I flew from Cairo to Barcelona, Spain on December 5th and my honest, initial reaction when I stepped off the plane was that I had entered some kind of futuristic world where everything was unnaturally clean, things ran on time, and stuff worked the way they were supposed to.
I also – quite strangely – had the urge to talk to people in Spanish and tell them I had just come from Cairo, as if I had survived some sort of difficult life test (which in a way I guess I had).
This is somewhere over the north coast of Africa
Immediately off the plane I headed for the Nou Camp, the stadium of my favorite soccer team, FC Barcelona. There was a tour, a 3D movie (Nora and Dino – it wasn’t quite as good as the one in La Boca!), and a museum next to the stadium.
Another example of my adjustment to the Cairo way of life – I’m crossing the street to get to the stadium and there’s a car coming in my direction. I unconsciously gauge the distance of the car and how fast it’s going and figure it will pass me before I get to that point if I don’t change my own pace. The driver sees me, and this is where it gets interesting.
In Cairo, the driver would have floored it towards me, either hoping to get by me so that I did not inconvenience him on his route, or to attempt to run me over. But in Barcelona, the driver sees me and slams on his brakes. 20 feet in front of me, just slams on the brakes and motions for me to cross. I seriously was frozen in place for about 5 seconds, unsure of what to do. It didn’t really cross my mind at first that he was being courteous, I was suspicious he was just attempting to line me up for a better angle for human pinball.
But I digress.
The view of the stadium from the press box, which convinced me that being a sports journalist in Barcelona would be amazing
A Barca foosball table, they had all sorts of varieties of these in the museum
This is the Champions League trophy from 2006 which Barca won
The visit to the stadium only got me more excited for the game I would be attending the next day. After seeing the stadium, I hopped on the metro and met up with my friend Eda, who is studying in Barcelona. After wandering Las Ramblas, I had my first ever chicken, tomato, corn, lettuce, cucumber (and fifteen other ingredients I can’t remember) bocadillo at Eda’s favorite little restaurant in the city, and that night we went out to a bar and bumped into some cool Mexican friends of hers. I tend not to sleep much the night before big trips though, so I was pretty beat and turned in early.