Una lliçó de la cultura.

“Well you said you were excited to see if the hype was real about Spanish women and you couldn’t possibly be more surrounded by Spanish chicks than you are right now, Tommy.” “Yup.” Is all he says with a smile. He’s one of the tersest and most reticent guys I’ve ever met but it’s part of his charm and makes for easy travel company. “I expected they’d look similar to the girls we saw in Monaco but they look a little different. They’re not as tan and their hair seems to be a little lighter.” I say as we walk away from the Aerobus and into the beautiful square before us. “Ya.” “We probably only have time to get lunch then snap a few pictures before we have to catch our next flight.” I suggest. “Okay.”

What did that lady say to me at the airport? Was that even Spanish? Why did she only address me?

We initially planned to enter Spain through the Balearic Islands but lo and behold, here we are in the Spanish mainland. The weather is perfect with soothing sunshine that rains down on the bustling Barcelona city center. People are everywhere. In all directions they walk, and in all of those same directions, they move out of my life forever. Most everyone is focused on the movement of people, birds and such, but what I see are the ghostly reflections of people walking on concrete water under a brilliant Spanish sun.

It wasn’t Portuguese or French… At least I don’t think it was.

Once we’ve navigated our way to the south end of the square, we find ourselves walking past a stone structure with an inscription that reads “Catalunya A Francesc Macia.” That’s odd. It’s Catalunya and not Cataluña. Why is Catalunya spelled without a tilde over the “n.” “Tommy do you know why Catalunya isn’t spelled with an ñ?” “No.” Suddenly a young couple looks in our direction and approaches us. They seem to take little interest in Tommy but take one look at me and immediately ask, “Disculpa’m. Es pot fer una foto?” Unsure, I say “Uhh… si.” There it is again! It’s not Spanish, Portuguese or French but I can kind of understand it… I look at Tommy to see if he understood what was said but he’s too distracted by the overwhelming number of beautiful Spanish chicks that have him surrounded. “Uno, dos, tres…” and I snap the picture. “Moltes gracies” the couple says. “De nada” I reply noticing the small hint of confusion on their faces.

“Tommy what the hell is going on? I thought this was Spain?” He looks at me with an emotionless face and suddenly I realize that was probably the same language the lady in the airport greeted me with. “It’s weird that they come straight to me and start speaking this language and don’t even look at you. It sounds like Castilian Spanish but with some French. I think I read something on the plane about a language called Catalan but I can only assume that’s what it is being as we’re in the Catalonia region of Spain. Ohh I get it now. Catalunya must mean Catalonia.” “Probably.”

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