Category: Travel

SPAIN: SOY AMERICANO (PART 4)

I did my best to represent the United States. With our status in the world in decline, it’s my duty as a citizen of this rich country to not let it slip even further. But I quickly learned that it doesn’t matter how awesome I may appear because for every me there are a dozen of other traveling Americans who just reinforce the stereotype: arrogant, fat, annoying, closed-minded, stupid, self-absorbed, insecure, materialistic.

First there were the three college-aged American girls visiting Barcelona. The two fat ones couldn’t stop talking about themselves, asking everyone where they could find a club that plays hip-hop because that is the only music they’re willing to dance to. They’d counter your observation about Spanish culture with nonsense: “Yeah yesterday I like went to the grocery store and the guy was so mean he didn’t have to like be that mean.” Drinking in their vicinity was even worse: “Oh my god I’m like so drunk this is my 12th shot I shouldn’t drink any more? okay one more I hope I don’t get as drunk as last night.” It was unbearable.

There were the standard-issue blondes from Chicago, also in Barcelona, who were older and less annoying but terribly uninteresting and cold.

There was the guy from Boston in Madrid. Every sentence he threw in “fucking” to appear cool and edgy. He busted his head in the shower and got blood throughout the room. “I thought hostels were supposed to be fucking crazy, where are all the bitches?!”

There was another American in Madrid who introduced himself as 25 Cent: “I’m half the color but all the attitude.” He challenged people to rap battles. And he was white (second from right). He said he was from L.A. and has done coke with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. I mean, who hasn’t done coke with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie? His line, “I want to introduce you to the hostel of love,” did not get him as far as he had hoped.

How did it get like this? How come so many Americans possess the same negative traits? How did such anti-social behavior become a cultural phenomenon?

I don’t consider myself unique in wanting to meet interesting, socially-aware people who are open-minded, but the odds that an American fits this profile is low. Even the English, who share the most with us culturally, are much more tolerable than Americans. When you’re in your home country and consciously seek out international hang-outs to meet people who are not from here, you may have a problem.

The most interesting American I met in Spain was at a Monday night club party in Barcelona. He got into some trouble back home and moved to Spain about a year ago, where he currently deals drugs in various clubs. When it became obvious to him that I was not going to purchase drugs he befriended me and kept the drinks coming. He wanted to impress me and at that moment I wanted to be impressed.

He had a crew of four or five guys who acted as his entourage. As the temporary new member I had to be super cool and have a serious look on my face. He told me that drug enforcement in Spain is a joke, and the only time they make busts is more for publicity purposes than trying to reduce usage. I concluded that I do not want to be a drug dealer because of the late hours and unruly clientele.

The reason I came to Spain in late-August is not to put up with the heat and tourist swarms but to attend La Tomatina, the tomato food-fight that occurs in Bunol on the last Wednesday of every August. From Barcelona I went to Valencia, the third largest city in Spain that is about an hour train ride from Bunol. After a night out and two hours of sleep, I was ready for what would be the highlight of my trip.

Spain Table of Contents

Part 1: The Terminal
Part 2: Red Lights
Part 3: Hostel Game
Part 4: Soy Americano
Part 5: La Tomatina
Part 6: Unsustainable Tourism
Part 7: Doner Kebab
Part 8: Lessons
Part 9: The Chart
Part 10: Fin

SPAIN: HOSTEL GAME (PART 3)

There is no better place to observe horny, international 20-somethings than the European hostel. It serves as a museum of personality, culture, and game. You are bound to meet people you hate, people you love, and people that remind you a bit too much like yourself.

In Barcelona I stayed in a dorm room of twenty people, the biggest my hostel had to offer. If hot girls are a fixed percentage of the population, my theory was to work with a larger population. This theory sort of worked but not with girls — with Australians.

