Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Oh the wonders of continuous travel for more than 25 hours. My day began with Brooke. Over sleeping her alarm and rushing out of our cuddlefest only 1 hr before her flight boarded! Yikes! But lakshmi and I woke up on time!! I got up earlier cause I was anxious. I thought itd be a good idea to get breakfast before we left, so I left a little before lakshmi and told her I would get her a magdelana (muffin) STARBUCKS WAS CLOSED AT 8 AM! Ludacris I know! Apparently they don’t open till 8:30 aka whenever they want cause the sign said 8 am. So I chilled in the lobby oogling Hillary’s secret service men until Lakshmi and I cabbed to the airport.

When we got to the airport Lakshmi and I were un pocotin slap-happy. Reality was setting in that we were separating so we were coping by denial and laughter. When we got to the terminals we decided to meet back up for breakfast after we checked in because we weren’t ready to say goodbye (haha literally live in the same town in the US lol) Except our plan failed when I got to the delta line and it was backed up for miles. I stepped up to the like at 9:10 and was checked in by 10:15 (flight at 11_. Yeah, it sucked. So Lakshmi stopped by while I was in line, and we said our goodbyes.

After I checked in I was kinda rushing to security, I knew I had time but I was a little worried. My boarding time was 10:20….So I got thro one security line, only to be stopped by another. Once thro that one I was at the gates. Not bad. I hadn’t had breakfast, and I was about to board a 7 hour flight to JFK. I grabbed a bocadillo (sandwhich) and an orange juice at the first café I saw. I threw the orange juice into my purse (big mistake…still regretting that one) As I am walking, I feel wetness on my leg. Yup the lid wasn’t on and my delicious pulpy oj was all over. I snatched my passport and boarding pass, and rushed to the bathroom to literally throw the contents of my purse in the sink and rinse everything. Problem solved. I ran to my gate.. ooops another security line. At least when I finally got to the gate, I just waltzed onto the plane.

The rest of my day was rather uneventful. Unless you count my purse reeking of acidic oj mixing with black leather and my final flight getting delayed a few hours. Honestly I was so tired and confused I don’t even remember the rest of the day. Well at 2 am home sweet home I was…..and there I stayed. For a day or two that is….

My last day in spain….A long uneventful and sad day

In the morning, Lakshmi, Ally, and I got up showered, stole breakfast, and called a cab to take us to the airport (Lakshmi wasn’t about to drag her maimed luggage on the train)

I think I was almost near depression on the ride. I really didn’t want to leave Spain, and for some reason it was hitting me right then when we were leaving Barcelona. Ally was on a later flight, but she waited in line with Lakshmi and me while we attempted to check in. We were exactly standard 2 hours early for our flight (we thought we were better than that….1 hr was enough NOT!) The line for our airline was outrageous! We stood there until we had 45 min for flight time, then we split up and covered all the lines. I even attempted to use the rush check-in. Apparently you have to be 30 min from departure to be considered rush…

Somehow we got checked in…30 min to get to the gate, we got this. Lakshmi and I hugged ally and took off running to security. Oh security. The lines weren’t super long, but Spain just really isn’t as efficient as the USA. When we finally get to the front, we throw our stuff in bins and wait to pass thro the X rays. I look behind me, and I see lakshmi letting some Middle Eastern women in front of her! What the heck! We have 20 min! Well then the women turns to me, “you did not respect the cue, I am first, let me pass.” Then she and her son proceeded to take their sweet time putting their items one by one into a million bins. Apparently the one time Spanish people respect lines is in the security line at airports (ayayay!)

Needless to say, we arrived at our gate just in time for the first zone to board. We even had time to sit for like 5 min! When we finally got on the airplane, we crashed, hard. One hour later and we were in Madrid!

Ally’s flight was just a little later than ours, so lakshmi and I decided to wait for her in the airport. By a little later, we mean like 3 hours. Hahaha we didn’t realize it was thaaat much later, but luckily we found an internet kiosk. The lady that was using it before us put in waaaay too much money so we had 2 hours worth of internet that we didn’t have to pay for!

