Day 19: Solo Super Bowl Sunday

by Eli Hodapp

Despite my best efforts, I can’t find anyone who is even remotely interested in watching the Super Bowl. Really, I can’t blame my Spanish friends. It starts at midnight, runs until something like 4:00 AM, and the only places that are staying open are Irish pubs, which everyone seems to universally despise. It’s also going to be swarming with Americans.

I’ll be going to Ryan’s “traditional Irish pub” which awesomely enough is only a fifteen minute walk from where I’m staying. That’s important, as for whatever weird reason the subway here stops running at midnight. Taxis seem to be everywhere immediately after the subway shuts down, but I’ve got no idea how I’d get home otherwise as if I were a taxi driver I’d be sleeping at 4:00 AM on a Monday, not cruising the streets of Barcelona for wayward Americans.

I’m taking it easy today, mostly because I’m going to be out all night but partially because it’s really cold and rainy again. Barcelona rain seems exceptionally miserable. I could just be unlucky, or experiencing the worst of it, but the rain here comes down in these very misty tiny particles that just seem to blow everywhere. In typical rain, I’d just flip my hood up and solider on, but this sort of rain blows in your face regardless of which way you’re facing which only seems to amplify the wind chill. I can do cold, but cold and wet?

Most of my planned destinations are closed on Sundays also, so it’s not like this is preventing me from doing much anyway.

Thankfully, this awesome little produce stand I shop at most days seems to almost never close, so I made a rockin’ fruit salad for lunch. I could really get used to walking a few hundred feet to spend the equivalent of less than $2.00 for more fresh fruit than I can even eat in one sitting. Otherwise, I’ve been killing time today playing Minecraft. My friends put up a collaborative server so we can all play survival mode together, and I’m sort of blown away by how much fun it is.

Minecraft’s creative mode never really held my interest very long since it was just endless virtual Legos. Survival mode, however, particularly when played with other people gives Minecraft a massive amount of purpose. I’ve owned Minecraft since before it blew up in popularity in the early betas, but had spent maybe a cumulative total of an hour playing it. Throw a bunch of guys together, and add zombies, and suddenly it becomes a different game.

I finally got in touch with my Mom at about 4:00 in the afternoon Spain time, and it sounds like my Dad is doing substantially better in the hospital. The doctors think he had a second bowel obstruction that they were able to get flushed out, and it sounds like it’s not really clear if this is a new issue or the original problem from last week was just never fully rectified. I guess once you start doing better they just boot you out of the hospital instead of doing any additional testing.

I pressured my Mom into telling the doctor today that they’d really like to do a second CT scan to verify that the issue is actually cleared up this time. My Mom told me that the doctors have apparently explained that “these things just happen?” It seems sort of crazy to me that my Dad can be going to the emergency room twice over the span of a week with the same problem and the best explanation they can give anyone is “these things just happen.” But, maybe they do just happen.

What they are willing to do is send a nurse over to my Grandparents’ condo to visit my Dad and make sure he’s doing alright. It doesn’t sound like the schedule for these visits has been worked out yet, or when they’re going to let him out of the hospital, but any additional care seems like a good thing. It seems he’s out of the woods yet again and there’s no urgency for me to cancel any plans and rush home.

Last night I looked up flights to go back home, just to be prepared in case I needed to fly back to help my family and made an interesting discovery. If I book a one way flight from Barcelona to Chicago, even with a silly amount of layovers in between, it costs in the neighborhood of $2,500.00 to $3,000.00. Now, if I book a round trip ticket to fly back to Chicago then return to Barcelona at some point in the future, tickets drop to the neighborhood of $450.00. Even if I fly tomorrow.

I’ve got no idea how that makes any sense. Once I figured this out, I started looking at future flights just for fun, and pricing stays consistent with one way tickets while round trip tickets only get cheaper. I can understand a small premium for one way flights, since a round trip more or less guarantees a butt in two plane seats, but six times as expensive? That’s just crazy.

I’m really looking forward to the Super Bowl tonight. The venue sounds like it couldn’t be better, and despite running into people of all sorts of nationalities here, I’m not sure I’ve talked to a single full-blooded freedom loving American.

So, that will be fun.