The Australian culture unofficially dictates that you travel after graduation for at least three months, and Spain was on all their lists. “It’s so expensive to get up here that we just end up staying a while.” They are a little more adventurous and a little more loud than we are, but otherwise they?re very similar. If we adopted them as the 51st state, they would be like a more liberal Oregon or Washington.

The dorm room opened the door to hostel game. So far in life I have experience with bar game, club game, coffeeshop game, airplane game, red cup party game, street game, subway game, and crack house game. Differences in their execution must be appreciated and understood, lest you want to be arrested. For example, grinding on a girl on the Metro during rush-hour is a bad idea. In hostels you have ample time to game if you can work through the “competition,” distractions, and logistical difficulty inherent in the environment. In other words, it’s a great place to meet girls but a horrible place to close.

Let’s examine how hostel game works with a case study. We?ll use Sidney, a 19 year old from Belgium who only speaks French. Gymnast thin with long, brown hair, blue eyes, and pouty lips, she was easily the hottest girl in the 200-bed hostel.

You are a generic international guy with minimum game. You see Sidney and dream of making babies with her. What do you do?

You blow it.

These guys attacked early without thinking, letting their infatuation with a beautiful face destroy any careful thought they might have had in their head. They wanted to be the first guy to talk to her, the first guy to offer her a drink, and the first guy to go out to the club with her. Instead of sitting back and letting things happen naturally, they poured it on too quick, giving her little choice but to gently back away.

If you are a cool guy staying at a hostel, you want the girls to interact with the younger, inexperienced guys. You want her to create a ranking of every guy in the room and compare you to the others. After making a quick impression, your ranking rises with every guy she talks to while you do absolutely nothing — a game that is no game. You sit, patiently, like a cat about to attack a fake bird on a string, waiting for her to tire with the nonsense being thrown at her. Then you strike and put in very minimal effort to get what the others tried so hard for. Less is more.

I looked good not necessarily because I was awesome and introduced top-notch experimental game that made girls wet on demand, but because I didn?t say anything stupid or do anything desperate. I just had to roll out of bed, wipe the gunk out of my eyes, wait for everyone to fail, and then make an appearance. I was the cleaner: I cleaned up other guys? mistakes.

The hostel formula is to pre-drink in the room until it?s time to go out after 1am. Things get started much later in Spain; guestlists stay open until 2am and the hotter clubs don?t get going until three. Arrive at a club before twelve and there?s a good chance it won?t even be open.

Sidney and her friend were writing in their diaries while the Australians and I drank to another U.S. invasion. The Australians kept asking me if I had information on the Belgian girls and I truthfully told them I didn?t. They sent the drunkest one to talk to them and he came back thirty minutes later with a huge grin on his face, announcing that they are coming out with the group.

The hostel staff directed us to Moog, a house club five minutes away. The club had a modest cover charge and two of the Australians paid for the Belgians. Before cleaning, I wanted to explore the space. The club is small but it takes its house music seriously, evidenced by the lack of female vocals in songs (no cheesy classics here). Upstairs was the oldies room. The room was so small that many men were forced to touch and grab each other while dancing.

I grabbed my mop and went downstairs where I ran into the Australian guys.

“Where are the Belgians?” I asked.

“Oh they don?t speak much English so we can?t really do anything.”

Fools!

Eventually I found the Belgians on the dance floor with drinks bought by the Australians. When you?re unable to communicate with a girl, your best bet is to take her to a loud club where talking isn?t important anyway, where there will be no awkward silences because you happened to have nothing to say. I find that alcohol and dancing are just good enough to establish a physical connection for the night. She won?t fall in love with you but there?s a good chance she?ll want to have sex with you. This is how I got action in my younger years.