When we finally met Ally, we cabbed to her parents hotel. This was the first time I remembered that leaving spain, although sad, meant I was going to see my friends and family again! That got me a little anxious to go home. Which was good because prior to now I had just been dreading it. Ally’s parent’s hotel was extremely nice, and apparently free! Her dad travels a lot for work. When we got to the room, first thing we had to do was rip off Ally’s cast and throw her into the walking boot her mother so kindly wore all day on the plane. One stinky foot later, we were starving. It was her family’s first time in Spain, and I was kinda amazed at all the things the three of us were telling them about life in Spain. I didn’t even realize the things that I had picked up.

We ate traditionally and it was delicious. Paella de pollo, followed by café con leche after the meal. After supper we walked back to the hotel, and met up with Brooke and two of her friends that she did the camino de Santiago with for her last week (they are both from spain and knew ally through church, brooke had gotten really close to them over the last week) I should mention that when we got to the hotel their was a lot of people outside, we had to squeeze it out of one of the workers, but he finally told us Hillary Clinton was in Madrid, and staying at our hotel that night! Crazy! So all of us girls went out for one last drink in Spain. Oh yeah! Ally’s younger sister Rachel was there! I love her. She’s very different from Ally, but they are best friends since I feel like I knew ally forever I felt the same about Rachel. That night we had a little slumber party. We pushed the two full beds together so that Rachel, Ally, Brooke, Lakshmi, and I could all sleep together and no one had to sleep on the floor……a great way to spend the last night in Spain!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day #3 in Barcelona: BEACH!!!!!! (magic hair makes a comeback)

Alrighty, so I suppose I should begin this day with the 7 am train ride home. Absolute success! After so many fails we finally did it right. We got some crazy looks from the people commuting to work, but you'll have that lol.

So we get off the train and crutch to our hotel, just in time for breakfast!!! Oh the wonders of cereal. This was a really great night. Lakshmi, Ally, and I got pretty close, and we could have kept talking through the next day I think. At 8 am we forced ourselves to lay down and crash.

Our plan was to wake up around 1 get on the train and get to the beach! but....somehow we got behind schedule. We woke up a little later than 2, then we showered and "putzed" (as lakshmi always calls it). So we didn't get to Barcelona until about 4:30 pm. Considering our last meal was breakfast at 7 am, we were starving. We attempted to go to the indian/vegetarian place again, but it was closed. So we splurged for some paella at a nice restaurant across the street.

By the time we finished there, it was about 6 pm. Perfect time for the beach right??? haha we decided to jump in a cab, but naturally we got a little distracted. There is a really famous market in Barcelona that sells fruit, veggies, candy, and other yummy stuff. We just so happened to stumble upon it while we were walking to get a cab. It was slightly overwhelming tho. There were tons of people, and although the fruit looked amazing, we didn't get anything. So slight detour over, we get in a cab to the beach.

Oh the beach was glorious. I really don't have to say much about it because we were at a beach! What do you think we did? layed in the sun? got in the water? talked about the night before? duh! Although one funny story that came out of our beach adventure was the return of my magic hair. Lakshmi refers to it as my weapon lol. In the rest of spain, I more or less stood out, but in Barcelona there are a ton of tourists and people from other countries so I am less of a rarity. BUT...on beaches in barcelona, blonde hair will still get you free lounge chairs for you and your friend in a cast!

After the beach, we FINALLY made it to the indian/vegetarian place for dinner. I liked it a lot. It was fun having lakshmi there so I knew what I was getting into. Even though it's not "her kinda indian," she was still better off than I was. Of course today, we were smart enough to bring a change of clothes/makeup in our bags with us. We took turns changing out of our swimsuits in the bathroom of the restaurant, with minimal stares from the other diners.

We had kinda planned on making our last night in Barcelona a crazy one, but we were too tired when it came down to it. We splurged on a cab home (actually only 20 euro, so less than we expected).

Oh so sad, I never wanted to leave Barcelona.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day #2 in Barcelona: GO CAR GLORY

Ok so after having such a ridiculously hard day yesterday, day #2 in Barcelona was bound to be much better.

We took our time getting up. Holiday inn=American=continental breakfast! yay!! Of course, we had to smuggle food up for our illegal guest ally, but it went fairly smooth all in all. By the time the three of us showered and ate it was lunch time. We figured we would be frugal and go to the grocery store to grab a snackish lunch. Peanuts, water, and fruit was about the best we could do. So we got on the train with that. (this time lakshmi and I knew what we were doing, and got to barcelona fail-free.)

