Day 20: American Overload

by Eli Hodapp

Last night at about a quarter to midnight I wandered on down to Ryan’s Irish Pub to watch the Super Bowl. Getting there seemed simple enough, and really only involved wandering down one main street, turning left on another, and walking up  Carrer Paradis. The problem was actually locating Carrer Paradis, as labeling streets in Barcelona seems entirely optional. I walked around like an idiot holding my iPhone out like some sort of mystical dowsing rod hoping that it’d point me in the right direction.

The problem with this is that the iPhone 3GS GPS was never that great to begin with, and the firmware trickery you need to do to get it to take a Spanish SIM card only seemed to make it worse. So, you need to figure out where you are more based on street intersections on Google Maps. This requires you knowing which streets you’re actually on though, which sort of circles around to the original problem of seriously poor street labeling here.

I finally found Carrer Paradis, which is not something that anyone would ever describe as a street. Calling it an alley would be generous. I actually had avoided it because it looked so creepy, and unlit, with a single hooded figure hanging out at the very end of it under a dim and flickering bare light bulb. I eventually figured that he was either going to murder me, or point me in the right direction. So, without further delay, I wandered down this alley. Turns out this was Ryan’s bouncer, who actually was quite friendly, and not at all murderous.

The best way to describe Ryan’s would be utilizing the “Smooth Criminal” scene from Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, which is this hour and a half long “movie” from 1988 that basically just strings together twenty or so Michael Jackson music videos with vague plot points and Joe Pesci. I’ll do my best to sum it up.

For whatever reason, Joe Pesci (who is a “drug-dealing warlock”) and his henchmen decide that they need to blow up Michael Jackson’s house with about a few hundred dudes all equipped with machine guns. The three homeless children who the movie also follow witness the whole thing, and somehow utilizing a lucky star he spotted overhead Michael evades the destruction of his mansion. Joe Pesci dispatches his dogs to chase after him, at which point Jackson transforms into a sports car and drives away.

Somehow, the kids all catch up to him again, where he turns back into human form, and wanders down a few dark alleys. Michael then comes across an unmarked door, and confidently opens it to be bathed in light. (I like to think of this being me, bathed with American football and freedom.) Inside, everyone stops and looks at him, he flicks a coin into a jukebox, and the party starts.

This is Ryan’s Irish Pub:

The main difference is I don’t think I had any street urchins following me, but you never know, the Barcelona equivalent would probably consist of a rose seller, a €1,00 beer guy, and a pickpocket. I’m pretty sure they were all following me, at least.

Ryan’s was fun, I only stayed for the first half of the game because I’ve adjusted to Barcelona time a little too well and found myself way too tired by around 2:30 AM when the half time show started. I definitely got my fill of Americans, and it was pretty funny seeing the clash between people who were there just because the pub was open until 5:00 AM and they could get that much more drunk, and ultra-touristy Americans who were taking the Super Bowl way too seriously. I met a few nice people, but mostly was just reminded of how little I like stereotypical over the top American football fans.

I made it home without issue, and fell asleep to the second half of the game streamed on my computer. My VPN service came in handy yet again, and I was actually pretty surprised by just how well the NBC stream worked. Of course, I really don’t care about football, but as an American you sort of have to watch it.

Just like last Monday, I’m really excited for work today. It’s both a good thing and a bad thing that weekends for me in Barcelona feel very, very long. I don’t have any big plans for the day aside from catching up on TouchArcade stuff and assembling an itinerary of cool things to do for the rest of the week. I did some more looking into the Museu de Carrosses Fúnebres I mentioned a few days ago, and it sounds like actually getting into it is going to be quite tricky. Naturally, this only makes me want to go more.

Other things I’m looking into include checking out the bar at the top of the W, a place I’ve heard is pretty awesome, and going to see a soccer game. Also, as an aside, I recently found out something interesting. The beach that I’ve taken a few photos of didn’t even exist before the 1992 olympics. It’s entirely man-made, which explains a lot. There’s this five foot drop-off between the “beach” sand and the water which looks really unnatural.

Oh, and I think I’m going to start buying wine from the actual wine shop instead of the corner store.