Catastrophic Barcelona holiday

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
When your holiday goes wrong. Seriously wrong.

Submitted: August 13, 2014

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Submitted: August 13, 2014

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Going on holiday is the best, or only, time for me to sit down and read a book. So like the day before I went away for 3 days I grabbed a thin book from library first published in 1766, a comedy about the continues misfortunes falling on a family. What I didn't know was when I was away the girls who rented my spare room had the most catastrophic holiday they ever had.

 

I always sublet my flat when I need to go away, to have someone to feed my cat and keep her company. So when 2 French girls from Paris with a dog asked me about the room, I asked if they can take care of my cat when I go away, they said no problem. The girls arrived on Sunday with 2 huge suitcases (& they were quite small). The dog, Charlie was curious about my cat. But as he didn't jump, my cat just sat on the sofa unmoved and ignored him. The girls and the dog went to the beach, doing normal touristy things. Everything seemed fine. I left home to go camping at the French-Catalan Pyrenees just across the border on Wednesday.

 

Thursday noon I was walking in the mountain. I almost caught a cold the night before and I was thinking if I could catch a bus to go back to the campsite instead of walking the whole 12km (very flat though). Then I got a call from a French no. It was the French girls. My first reaction was did my cat die?? No of cause not. What they told me was more appalling-- One of the girl got her bag stolen at the beach (which happened A LOT) with the keys in it, and they “had to” break the lock of the flat. I was like “WHAT DA FUCK???”. They said they didn't have my phone no. Well it was my fault I didn't say explicitly: “ my no. is xxxxxx-----call me if you have an emergency.” But my no. is the first thing on the Airbnb page, apparently they found it 10 hours after breaking the lock, if not they couldn't call me. It was absolutely unnecessary to break the lock because since I locked myself out of the flat last year I hid a bunch of spare keys outside the flat. Anyway what was done was done. While I was mourning for my poor lock (which was used for less than 1 year) I called the locksmith I knew. The girls said they have enough money to pay. He showed up pretty soon (thank god he was not on holiday) and the lock was replaced.

 

I thought that was the end of the lock incident and the girls could carry on with their holiday and me with mine. Saturday afternoon I arrived home with a pair of sore shoulders and a completely wet tent (from the thunderstorm the night before). There were bits of dog food everywhere on the staircase, it seemed someone broke a bag of dog food. The girls were gone with their belongings & the dog. Their room was full of sand (that's what would happened if you go to the beach with a dog). The fan was on. Some lights were on. The freezer door was not completely closed. The kitchen sink was a mess. More sand in the bathroom sink. Most importantly my cat was alive and well.

 

I thought the girls must have “escaped” back to Paris, when I received a sms from them saying they were coming back later to stay for the night. They came back exhausted and told me what they were up to:

 

After the theft & the lock incident they were so scared that Friday they didn't go anywhere. The credit cards were in the bag that was stolen and all they had left were about 400 euros, which they almost spent all on breaking and replacing the lock (…) Their plan was to stay in Barcelona for 2 weeks, however they only had the first week accommodation booked and they didn't have the return tickets

To be honest 400 euros was very little cash for 2 people in Barcelona for 2 weeks. Finding a last minute accommodation with a dog would be extremely difficult. Not booking a return ticket in August in advance was plain foolish. Of cause I didn't tell them any of that, I left this responsibility to their mums. (Sudden change of subject: many years ago when there were not so many ham store around one tourist asked me on a Sunday afternoon where can he buy some Spanish ham before he leaves town early next day. I told him about some stores that open on Sunday which did not have a good ham selection, and he should have bought the ham the day before. He was slightly irritated and said I sounded like his mum. I was more than slightly irritated. People just lose their common sense when they leave their country?) Anyway the girls had an idea: in France you can buy ticket on the train and they cannot throw people off the train even if they cannot pay. So they will just hop on a train to Paris and take care of the fine or whatever later. They went to Sants (which is one hell of a horrible train station) with the 2 big suitcases and the dog, they must have realised immediately that their idea didn't work because for long distance train they check each person's ticket before you can get in. So they started to ask everyone if someone can help them get on the train. To no avail. They told the staff they didn't know where they could stay for the night (that was a bit weird, they could come back and stay in the flat, which they did at the end) the response was like: “I am sorry, the station closes at midnight, you have to stay outside.” They called a friend to book a plane ticket for them (which they should do way before?) at the middle of the call the phone went out of credit. The other phone they had died the day before.

