Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Strikes, Slights, and Scores

And there's one, two, three strikes and you're out of the oooold baaaall gaaaame!
                So I believe last time I wrote to you I was just at the end of our new great friends stay at the hostel and It was a sad time for all of us, but life is, we must keep moving on. So that’s what we did… kind of… we found that we didn’t have much to fill our free time now and so we kinda stayed inside for the most part from that Sunday until about Wednesday or so. Not a whole lot happened except for looking for places, calling a few people, and so on. I’ll tell you about a few of those now.
So the first one that we all thought we were going to get ended up to be interesting. We get the directions to this place over near the Segrada Familia (for those of you who don’t know, it’s a freaking massive cathedral built by Gaudi, the most amazing architect! If you don’t know him, take a second to look up some of his work. I’ll wait right here………… Did you look yet? No? Sigh… I’ll wait again………… How about now? Ok if not, then you need to do it when you are done. I will check in again when I am finished writing). We walked about 20 min to this place and would up finding her right away. This place looked so perfect online that we couldn’t pass it up; it had a gigantic window to the street side with natural light! Yes that is a slight commodity within the flats here. So we meet up with her, a lady about 30 or so and kinda mouse-ish but nice anyway. From the outside this place looks really nice, solid doors, cool locks and so on. As we get to the door, she tries to open it which takes a few tries and finally succeeds. First clue. We walk inside and its immediately dark with only artificial light. As we all shuffle inside, we can see that the place is slightly worn down and old, but what can you expect from a city that’s almost as old as recorded history. So we move on; the hallway, dark and one small light in the very center. She veered off as we passed the first room into the second and showed us the drying area for our clothes, which was actually pretty awesome; they have hanging wires out so you can put your cloths, yes just like a clothes line for those of you…. Fortunate…. enough to know what they are =]
We moved on to the kitchen which was a sad excuse for a kitchen, but had all the necessary things: stove, sink, fridge, utensils. We make it to one of the rooms that’s up for rent and I think I dropped my jaw. This place would be a sad excuse to be called a broom closet. It barely had enough room for the SINGLE bed and the dresser at the other end of the room. Also, the bed looked  ancient as did everything else in the room. Strike two. As we walked to the next room up for rent, we walked through the advertised living room and it was as if the whole thing had darkened, and it was a nice day outside. Almost as if it was photoshopped… hmm…. We continued to the next room and it had enough room for the double bed and the closet but that was about it. So as we were going out we saw the other people who live in the house who looked nice enough but walked right by us without even looking and went out into the place where we dry our clothes. To smoke. With their clothes… Yea. Strike 3. You all know what strike 3 means. So as we were heading out, she was still trying to sell us the place and told us that on top of the first months rent when we moved in, we would need to do a month and a half security deposit that can be kept for any reason they deem necessary, and also a 100€ fee for administrative purposes that we could get back if we had someone to move in to take our spot when we move out. Wow, really? This place wasn’t even nice. Strike four, if that even existed. As we all walked out of the place, we all knew without needing to say that it was not worth our time. So we headed back home.
                Next adventure was when I went over to check out a place by myself. It wasn’t a huge adventure just that I went by myself to check out a place. Exciting =] So I took the metro over to the place and was looking at my map pictures that I had taken on my phone to find the place. Not too hard to find, once I got there I rang the bell and the guy let me up. When I got there he was very nice and showed me the place, which was a step up from the last one, but not by much. Still everything was so very old in the house, yet still functional. The people were really nice and I had to wait to get in the room until the other person left for wherever she was leaving to. The room was about three times the size of the room in the last house, and the bed was a double rather than a single. Anyway, I made my way back to the hostel and didn’t expect an email back from him.
                On a little brighter note, I found a place that Jenna had sent me over skype a few days before and it had a phone number in it to call. So I went over to the locotorio (which is in internet and phone café, run by packies, with no coffee and very dirty. There seems to be a yellow filter over everything in the place) and gave him a call. He said his name was Javier and that he was actually out running as I called him. I asked him if he had the place up for rent and he said that he did. I asked him when would be a good time for me to come look at it. After a few seconds of silence, he said why not tonight? It was already about 9:30 so I was worried it was too late, but I told him I could be there in about a half hour and that I would get my things ready and leave soon. So I did just that and made my way with my picture of the location of the house on my phone. So I took the metro over there and started walking by my own directions. As I made it to the street, I noticed that the numbers were quite large for what I was needing. These were all 150 and 170 and so on. I needed 31… So I walked up and down that street for probably 30 minutes. I stopped at 131 thinking that maybe he had mistyped. Nope, this building didn’t have a 6th floor. So I walked back down the street and finally found a shop that could help me out. I went in and asked them where Bolivia 31 could possibly be because these were all in the 100s and higher. They told me that there was another side of Bolivia across the main street here called diagonal. Crap. I looked at my map and realized what I had done wrong. As I was talking to Jenna, I was looking for just the street of Bolivia and forgot to put in the number of the house. Well, that mistake cost me about an hour haha. So