The renfe (train) took us right to las ramblas, which was awesome because now we would know how to get home! So off the train, we realized we had no plans. We snapped a picture (this cute old lady took it for us) then we picked a direction to walk. But ally umm...cant walk. So literally two steps in we see this little yellow car parked. It's called a GO CAR. A talking car that YOU DRIVE around the city. It tells you where to go and also a little info about the sights you are seeing (there were lil brochures in the back that we stole). PERFECT. We hopped in a cab and gave him directions to the place.

The go car place was in a lil sketch back alley just off las ramblas...literally just off the cab cost like 3 euro. But oh well. We bought the car. I was the only one brave enough to drive in barcelona, but I didn't have my driver's license (because I figured it was useless in spain....i thought wrong). So Ally and I just worked around it by trading wallets. We look similar enough. The place is pretty cool actually. It's all international kids that work there. The girl checking us out was australian and later we met one from ireland and one from romania. I am pretty sure I heard a US accent too!

The down fall of these cars is that they are a two seater. Lakshmi was a little hesitant to get in, so we decided to let ally go first, then pick up lakshmi later. Ally and I fell in love. We loved our lil talking car...until it broke. We were enjoying all the sights, when our lil person just stopped talking. aka we are riding solo in barcelona sin GPS! Thank goodness i have the sense of direction of magellan. I got us back to the office (this is when we met the romanian and irish "lad") they fixed us, and off we went. Not for long tho, she died again. We did this little cycle a few times...but made some friends on the way. When it finally worked, I picked up lakshmi and had a wonderfully simple tour of barcelona. I was so sad to get out!!

From that starting point, we decided today was a success. Next stop...FOOD. Why not test our luck and find the indian-vegetarian restaurant? Of course the day couldn't be that perfect. We found the place just fine (after talking a cab driver into driving us 2 blocks), but naturally the place was closed. Stupid hours. it was closed from 2 till 8 or something like that. So we went to Que Pasta?? which is a play on words because que pasa means what's happening, but this was like a noodles and co. You pick the pasta and sauce type of deal. It was um...not good. We each got the same pasta, big mistake cause we all hated it, but we ate it cause we were hungry.

While dining in the tiny hallway that is Que Pasta, we decided we were pulling an all nighter tonight. aka we were gonna need new clothes. A light bulb went off in our heads (i guess it was prolly my idea...i was pushing for a funny story), lets just buy new outfits and ditch what we are wearing!! So we did. We scrambled around H&M for an hr or so, before it closed, and literally got head to toe outfits (i even had to get a bra cause i didnt have one before! TMI...sorry) Anywho while in H&M our italian friends called us, so after we met them, and decided to hang out in a bar until discoteca time.

We went to a lil pub, found a big table upstairs, and just sat around and talked for a few hours. It was really fun actually. When 1 am hit, the bar was closing (this is a first in my spanish close before 7 am what!) We decided to head to the bathroom and get changed (note pics on facebook lol) and the italians went back to their hostel. At 2 am, we met back at the bar and went to a discoteca.

Let's just keep in mind that its 2 am on a Wednesday in Barcelona. You would think a lot of people would be out right? Haha it was dead. But we managed to have fun and make it till the 6 am train (i thought it was 5 am earlier but it was 5:59..ooops)

I shall leave the rest of the morning for tomorrows post.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day #1 in Barcelona: LET THE FAILS BEGIN

Alrighty, lemme just tell you all a lil something about lakshmi kantamneni and hannah simonson. We have a little bit of trouble en la ciudad de barcelona. hehe.

To begin our glorious journey to the city, Lakshmi and I began our day at 4:55 a.m. We had our luggage so the only alternative was to take a taxi to the airport. 24 euros ($37) later, we arrived at the airport. I would classify the expensive taxi as fail numero uno! The next fail began in the security line. Checking in went smoothly, but I had to go through security twice. I left water in my water bottle!!! I got clear through the line, then they made me take my water bottle to the bathroom dump it out then walk through again. Fail Number Dos! We arrived at the gate though in plenty of time, and had a relatively wonderful flight to Barcelona. Aka we passed out for an hour. I dont remember take off...landing woke me up.

Arrival in Barcelona airport was great! It's a little busier, but fun. We went to baggage claim, and then realized we need to figure out how to get to our hotel. The intelligent women that we are, we called! Fail number three comes when I call and say "hello do you speak english or spanish?" The lady hung up on me. Lakshmi calls and says "Hola, hablas ingles or español?" "English." says the receptionist. Apparently, they hate me. So anywho, the lady advises us to take a cab....then proceeds to say it'll be about 30-40 euro!!! NO THANKS! we go with the train option. We are beginning to realize that Victor may have known what he was talking about.

