Last night, Andrew went to a soccer match with two friends from LA who were in Barcelona for a couple of days. The match was an important one--I'm not sure yet what that means, or who Barcelona was playing against; I've got to figure this soccer thing out--and the stadium was, apparently, packed, which means 120,000 people. I don't have a frame of reference, really, but I think Yankee Stadium is huge, and that holds 55,000.
I met them afterward for dinner. They did not have a good time. Andrew's friends, the husband of whom is a banker of some kind, are accostomed to a very high level of luxury and ease--when they see sporting events, it's always in VIP style, with waiters, comfort, and a healthy separation from the masses. Not so at a Barcelona soccer game, where their VIP seats were smushed in with hordes of smoking, screaming fans in a typical fervor over the game. Andrew's friend's wife had worn super-high heels, which were treacherous on the steps to their seats and even more treacherous since the barrier preventing them from plunging to the seats below hit at about mid-thigh.
Anyway, it took them forever to find a cab--transporting 120,000 people from one place to another in an already cab-short city proved chaotic--and I didn't meet them until midnight. It took a while to get going and get to El Born for dinner, and when we got there, the entire neighborhood was strangely deserted. Shops would usually be closed at that hour, but the few restaurants that were open were no longer serving food, and most others were closed. A few straggling bars were open. One a.m. is not absurdly late for dinner in Barcelona, and I'm not sure what was going on.
We wound up at a dingy diner-type place (diner food in Spain consisting of boccadillos, some cold tapas, and a few "combination" plates consisting of eggs and some unidentifiable meats), where our waiter was drunk. When Andrew's friend's wife ordered a bikini (a ham and cheese sandwich), he asked lewdly (in Spanish, so only Andrew got the joke), "What size and color?" A strange night all around.