Barred from Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain

We were supposed to go into Barcelona this morning but it didn`t happen. The strike went on and we basically anchored outside the harbour. Waiting. We waited with the 20 other cruiseships, cargoships and oceanliners for the better part of a day. Everyone was getting impatient but they did a good job of trying to keep us occupied (and fed).

We decided that we would get our exercise out of the way so we plugged away at the gym. They played the Fabulous Four on the big screen on the Lido deck so we grabbed some lunch and hunkered down. After the movie, we felt a little bloated from the second (or maybe the third) helping of dessert. So we did the only thing that one can do in this case…we went back to the gym right after the movie finished.

Finally they came to an agreement and the strike was lifted allowing boats into the port. We took our time getting off knowing that we had the whole night in Barcelona. We didn`t have to be back onboard until 5am so we planned to take in a bit of Barcelona nightlife. We strolled up La Rambla and it was crazy busy. I guess all the ships had come in and it showed by the packed tapa bars and souvenir shops. Everyone was trying to fill up on Barcelona as quickly as possible before their boat would set sail again.

I felt a little nostalgic (ok a bit more than a little) as I quietly remembered all my favorite places along this street. I pointed out where Kabul was and how we would have gone to the Falafel place if we would have been hungry. I showed them the fruit market and how artfully they had displayed their fruits, candies and nuts. Cort, Aaron and Sus were enchanted by the pedestrians paradise perfumed by the flower stands and entertained by the performers. We walked the length of it then sat down for a rest.

I told the others to go on as I sat for a few minutes by myself just taking it all in. I thought about all the things that had happened between then and now. I don`t know why but I felt a little sad. I am changing and growing but I miss the wonderment. I saw a street performer who was painted in all colors of the rainbow wearing featherly wings. He was sitting on a toadstool with a content smile on his sparkly face. I smiled wistfully and realized that the magic is still there…I just have to dig a little deeper…believe a little harder. It sure is helpful when I meet people who dare.

Some locals sat down beside me and offered me sweets. I chatted away surprising myself with how long I could go without getting stuck. My friends came back with some new additions and I introduced them to mine. They were all going off to drink sangria so I used this time to get some work done.

I holed myself for the next few hours and turned out some quality work. I was pretty happy with myself and feeling much better when I ran into my now very giddy friends. They had sampled a bit too much sangria and were now all red faced and giggly. We were given handfuls of flyers from club touts and decided we would check one out on the way back to the ship.

We chose one that was very close to the port and the others had another drink while I sat quietly. I feel I have somehow changed positions. Lately, I have gone from the participant to the observer. I really like it actually and the more I embrace it, the better it is. The only thing is that it takes a lot of guts because it means being different. But I guess I am very good at that by now. Although I understand the concept that different is not necessarily negative and many times very positive, it is a constant battle to remember that with all the pressure to conform. It takes quite a lot of energy to keep seeking my own truth, rather than buying the prepackaged ideas practically forced down my throat.

We zoomed home in a very fast cab and the Sus and I finally discovered the 24 hour pizza. It took us four days which I think was partially due to the overload of pizza we had in Italy. I remembered the mushroom and goat cheese flavor that I had enjoyed on cruises previous. A lot of things are pretty standard from ship to ship including the Celine Dion CD that they play constantly in the Lido deck. After we heard other passengers complaining to each other (Shut Up Celine they would mutter), we requested that the head server change it. We thought the Bulgarian server in our section would start crying from happiness.

“You have had it for a few days…imagine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5 months!” He moaned with almost physical pain.

We set our wakeup call so that we would be able to go to the Arts and Crafts in the morning. I teased Sus that I would understand if she wanted to go to the Friends of Bill W meeting instead. We laughed and joked around about the incident that came about earlier regarding our room stewards name Somporn. It hadn`t even hit us until we said it out loud and I wondered how common that name was in the Philippines.

“Excuse me sir…do you know where I can find Somporn?” I asked one of the other cabin stewards when we needed an extra pillow. Sus broke out in a fit of giggles and I realized what I had said. He is a really cool guy and always leaves us lots of orange flavored toothpaste, hair stuff, and Rolaids in the bathroom. Plus he makes us neat towel animals that we can never figure out. We think we had polar bears, sting rays and a lizard…but hey, what`s in a name anyway?

Today I am grateful for acceptance.

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