Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

At about ten thirty last night, we sat out to find somewhere to eat our grapes and rink champagne. We walked for nearly the full hour and a half prior to New Years before settling on a location. It is important to note that I have a rule with Rana when I am traveling with her. She must wear impractical walking shoes when we have a lot of walking to do so that I can keep up with her. It was my mistake to wear high-heals while she wore ballet-flats last night.

New Years in Spain is in many ways just like the US. A lot of people gather near a large clock or church bells and drink until they are silly. At each stroke of midnight, you are to put a (pitted and pealed) grape in your mouth. By the time the twelfth chime rings out, you are supposed to have eaten all twelve grapes. It is challenging, I admit.

After the grapes, we drank champagne and wandered the streets. Throughout the streets of Barcelona it is never hard to find a small puddle among the stone pavers that make up the streets, despite the fact that it has not rained recently. We passed by a good dozen men relieving themselves directly onto the street, with practically no regard for passers by. A word to the wise, avoid stepping in puddles in Spain.

An hour or so after midnight is when the bars really got hopping last night. We found an bar near the square to have another drink. An Irish woman, clearly inebriated, tried to sit on the same stool as O. We returned to Bullocks and enjoyed their loud rock music with a little dancing. After a drink there we were on our way back to the hotel when we stopped to help a French woman find her way to the Rambla. A bar fight was breaking out just in front of us, which we very nearly became a part of. We hurried around the scene and on toward the other street.

 As we reached the door to our building, we spotted another quirky bar and decided to take a look. On our way in, one man was coming out. He stopped suddenly by me and kissed the top of my head, mumbling "Feliz Ano Nuevo!" Inside there were posters and memorabilia from the 1980's. We sat down with our drinks when a man asked Rana to dance. After they danced we finished our drinks, did a little people watching and politics discussing. Then, as we were on our way out, the man whom Rana had danced with was outside. He told O that he wanted Rana, and O replied that she was his wife. The man said okay, then hugged O, kissed Rana on the cheek, and came towards me. I expected a kiss on the cheek, but nearly received a kiss full on the lips. Always be leery of drunken strangers at bars. O convinced him to leave us alone as we went into our building, closing the self locking door behind us.

This was the most exciting new years experience I've ever had. Most years I do not even stay up for the midnight bells.

Later today I will tell you about the Twelve Days of Christmas in Spain with pictures from the Spanish-style nativity scene.

Feliz Ano Nuevo!

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