Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mambo Tango

When I first got to Barcelona I stayed in a hostel called Mambo Tango. I remember thinking the name was unique when I booked it and when I got there it was exactly what I expected. The whole interior of the hostel was decorated differently from most hostels I´ve ever been in.

You know those coffee shops that you walk into that have multi-colored pillows, drawings on the walls, pictures hanging in non-singlecolor frames and posters decorated in different places? The furniture doesn´t have sharp edges, looks more handmade, and doesn´t look like IKEA shopping was done? That´s the impression that I got from this hostel. The difference with this one and other artsy hostels was that this one looked clean and well kept. That was nice.

And since it was 3 days before New Years day, there was a bustle of people moving around inside trying to figure out things to do and places to see before NYE, because most people were checking out and leaving Barcelona on the 2nd.

Even though it felt very busy inside, after I checked in, the girl that owns the hostel (Marina) offered to describe for me places to see in Barcelona. I agreed, she pulled out a huge foldup paper map of the city and began to tell me what to see and what not to see (in her opinion) for the next 30 minutes. Seriously I felt like I sort of knew the city already and I hadn´t even done anything yet. She told me the prices of some of the exhibitions and also what to see when it´s sunny outside etc. She turned out to be a super cool host.

That evening I met a cool guy name Rohit from Texas and we went out to get Tapas. I paid a lot for that dinner ($35) but it was worth it for one of my few Tapas experiences that I will probably get to enjoy in Spain itself. The restaurant was called Irati, and it was recommended to us by Marina. It was near La Rambla and was really fun when we got there. The crowd was heavy and all standing around chatting and drinking while enjoying their food. They serve plates of bites using toothpicks. Basically you walk around as long as you want picking up toothpicks and eating, and then you pay at the end based on how many toothpicks you ate. All based on the honor system. They even took my empty beer glasses away when we were done drinking them and then asked me during bill time how many I drank. A concept which works as long as everyone stays pretty sober :)

At the Tapas place we met a cool girl named Olga from Australia that we walked through the city with the next day as well. She is one of the biggest camera hams I´ve ever met. More than most asians, even. She would actually choreagraph scenes for herself to be in and then ask you to take the picture for her. haha

She was cool. I´m just teasing her here.

When we got back to the hostel in the evening, the hostel was going to show the movie ¨The Motorcycle Diaries¨, which is a movie about Che Guevara, the man who led the socialist revolution in Cuba. I watched it, and during that movie I found out what Mambo Tango meant.

The movie itself was great. It´s about 2 guys traveling on the road through South America, with no goal but to reach a certain location and see what they find along the way. It´s a perfect movie to show at a hostel where people are all traveling somewhere. It made me re-think about what I´ve been doing the last 7 months.

I think the most special part about the whole day for me was that I had talked about the Motorcycle Diaries with Mario in Egypt about 2 days before. He had recommended that I read the book. I had written it down in my bb and we had parted ways. And then I find out that the hostel that I had booked for NYE for the last month was based on the same book that we had discussed. And then I saw the movie that night.

That was really remarkable.


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