We bus and walk and walk some more, and then we are finally at the renfe station (renfe is like amtrack, not metro, because we are leaving the city for our hotel.) Yup, our fears our true. The lady at the renfe window takes one look at our hotel confirmation and says "you know this isnt actually in barcelona." =FAIL #4!!!!!

Oh well the train out there was only 1.80 euro so we went with it. This next part is my favorite part of the day. To get to Molins de Rei, we had to get off the train at a stop midway and connect to a new train. So Lakshmi and I exhausted and carrying 50 lb suitcases, attempted to navigate a train station. At this point I'm so exhausted and pissed and slap happy that even McDonald's sounded delicious. Anywho, we finally get to the correct platform, and have a seat on the ground (not really sure if that is socially acceptable in spain but i didnt care) So as we are sitting there some lil hoodlums come up. They are all less than 80 lbs, wearing skinny jeans, carrying skateboards (no judgment), and I give them about 12 years old max. They start giving lakshmi and I shit! All I can think is seriously? do we look like we are your age? is this flirting? is this harrassment of foreigners? idk but needless to say, one of them ends up jumping on lakshmi's suitcase! literally he was making baby noises and he just sits on her luggage! it was so funny because lakshmi and I are too exhausted and confused to react, so we just let it happen...good thing a train came quick and the boys got on. But of course they knew some clever hand gestures to make from the train window. I believe they also mooned us, but lakshmi and I were laughing so hard we couldn't even look.

Once our train came we got on, and made it safely to our stop. This story I still can't even tell people without laughing. We were standing at the corner of the road, contemplating how to get to our hotel (imagine that), when an old man walked up and gave us directions. We didn't even have to ask! He advised us to walk...just four blocks. We were on the home stretch, so we went at it, dragging our suitcases behind us. HAHA literally dragging!! I'm not going to lie, I was a little concerned for lakshmi's health. She was dying as we were walking. I could hear her struggling the whole time, but I was tired and impatient so I ignored her. I will forever remember lakshmi's face when we finally got to the lobby of our hotel, and she wipes sweat off her forehead, then simply looks down and says, "oh, that was hard. I lost a wheel apparently." hahahaha she maimed her suitcase. FAIL #5

Alright so you can imagine what lakshmi and I did when we hit our hotel room. NAP! Well actually I couldnt sleep, so I went grocery shopping and showered and such. We awoke a few hours later to go get our lovely ally bear from the airport. Oh FAIL #6 about to begin. As we walk up to the train station to go back to barcelona (this time much more successful without our bags), there are a bunch of people outside waiting for a bus. When we get inside, the guy at the ticket window informs us that a lady died on the tracks at a stop close to ours, so the trains are shut down/moving slower! ayayay!!! We still buy our tickets (we dont have any other choice), and head to the platform. There is a train on the way we wanted, and tons of people. But its not moving! We sat on it for awhile, having no idea what we are doing, when another train pulls up. Literally everyone makes a mad dash for it. So when in Spain do what the spanish do right!?!? So we dashed for the other train. went the wrong direction. But what do we do? oh just stay on the train until the last stop (approximately 30 min in the wrong direction).   So long story, we get off the train, we get back on, we get back off, some lady helps us, and we head to barcelona. 50 min later we make it to the airport and meet ally!

We had our hearts set on the hard rock cafe in downtown barcelona for our first night's meal. After we grabbed ally, we got on a bus and made it there lickety-split! Our first unfail of the day as far as transportation goes. It was super easy to find the Hard Rock, the wait wasn't too long, and although it was overpriced, the food was good. I hope this isn't incriminating, but I am going to admit to something illegal here. We each ordered water with our food. We are getting used to paying for water at restaurants, so we couldnt complain. However this bottled water was a little fishy. A. they gave us each the same bottle with different amounts of water B. they were already opened when we got them C. it tasted like tap water D. they removed our glass bottles from the table before we finished our meal. Dontcha think they refilled the glass bottles with tap water and then charged us for them???? i think so! So when we got our check, we payed, for everything...minus the water. We sent ally (crutches girl) ahead to give her a head start, then lakshmi and I dined, paid, and dashed!! (much classier than dining and dashing because we had a cause to stand up for)

After our criminal mischief, we took a stroll down Las Ramblas, the famous shopping/tourist street in barcelona. We got pulled into a tourist bar for young people early in the night, but it was sorta silly and there were a lot of young people there. Drinks were also very expensive, so we called it an early night and headed home on the 11:30 train. Naturally that was a FAIL #7 idk how we made it home to be honest (that makes it sound like we were drunk but thats not what i mean I just mean that i was so tired and lost idk what happened). Thank goodness we speak spanish and can ask for directions.