I walk over to the place and finally find what I was looking for. I rang and he let me up to the place. As I walked in, I saw he looked really friendly and looked like a fútbol player if I had to guess. He let me in and showed me the room. Again my jaw about dropped, but this time in a good way. This room was about 10x10 with a twin bed but an enormous amount of space! I was almost sold just on this room entirely. He showed me the kitchen, gas burners, regular fridge and generally a good set up. Bathroom leaves something to be desired with the shower literally about 5 square feet, but it was good nonetheless. As I left, I basically told him that I would take it because I liked it so much. So I went home without events and sent him an email tellimh him just that same thing. That I would love to move in asap and get things moving. He said that I could move in the next day but he wouldn’t be home until about 8. I was SO excited to have the stress of finding a place off my back.
One more story before I close for this installment. The next day, Jenna thought she had found a place and I told her that I would go with her, I had some time to kill so what have I got to lose. So we walked over there, very close to where hour hostel was, and rang the bell. As they let us inside, I get a not so sure vibe from it. We are greeted by a lady about 30’s and very… let’s say spiritual and in a metaphysical way; As were the things in her house. We made our way to the living room to talk about things and ended up talking only in Spanish because that’s all she spoke. We talked for a bit about nothing really and finally we heard a dog barking behind the closed door. Instantly I knew I didn’t think this was the place for Jenna because that was the sound, or yip of an ankle-biter. Oh how I do not like ankle biters. We asked her about the dog and she said she was getting the dog some kind of thing that was supposed to calm it down. I think she called raiki or rakey or something like that. No idea. Anyway, the dog came out about 5 min later and sure enough it was an ankle biter. So we talked a little more and ended up leaving. Not the place for her. As we were getting back to the hostel, Tonja was leaving to go find another place and didn’t really ask for anyone to go with her and Jenna told me I should. I agreed and ran after her.
We had just a short walk to her place which was about 231 or something like that. So we made our way over there and sit in front of the place because we were about 15 min early. So we sat under what we thought to be the place for a good while. After our 15 was up, we started looking around a bit more and realized that we were actually at the wrong place, Doh! So we go across the street and look inside and see this REALLY nice apartment suite that even has a receptionist working. First clue. We look over the ad and see that there is no room number or anything. So we go to a locutorio and call the lady up. She said that she was in her apartment and gave us the number. So we go back over there and the door was open (there was someone coming in right before us) so we walk right in. We go to the floor after consoling the receptionist that we knew what we were doing. We go to the floor and knock on the door to no avail. We went back downstairs and asked if we had the right room and we did indeed. The lady was just not there. So we gave up and I realized that it was probably a scam and she was never there to begin with. So we make our way back home.
To end the story, it comes to be about that time where I head over to my place and I do just that. I have a lot of things to carry up and down stairs, ugh. So I do it on the first set and that was ok, but by the 3rd set I was worn out. I walked down the hall and saw a set of stairs there that almost literally were pointless. They went about 6 stairs down before going about 5 feet and then going right back up the same amount. Thanks Barcelona. I get on the metro and ride to my switch, and go up and down about a hundred more stairs before getting to the next metro. After I get to the next one, I had to go up more stairs, none being down, and then up more stairs. All the while carrying a 60lb bag in one hand with my carry-on that is too short to use for me and a laptop bag that was not light either. So after I went up some more stairs, I finally made it to more stairs I had to go up. Did I make my point yet? Finally to a point of sheer relief, there was an escalator at the very end set of stairs which I would have died going up: there were probably 3 sets of 30 steps each. So I make it to my place and ring the bell. Javier didn’t recognize me with my hair up (it was very hot) and gave me a funny look. Once we sorted it out I came inside and crashed.
So that’s my finding of a great apartment and some duds along the way. As most of you know that’s how apartment hunting goes. So I am going to sign off for now, I hope you enjoyed this installment of the series. Look for the complete set coming to your local stores soon!  Or maybe we will just stay with blogger for now. Yea that’s probably easier. Tenga un buen dia o noche! Sorry this one was kind of long, I just wanted to get a lot out of the way =] I’m trying to catch up to real time, believe it or not. Did you look up Gaudi yet you lazy bum? You better.
Hasta luego

Here's some pics of the place! Boy, I spoiled you guys today =]


  1. Ok, first, that is more TP than you can use in 2 years.

    Love the blog and all the info. Thanks for the updates. Yes, more frequent Blogs, if you please. However, no need to shorten them, as long as the story demands.

    Here is a link I found for Goudi:

    Glad you found a place. How is it working out now? how many rooms does he rent out? (so, how many housemates do you have)

    Tiny shower - you are correct. But at least you have one, eh?

    Thanks for the pictures, too! I miss you and love you very much!


  2. Okay, Denver, I'll make another attempt at writing back to you here. Loved all the great info you provided. This really appears to be the best of all the places you've looked at, so far. I think it looks really nice in all the photos you included. Small, but cozy. And, best of all, you have it to yourself.
    Looking forward to reading more of your fabulous adventures in good old Spain. I can only hope this will be forwarded to you and not lost in cyber-space, like the last two were. Hopefully, you did receive the letter I emailed to your regular email account.
    Catch you later.
    Love 'n hugs,
    Grandma Betty XXOO