Day 30: In Serious Need of a Haircut

by Eli Hodapp

As of today, I’ve been living in Europe for a month. Needless to say, it’s been an incredible experience so far, but I’ve got more pressing matters to deal with. Namely, I really need a hair cut. My hair is starting to reach the point where the battle between my hair’s length and my hair product’s ability to make it look how I want is starting to shift towards my hair winning and my hair product losing. Something must be done.

This poses an interesting problem though. While I certainly speak enough Spanish now to conduct myself in a reasonable manner at restaurants, bars, and things like that, I am not at all confident in my abilities to negotiate a haircut in Spanish. Like, not at all. Thankfully, it turns out there’s a English-speaking barbershop in Born, which is only a good twenty minute walk from our place.

Better yet, their slogan is “Don’t let  your Spanish come between you and your hair!” Perfect, right? So I set out to walk over there, found it without much issue, and was met by a guy who could be best described as a Trainspotting-era Ewan McGregor. He also spoke with a very thick Irish accent, which I could barely understand. It turns out they don’t do walk ins, so I made an appointment for tomorrow at 2:00.

After that, I figured I’d wander around Born for a bit, to see what I come across. I found a really nice looking Irish pub, and thought it’d be a good idea to dip in there to talk to some Irish people to see if I could wrap my head around their crazy accent before diving quite literally head first into this haircut tomorrow. I seriously don’t know what it is about the proper Irish types in Barcelona, but I cannot understand anything they say to me. I know they’re speaking English, but my brain is entirely incapable of deciphering what they’re saying on any level.

If barbershop Ewan McGregor was bad, the bartender of this pub was on a whole different level of unintelligible. Somehow I understand Spanish people speaking Spanish better than I do Irish people speaking English. Regardless, I ordered a pint of Guinness easy enough. Guinness is strangely expensive here, basically the equivalent of $10.00 for a pint, which is nearly double what you’d pay back in the Chicago area at an “expensive” bar.

But, whatever. One thing about drinking Guinness at a real Irish pub here is that their pours of Guinness border on art. They’ve got entirely different taps here, and the beer just slowly dribbles out, taking nearly an entire minute (maybe even longer) to fill the pint glass. This results in a glass of Guinness that seriously looks exactly like it does on a Guinness commercial. It even seems to taste better.

Unfortunately, the pub didn’t serve any food, or at least that’s what I think they said to me. I drank my beer and wandered around some more, until I found a restaurant that had a menu of the day that sounded good. I ended up getting a bottle of Estrella Damm, some of the freshest calamari I’ve ever had, more seafood paella than I could even finish, and some gelato for less than I paid for the pint of Guinness. The lunch deals here are crazy.

Oh, and yesterday I was mentioning that you can always spot tourists by the ones who aren’t ordering off the menu of the day? Yeah. Today I sat next to a couple who were also at this incredible seafood place, which again, offers more fresh amazing food than you can eat for €7,00. The guy orders a plate of spaghetti and the woman he’s with orders whatever the Spanish equivalent is of a cobb salad after getting surprisingly indignant that they didn’t specifically have a “cobb salad” on their menu.

Watching all this transpire makes me realize how far I’ve come in regards to being great at traveling places and trying new things. The first time I got my passport and hopped on a jet to Paris, I was these horrible people. My first meal in France was McDonalds. How embarrassing is that? That was only a few years ago, too.

Even though I’ve got along exceedingly well here in Spain with my poor Spanish, communication difficulties have really motivated me to get out and do all sorts of stuff when I get back to the USA and can actually speak to people in English again. I love it here, but it’s going to be so nice to just be able to do things easily again once I get back home.