Holy I need to catch up. Good thing I took notes on my life while I didn't have internet! Lets begin where I left off with my last day in the blistering heat of Sevilla.

Alrighty, after the wonderful flamenco experience the night before, Lakshmipoo and I were a little sleepy. We had planned on meeting Jessie and Keely at 9 am, but....that didn't happen. (don't judge us it's so hot we really can't enjoy ourselves until after 6 pm). So we finally rolled out of bed and showered midday. I can't remember what we did for lunch or anything...oops. We did however walk around Seville. Oh yes and there was a plan to go to a swimming pool, but that never happened because we were a little creeped out by the locals who invited us. As we speak, my photos are being uploaded to facebook, and I am thinking I will organize them onto my blog so you know which pics go with which story.

So after lakshmi and I did some sight seeing and napped (again no judgement the heat wipes you out!), we decided to go out for some tapas before we met Keely and Jessie for flamenco. We went to a cute lil place, spoke some spanish, and ate like spaniards at 9 pm. It was fun!

We met at the cathedral. Jessie and Keely brought a few girls they had met at their hostal. One was from San Diego State studying all semester in Saragosa. The other was 26, broke up with her boyfriend, quit her job, and decided to travel until she ran out of money (AWESOME!!). So we went to a neighborhood known for night life, and attempted to find flamenco. All we found was tapas and tiny bars. It was a week night so not much was going on. The neighborhood was gorgeous, and right by the river so it was worth the walk.

Lakshmi and I headed home at about 1. I was hungie and we had to get up at 5 the next day for our flight to that's a whole other story.....

Monday, June 27, 2011


Last night was so awesome. We went to an underground little flamenco bar, and it was seriously one of my favorite cultural experiences thus far.

First, we met up with keely and Jessie. They brought with them a girl named kat. She was staying at their hostel. She was great tho! We all were hungry xo we decided to get a nice dinner. I'm trying to forget how much I paid. It was un poco expensive hehe. But it was so delicious. We went to an adorable Italian resturant. I was in the mood for veggies so I got a salad with strawberries, warm goat cheese, walnuts, and balsamic. It was unbelievably good. The cheese was amazing. Lakshmi and I de decided to go big and we split a chocolate souffle for dessert. OMG.

After dinner we wandered around the tiny streets looking for this flamenco bar Jessie had heard about. Map quest herself led us around. It was so hilarious when we found the place I have no idea how we got there! Anywho it was this kinda hole in the wall bar. I felt like I was in a cow barn almost. It was insanely hot, there where huge fans, and misters on the ceiling. We got there at about 1030 and the show was set to start at 11. Of course it didn't start till later but whatever hehe.

Ok they don't teach you in class how freaking intense flamenco is. We learned about how it isnt really a dance you can learn, and how you have to feel the pain of the gypsies in order to have the passion to dance like them. But wow.

So quick history lesson, flamenco started in Seville or somewhere near it. It originated with the gypsies, but what influenced by the arabs and the Jews. Gypsies are a group of people here that, similar to the jews, don't relly have a homeland. historians say they came from India. They were the lowest class in the caste system, so the fled. From then on they have been nomads. They are kinda natorious for sticking in a clan and stealing hehe.

So to make a long interesting story fit in my blog, I'll just sum it up as flamenco is a lot different than most people think. Its spontaneous and passionate. At the bar, there were two men one with the guitarra (he sang) and the other played a drumish thing (honestly to me he was sitting on a barrel and hitting it). There was one women dancing, but also she is part of the music because she pounds her heels and claps a lot. It was amazing I took a few videos. You'll see.

Today we haven't done much. Just explored. Broke down and got star bucks...oops. Now we are napping in the room. Well Lakshmi is napping, I am watching one tree hill. Tonight we are going to a different flamenco place I believe. Then, it's off to Barcelona at 7am tomorrow!