Herbalife has invaded Barcelona!

It is amazing to me that everyone smokes, everywhere there is smoke, the mom pushing her child down the street while it rides on the back of the stroller smokes, the server who is cleaning up the table to make it nicey-nice for new guests smokes, the couple next door to me who have now decided to switch up their karaoke renditions from Bon Jovi to Van Halen (with David Lee Roth) smoke, the guy who is riding his street bike all geared up for a race smokes, even the priests smoke.

2e384-smokingpriests

There is a huge sculpture of matches near the jail.  Maybe it is a sign of resolve to keep the tobacco industry alive and well here in Barcelona?  WTF else do you create a giant sculpture of matches and display it in the middle of a city? Ooooooorrrrrr – maybe they just really love The Doors!

37864-lightmyfire

Ironically, Herbalife chose Barcelona for its annual hoorah this year.  Mystery solved as to why all of the hotels were booked up and why I ended up in the Catholic jail in the first place.  Seeing as how they have over taken the city, to spread their message of health, proper nutrition and weight management, I think my stay here is over.  The Metro station agreed, as my subway pass had expired yesterday and I was SOL to get transport to the bus station this morning. You see I still had no euros to pay for a single pass, nor was there a money exchange open nearby, and the ticket machines all required me to input a PIN number when paying by Credit Card.  Normally, I would appreciate this added layer of security, since pick pockets and identity theft run rampant in Europe, but today I was in a state of panic.  After running around the Metro trying to find a way to get some euros, I was left with only an hour-and-a-half to make the bus to Marseille.

I BEGGED the attendant to let me pass and he finally relented since my pass had only expired a few hours before my departure. “But”, he cautioned, “if you get caught by security, then I know nothing, you agree?”  Hell yea I agree, I got your back dude!  So, he let me through and I arrived at the bus station a half-an-hour before my departure time.  I did my penance on the train by sitting across from a guy with ripped jeans, carrying a fanny pack around hi spare tire, and hawking loogies through his overgrown goatee.  His shirt with stains left on it from 1972, covered by a vest that could have passed as a life preserver screamed that he was a serial killer – or maybe it was the way he leered at the women in the lingerie catalog as he flipped through the pages?  I was relieved when he blew boogers into his hand and wiped them on his jeans though – he is no serial killer, I thought – it’s PAT!  Needless to say a 30 minute train ride with him and I feel like I need a shower and my karma has hopefully been renewed. (Since I got a scolding about the poster of the gay sex club, I will spare you the pic of the Subway Stalker.)

I arrived at a big ass train station at 12:30pm, with enough time to hopefully find a place to exchange for more euros there….nada!  First, I had to collect my bus ticket – which meant going to one counter to get the receipt showing I had bought the ticket online, then I had to wait at a different counter to receive the actual ticket, then another for my boarding pass, and finally one more to check my back pack – there seriously has to be someone following me around with a video camera and I am going to end up on MTV’s Jackass, I just know it.

So here I am, on a bus to Marseille with no euros and no effing clue where my hotel is that I booked, but I have 7 hours to figure it out before we arrive, buena suerte!

PS – last of the pics of Barcelona are up as well!

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