Taken 4:

It was time to switch to another AirBnB location. We packed our belongings and trekked across town to our new house that was supposedly on the beach. The place was not on the beach, in fact, nowhere near. After arriving at the apartment, the owner took over 20 minutes to answer her door. She didn’t even say hello as we walked in. The first thing she uttered was an unfriendly, “be quiet if you get back late,” as she locked herself behind her kitchen door. She will not be getting a terrific review from us.

Our friend mentioned an incredible Japanese Wok restaurant in our new area of town. We walked to the wok. It was situated on the square beneath the Arc de Triomf in the Parc de Cuitatella. It was only 9 euros for the unlimited wok buffet, but the catch was that they required us to order drinks. They sold us on the “Japanese Beers” that were labelled entirely in English. The food was amazing as they had countless differing seafoods, vegetables, meats and sauces to try. We tried to limit ourselves to one of each thing, just in case our tastebuds and tummies disagreed with our selections.

The locals piled heaps of whole fish (heads, tails, fins), crabs, muscles, oysters, snails and octopus on their plates. I couldn’t believe I witnessed a man eat an entire platter full of tiny squid in one sitting. There were more than 50 squid on his plate when he began the task. We sat frantically peeling our shrimp and cray fish with our fingers. We looked around to find that everyone else was delicately peeling their crustaceans with their silverware. We momentarily tested out their method, decided it was much too difficult, and went back to the efficient American way.

After being completely awed by the works of Gaudi yesterday, we decided it was worth it to see one more exhibition. The Casa Batillo had been on our radar since arriving in Barcelona because it is said to be one of the most exemplary works of Gaudi’s style. We stood in line with hundreds of tourists to receive some headphones and an augmented-reality video guide. Upon receiving the machinery, we were guided through the old apartment building. The video showed a realistic rendering of how the interiors used to look. If you stood in the middle of the room, looked into the viewfinder, and turned in a circle, you’d see all the old furniture, lighting fixtures, planters and paintings on the walls. Gaudi had designed the building holistically designing everything from the structure to the smallest artistic details such as the door knobs.

Several men had approached us on Las Ramblas last night asking us to come out with them to the clubs. I thought they seemed innocent, but Aria had just seen the movie Taken 3 and was afraid that they were not legitimate. One club promoter sported a British accent and was named Kash. Another promoter’s name was Yash which we thought was creepily coincidental. We added Kash on Whatsapp after joking with him about the fact that if we went with him he had to promise not to sell us into the slave trade. His automatic greeting was coincidentally, “Take them by surprise! ;)”

Being our last night in Barcelona, we decided to take our chances with Kash. He told us to bring our guy friends so we figured we wouldn’t get taken. We met him at a hole-in-the-wall bar near Las Ramblas. We paid his manager 15 euros in order to receive mojitos and several watered down shooters. By making friends with some backpackers from Finland, we actually got to teach someone a little Spanish.

We all bussed to a club called Shoko, where ill mannered men kept grabbing us inappropriately. The promoter noticed and asked if we wanted to go with him to his favorite bars instead. He lead us to the clubs that the locals partied at. They were playing electronic Spanish music rather than the American rap they played at the club, which was a nice change. We walked around the drunken shenanigans until I practically forced my sister to come home with me. It was 5:45 in the morning we had to be boarding a train to Pamplona at 10:00am.

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