It’s a bit unsettling to realize how fully reliant we are on the internet here in Barcelona. I need email to do my freelancing work; we need the internet to plan our trips and flights; I need it to read the New York Times. We do not yet have the internet in our apartment. Andrew can use the computer lab at school, and though I can check email at my language school, I can’t send documents, download anything, or spend a leisurely time writing emails, since there’s usually a line of people waiting to use the computers. And there are lots of things Andrew and I need to look up together, such as riad selections for our upcoming trip to Marrakech or flights home for Christmas.
To survive, we’ve made ourselves regulars at Hotel Omm, a cushy hotel just around the corner from our apartment. The lobby of Hotel Omm is full of plush couches, ambient lighting, and a bar; more importantly, there’s free wi-fi. We don’t have a computer that is wi-fi capable (Andrew’s computer crashed irreparably several months ago, and mine is too old), but Andrew has borrowed a computer from a friend (and we’ve learned to work around the Norwegian characters on the keyboard). Every day, and sometimes twice a day, we go to Hotel Omm with the computer, sit down on a velvety couch, order a beer or a café con leche, and do all of our internet business. Sometimes—usually—we stay for an hour or more.
So far, the staff at Omm haven’t seemed to mind, even though we’ve clearly made the hotel lobby our second home. We spread our things around us—lists, guidebooks, articles, cell phone—and never order more than one drink each; but if they’re displeased, they haven’t shown it, or at least not enough to make us stop going. I’m starting to feel that Omm really is our second living room. It is a tranquil, comfortable place. But I will be very glad when I’ll be able to check my email without putting on shoes, packing a bag, and ordering a €3.50 café con leche.