From hell and back 

March 28, 2024

  A couple of things were left out of my last blog. When we landed early in Barcelona and then cleared customs in a breathless matter of minutes, it wasn’t even 8:00 a.m. yet. Our apartment would not be available until 3:00 p.m. What we could do with eight hours to kill while schlepping luggage across  Barcelona was limited to, well, nothing.

A luggage locker version of Let’s Make a Deal?

  Carol was able to learn from the agency renting us the apartment of the many luggage storage locations throughout the city. Carol was leary of the whole concept. (Keep in mind she’d become leary of the whole concept of metered taxis after a couple of questionable experiences where the meters had been left off. When a Barcelona airport customer assistant tried to explain how taxis were cheaper than Uber, she was adamant to find the Uber stand.)

  She Googled a storage site that was close to the apartment as well as walkable from the train station. As we approached what would be our “hood” for the next three days, Carol’s mood darkened. Closed up shops (they would open later that morning) with graffiti-covered metal doors recalled other “skeevy” areas I had booked accommodations in other cities. “It’s just the way it is around train stations, Reid.” she said.

  Her mood didn’t brighten when we arrived at the luggage locker site around the corner from the apartment. We followed the instructions to rent the lockers, and when mine opened, there was a backpack already in it. Two thoughts, actually three:

1. What the actual f@#k?

2. What if the same thing happens to our lockers only with our stuff in them?

3. How would all this help lighten Carol’s mood about our stay here? 

( I was pretty sure I already knew the answer to that last one.)

  A locker attendant was available via intercom. She merely reconfigured our rental to another locker, without offering any explanation as to how we were able to somehow open a locker already rented to someone else, and with their stuff still in it.

  We then spent the better part of the rest of the morning speculating how what had just happened to this other dude could just as easily happen to us. Needless to say, Carol kept a close eye on our luggage locator tags to make sure they weren’t on their way to Romania at some point in the day. Were we on the verge of stumbling into a remake of The Out of Towners?

But the apartment was a clean, well-lighted place.

  We did catch a break when our agent texted later that we could check into the apartment at 1:30 p.m. and we were further heartened when we were able to easily recover our luggage without involving the Romanian Consulate. And when all the shops around our apartment had opened, removing their graffiti-covered security doors, and the neighborhood came alive with the passing by of shoppers and babies in strollers, plus the realization that we were two minutes from a metro stop, seven from the train station and less than ten from a series of rooftop restaurants collectively known as Arenas de Barcelona, Carol could affirm, “ We’re back to going to Hell again.”

Life is like a box of chocolates for us.

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