Storming the barricades

Barcelona, April 28, 2011
After an uneventful and pleasant shirt flight from Granada, we arrived at the Barcelona airport around 11. At the baggage claim area, there is mass confusion among members of a group of old people who are traveling together. None of them, apparently bothered to look at the screen that clearly said our bags would come up on carousel No. 7 and they were all walking around like lost lambs trying to figure it out — even though the rest if us were all gathered around No. 7. I tried to convince a couple of them that 7 was the right one and they seemed satisfied. But immediately one woman announced that she could see bags on No. 4 so therefore that must be the right one. And away they all went to wait for their bags at No. 4.
The rest if us, of course, stayed put and after a while, something must have convinced the lost group that they were at the wrong carousel because they all came back, grumbling about the woman who had led them astray. She tried to defend herself but no one would listen. Finally, she said, nearly in tears, “Alright. I made a mistake. Has no one ever made a mistake?”
That seemed to mollify the others. And besides, the bags were beginning to come up the chute.
I got my bag and headed to the cab stand. There was a line if cabs outside so I didn’t have to wait at all. I told the driver my hotel and he started laughing.
Oh god, I thought, he’s probably going to tell me that my hotel no longer exists, or something equally bad. Instead he tells me that his dispatcher had just told him that the street the hotel is one had been closed because if the celebration over Barcelona’s revenge victory over Madrid in a game that had just ended. He said he’d take me as close as he could and I’d have to walk the rest if the way.
And that’s what he did. He dropped me off at the police barricade and pointed in the direction if the hotel. I start walking towards where he pointed and within minutes I am in the middle if a huge boisterous crowd, a number if them were lighting and tossing around huge firecrackers that sounded like bombs.
I could see hotels all around me but nowhere could I find Le Meridien, so I start asking the revelers and none if them knew. I asked a fireman and he said he recognized the name but he wasn’t sure. I walk down the street a while and I start asking some of the few older adults mulling around, and they didn’t know. I got the Spanish National Response to Requests for Directions: walk a little that way then ask somebody. Finally, I get to another hotel and ask the doorman. Ge points across the street. I go there and sure enough there is a hotel there, but I can’t see any name. I walk in to the Libby and ask a bellhop and he points behind me, across the other street.
I turn around and there is the beautiful Hotel Meridien Barcelona. It is waiting with open arms. I am greeted warmly and promptly assigned to a room.
And oh, what a room it is! The most modern and comfortable and chic room I have ever slept in. It is luxurious. The bed feels as if nobody else has ever slept in it. The sheets feel new also, or freshly ironed. I was so hot and tired from the trip and the walking that I quickly turned on the shower and it was as if the skies had opened up and all the rain that has not fallen in Texas the past year were now falling on my body and nowhere else.
And the best part is that it’s all free, thanks to the Starwood Hotels rewards program.
I can tell you now I am going to be very happy here. Too bad I only had enough points to stay here two of my four nights in Barcelona.

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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