 

When things just couldn't get any worse—it just got worse. When they intended to come back with the metro, 1 girl got in first not noticing the other one's ticket didn't work and didn't get in. So the one which got stuck at the gate asked the security guard to let her get in. The security guard just grabbed her and throw her on the floor (I wasn't that surprised. Usually they don't understand any English and they are quite stupid) She got hysterical and cried. Some passer-by tried to hug her to comfort her. At the end her friend came back to look for her.

 

The girls were telling me that they were so pissed off not visited anything in Barcelona, and they had to go back because they had no money (No one can send them any money? That was strange) I said at least you girls went out. They said actually the first couple nights they couldn't find the bars. Later people told them they have to look in the narrow streets (If you haven't realised by now how intelligent these two were...) On Wednesday night they went to a club, and then they decided to go to the beach to swim naked at 5 in the morning (…) They said oh it was so nice, the water was so warm (no sorry I am not going to try that EVER) Indeed things were nice before some suspicious people started lurking around, someone told them “ all French girls are bitches” and after a while the bag got stolen. They said there were several other people swimming and they were the only one who lost the bag. The thieves did pick the easiest target.

 

The girls went back to the building. They buzz the other neighbours and tried to explain they lost the keys. My neighbour upstairs screamed from the balcony for them to leave him alone and get lost. They said a sleazy “Hindu” (I would say Pakistani) guy passed by and checked them out. They told him to go fuck himself (not literally). May be he did take it literally—he went behind the rubbish container and was jerking himself off there. (ok this made my neighbourhood seemed really bad, but I swear normally you don't get to see any weird guy jerking off on the streets)

 

I don't know who opened the door for the girls at the end, they managed to get in and called a locksmith. Calling a locksmith in Spain at odd hour of the night is like, the most horrible thing you can do. Because this country is full of fucking imbecile who would charge you an astronomical amount whenever they can get away with it. I locked myself out one night last year, the locksmith I got was already sweating and nervous before he even set his hands on the lock. (really bad sign) The lock wasn't even locked with a key, he spent half an hour struggling with a cloth hanger wire before he gave up and broke my lock in 2 seconds and charged me 240 euros. Then he checked the lock from inside and he was like, “ah, I get it, there's a screw here so I couldn't flip the lock open with the wire.” I was fuming with rage inside, what a fucking loser. This country will always surprises you. When you think you've seen the most imbecile person ever, there're people way more imbecile out there. So the girls called a locksmith without consulting me, and this one decided to drill through the middle of the lock which was like the hardest part (???!!!) His drilling probably woke the whole building up. He charged the girls 250 euros and told them it cost another 250 euros to put a new lock. Nah he ain't getting the other 250 euros.

 

On Saturday night the girls were looking for a shared ride on Bla Bla Car. They found one to Perpignan which can also take the dog. From Perpignan they wanted to stick with their plan hopping on a train to Paris without money. They told me the car would leave around noon the next day. On Sunday at 11 something I saw they were still sound asleep, I woke them up. They said the car should leave at 1:40pm, they just need to call the driver to see where should they meet up. Bad luck still follow them around like flies. The driver said her car just broke down.

 

The last resort, which I already thought it out the night before, was buying them the (slow) train ticket to Cerbere which was at the French side of the border at the coast. From there they could carry out their hopping-on-a-train-with-no-money plan. There was a train every two hours, the next one was leaving in less than an hour. I decided to accompany them to the train station because I know if they go alone they definitely not gonna make it. Running to catch the metro with 2 girls and a dog and 2 large suitcases was enough exercise for the day. When we finally got to the train station (not Sants, but Psg de Gracias—I had pretty bad experience at Sants myself) I found out they finish part of the station renovation. The ticket windows were gone. Instead there were two ticket machines, one of them didn't work and a bunch of people waiting. One staff showed up briefly. She just gestured people to use the one ticket machine that worked and she disappeared. The girls asked some guys in front to let us buy the tickets. Everyone were tourists and they said yes (thank god). There was a French/Japanese? lady buying a ticket and she was struggling with the machine. I helped her to get to the right page. She put some money in and the machine spit them out—you can only pay with cards. She got her card out and the machine said time out she had to start everything over again. She was pissed and kicked the machine: “stupid machine!” (everyone was like “wow, calm down!”) That ticket was so confusing. I was surprised at the end I managed to get some tickets out of it.

 

The last time I saw the girls they were on the train to Cerbere. From there I hoped they arrive at Paris smoothly. If not they would be stuck in the middle of nowhere, with 10 euros between them and no mobile that worked.

The picture: Charlie the dog who travelled with his disastrous owners. 

 


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