Lost in Translation

Online blog of life in Barcelona for a English guy making a life for himself out here and trying desperately to have a good time, become fluent in Spanish, and most of all - not be constantly mistaken for a tourist!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Free food and big hair

My immersion into Barcelona's social scene continues at a fair old rate, as last night I was invited to the opening of a trendy new restaurant on the Passeig de Gracia (the city’s most fashionable street). Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t personally selected as a guest on the strength of my own social credentials, but I went along as the “plus 1” of my flatmate who has infinitely better connections than I do. I didn’t know what to expect really, but it certainly wasn’t what I got! When we arrived, the place was heaving with the city’s glitterati. This mainly consisted of rich old men with their equally rich wives sporting their giant hair and inch-thick make-up. It seems that no self-respecting Spanish woman of a certain age with any real cash will ever be seen with grey hair, so these “do's” are all a lovely shade of beige. Evidently, “Caramel Surprise” is the only shade available in the local chemist. We sashayed our way in through the entrance (complete with mini brass band), scooping up a nice glass of Spanish Cava and made our way through the throng of glamorous hostesses.

The restaurant is on 3 levels and they’d prepared a funky little map (bit unnecessary really, as it’s not that big but I think it was to add to the "adventure" aspect) and also stuck arrows to the floor to guide us through the individual areas that offer different types of food. We went to the next floor up and took some more finger-food from the hostesses as they wondered around with trays of incredibly posh gourmet tapas. The comedy highlight for me was the girls handing out the “mini hamburguesas” (hamburgers) which were all on lollypop sticks and dipped in a sauce, and then carried round on a board with the sticks stuck in like some kind of strange meat-eater’s Chupa-Chup display. It was all good stuff though, and there was loads of interesting and tasty things to go around, which was a minor miracle given the number of people there. We spent an hour or so wondering round, chatting and people-watching as we swigged our Cava and ate our tapas. It was reassuring to see that, no matter how big your bank balance is (indicated of course by how thick your make-up has been applied), everyone without exception was only there to fill their boots with as much free food and drink as possible. This reached crisis proportions when I saw my life flash before my eyes as I got sandwiched in by about a dozen women and their Gucci handbags, as they pushed their way through to get to the food in the style of a heard of wildebeest after a collective botox session.

Lots of Cava later, we started to feel the effects, and my flatmate was clearly getting a bit tipsy which was hysterically funny for me to watch. Then the cocktail bar swung into life and we made our way over for string of trendy drinks followed by a load of Mojitos (I think it’s Bacardi, brown sugar, mint, bitters and soda, but I’m not sure). Anyway, given the generousness of the spirit measures out here, we were both even more tipsy before long.

One thing that seems popular out here (certainly on this night) is the number of men you see (young and old) with their sweaters tied around their necks in a “Sports casual” Alan Partridge style. My flatmate told me that this is a very Madrid thing to do, and you can instantly tell which of the people were Madrileños by this choice of signature outfit. Apparently, no one in their right mind from Barcelona would ever dress like that, and I must admit that I haven’t seen anyone like this since I arrived in Barcelona so he could be right (although I’ve never been to Madrid so I’m not sure how accurate or fair the stereotype is). Anyway, a couple of them had really taken the look to its limits by combining the sweater with chinos and espadrilles, so wherever they were from, we had to laugh.

All in all, we had a great night which went on until the early hours.
Getting up this morning was a chore and when I left for work, my flatmate still hadn’t got up....!


At October 10, 2006 10:27 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

So what does a trendy Barcelona person wear to these sort of events? Just the espadrilles and a smile?

At October 10, 2006 8:52 PM, Blogger Lost in translation said...

It'd be a bit cold on the old Castanets! :-)

At October 15, 2006 10:48 PM, Anonymous Gorgeous in Glossop said...

Ola Trendy guy ! whats with the lack of communication ... I have the excuse of sunning me ickle bod in 37degree heat for a week ... I did try an text but it failed ... I could do with some IT hepl .. do you know of anyone !?

I cant believe those women had bigger boofants than you !!! Although you had been sporting the greasy gringo look for a while !! (;o)

Nor can I believe you noticed your flatmate getting more pissed than you !! Liar liar your bum is on fire !!! (;o)

On yokin, can you tell I'm missing you !? xxx

At October 15, 2006 10:54 PM, Anonymous p@*s-taker in Preston said...

Hola Chico guapo! Que tal?

Sounds like you're having loads of fun in sunny(?) spain. Assuming it's nicer weather than de-preston of course??! :-)
Hope all going well with the job etc. Please do not be coming home with the Alan Partridge style jumper over shoulders tho, i dont care how much you want to be part of the 'big hair, inch think makeup' in-crowd! :-)
Gonna love you n leave you. No asking any dishy spanish men to 'chupa tu polla' Ha ha. N if you know what that means already then you are a complete dirt bag, lol.
Lisa x x

At October 20, 2006 8:20 PM, Blogger Lost in translation said...

Hola ladies! (That's Spanish for "How-dooo!")

I'll have you know that my bouffant hair is a real hit on the Iberian peninsula! Just yesterday I was complimented on it by the guy serving me in Burger King at Palma airport! (Seriously, I'm not kidding there!)

I think the text-related problems are down to your choice of network! You're on 3 aren't you? Other people have told me the same thing about them. Maybe give them a call and have a whinge??

And to that little strumpet in Preston, all I can say is that, if there's any "chup"-ing of my "polla", then I'll still not be a big a dirt-bag as yourself my lady!!! hehe



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