. Yay to another beautiful summer day! People were already up and about. I took my time - reading, occasionally looking out the French balconette of my room down to the little park space along agenda diagonal. L'exemple - the neighborhood - is within walking distance to many modernism buildings. A stroll, some coffee and breakfast, and visits to Casa batlló and park güell looked like a good plan. Antonio Gaudi's work can be seen all over Barcelona. An architect who takes his artistry to the extreme end of imagination. The craftsmanship and meticulousness of his work is nothing short of mind-blowingly amazing. I don't think I have ever seen a better master of space, light, organic shapes and materials. Imagine if a dragon transforms into a house. That is casa Batlló. From the iridescent hand painted scale walls to the pure white carcass-shaped attic to the famous picturesque mosaic scale rooftop to air ducts and door knobs, every detail has a meaning, a functional purpose, an ergonomic finesse, a theme. Park güell had an equally magnificent feel - though it was hotter than hell and ridiculously crowded.

I sat in a small shady nook at park güell for a while. At one point 3 little kids came up to me, bearing rocks, twigs, and a tiny bunch of grass blades. They were probably around 5 yrs old - 2 boys and one girl. Very cute little halfies. Like the apes in space odyssey, they began crafting their weapons - using rocks to sharpen the end of little twigs. The grass was suppose to be imminent death needles. Hah. I played with them for a good 10 minutes before we part ways. Somewhere along the path of growing up we forget to imagine and to play like little children. We let bottom-lines, responsibilities, and expectations drive all our actions. We close ourselves off and build walls that protect us from being hurt. We get stuck in known unhappiness because we are too afraid to explore the unknown, too afraid to let go. We seek answers and explanations when sometime none is needed. We wish others would change for us when all we can really do, ever, is to change ourselves. We are perpetually afraid of growing old when we know all along how to grow young. To reach out to strangers in strange land and not start with a name or boiler-plate single serving conversation and just jump right in to "play" - that was what those kids remind to do. It was nice that this happened at such an imaginative and inspiring place.

The remaining time that followed was nice and low key. I met up with ashley, Tanya, and yigit for tapas. The Aussies were going back to Dublin that evening and yigit headed out after to meet friends. I went back to the hostel, hung out with bunk mate steffie from Austria, matt, and Constance - drank wine and chatted about nothing. I woke up the next morning, made eggs and jamon iberico, ran errands and head out to Ibiza.

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