Picking up where I left off last time: the night before last, Graham cola_fan and Alex oniugnip and I went out to a bar for the birthday party of a friend-of-a-friend of Graham. The bar was full of hipsters. We could have been in Portland, except that everyone there probably spoke three or four languages at a minimum. I didn't have the slightest idea how to order a screwdriver, so someone else ordered for me; later, I realized that I probably could have ordered one of the numerous mixed drinks that have Spanish names. We were out until two in the morning, and on the way home, we stopped at the xurrería for xurros, which I was familiar with from having had them thrust at me on sticks while walking around the Mission. I had never realized that they were from Spain, though. In Barcelona as in San Francisco, they're the ideal food for walking home after a night at a bar.
In the morning, we woke up promptly at nine -- Indiana time, that is. In Barcelona it was, in fact, three in the afternoon. All our pre-trip efforts to change phase had been for naught, it seemed. Luckily, Graham and Xana had slept late, too, and they weren't upset that we didn't get out of the apartment until late afternoon. We took the metro over to the race expo at the Plaça d'Espanya to pick up our marathon packets. It looked a lot like a race expo in the States does -- lots of sportswear vendors trying to capitalize on the fact that many thousands of runners are all briefly in one place. The packets included our official race shirts and numbers and timing chips, as well as the usual pile of "hey, come run our marathon, too!" advertisements just like they do in the States, except that this time the races being advertised were in places like Florence and Amsterdam.
After picking up our stuff, we stopped to look at the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, where the evening's light show was just starting. At first, I thought that Graham and Xana were just being silly when they called it the Magic Fountain, but no, the map we looked at really did say "Font Màgica". Xana dismissed it as "kitsch", but it's photogenic. Then again, so is everything and everyone here.
Back on the metro, we went to a different part of the city to go to a correfoc ("fire run") that Graham and Xana knew about. The trip involved a fair amount of changing trains and walking through tunnels. When we finally emerged from the subway, we walked along steeply winding streets toward the ever-louder sound of drums until we found the people playing them.
The drummers turned out to be at the beginning of a parade of dragons, including one with interesting anatomical features.
Then came a bunch of people dressed in dragon outfits and safety goggles and carrying pitchforks.
They lit fireworks in the street,
and then they danced. It was awesome.
When the smoke cleared, we headed back to the metro and took it to yet another neighborhood, where Graham and Xana led the way to a tapas place. A Chinese tapas place. That was also a hair salon. Yes. Some of the dishes ranked among the best Chinese food I remember ever having. We headed home a little before midnight, feeling full and satisfied.
(Stay tuned for installment number three: Marató Barcelona!)