I found Sidney, hooked her friend up with some random guy, and danced like I never danced before, until we were both soaked in sweat and other juices (orange juice in particular). The Australians could only look on in disgust. While the logistics of us both staying in a 20-person room made private time difficult, no other night in Spain would compare to this one. Once you go young…

Spain Table of Contents

Part 1: The Terminal
Part 2: Red Lights
Part 3: Hostel Game
Part 4: Soy Americano
Part 5: La Tomatina
Part 6: Unsustainable Tourism
Part 7: Doner Kebab
Part 8: Lessons
Part 9: The Chart
Part 10: Fin

SPAIN: RED LIGHTS (PART 2)

Barcelona is not too unlike a popular American city, with its tourist, hip, art, and business centers all wrapped up in efficient mass transit and coated with a general air of petty crime. It’s easy to feel right at home.

I stayed right off La Rambla, the city’s main tourist trap, a promenade of overpriced restaurants, souvenir shops, and street artists. It’s easy to conclude that this isn’t the “real” part of Barcelona when you have to fight your way through slow-moving pockets of tourists who find it fascinating that there is yet one more shop selling key chains. English and French were common languages spoken. Younger Australian tourists poured into the popular KFC and groups of 40-year-old German men prowled around, searching for their lost youth.

Towards the end of La Rambla is the Barcelona red light district. I definitely had to visit because it was mentioned in Fodor’s, the travel guide for old people. I noticed one sex shop getting a lot of foot traffic so I decided to go in (for research purposes). Shelves of DVD porn greeted me, along with gigantic black dildos that cost sixty euros. After browsing around I noticed some private booths arranged in a circle towards the back. This was the live peep show where for two euros you could watch some girl strip live. Only creepy old men were coming out of the booths; it looked so lame.

I enter the booth and put in two euros. The lights dim and the peep window slowly rises, revealing a fat, naked woman sprawled across a circular bed that rotated like in the movie Austin Powers. I concluded that I was not anonymous when I could see the faces of other men through their windows.

After the fat woman was fed, she put on her clothes and left, replaced by a hotter and younger girl of probable Eastern European descent. As my peep window started closing, a half-naked petit man followed in behind her.

This would be my first difficult decision of the trip: Do I pay more money to continue this perv escapade or do I look at some more dildos for free? In one fell swoop I can make American strip clubs completely irrelevant by watching two people have sex right in front of me. Besides, maybe it would be a fulfilling experience.

I waited five minutes before I put in more money so I could skip the foreplay. The booths are starting to fill up fast as word spreads between the dirty old men that actual sex may take place. I put in two euros and watched the girl give mediocre head.

While I didn’t know the other men sharing the booths near me, I felt a sort of camaraderie with them since we were all sharing the same experience. Well, except for the guy who was furiously masturbating (judging by his rapid and intense upper-body movements). His window went up and did not come back down, so I can only conclude that he finished himself off. I started to feel bad for the janitor of the establishment while wondering how MacGyver would open a closed door without actually touching the handle.

Alright, one more go and I’m done (no, not in that way). I waited a few more minutes and put in another two euros. This is equivalent to a total of eight dollars and all I have to show for it so far was my door-opening hand contaminated with other mens’ sperm. The peep window slowly raised ? of course this time it took forever. Finally it opened to reveal the man demolishing it from behind. Doggy-style, without a condom. Cool.

While the petit man had the plainest look on his face, like he was thinking of baseball, it was obvious the girl was experiencing complete ecstasy because I counted her having eight or nine orgasms in only three minutes. No way it was fake. I wanted to stay for the money shot but who knows how long that would take. Anyway, it was time for dinner.

Spain Table of Contents

Part 1: The Terminal
Part 2: Red Lights
Part 3: Hostel Game
Part 4: Soy Americano
Part 5: La Tomatina
Part 6: Unsustainable Tourism
Part 7: Doner Kebab
Part 8: Lessons
Part 9: The Chart
Part 10: Fin

SPAIN: THE TERMINAL (PART 1)

I doubted my decision to visit Spain after I booked the flight. While a seemingly great country, how unique can my experience be in one of the most touristy countries in the world? I’ll visit some cathedrals, walk down ancient cobblestone streets, and party in random, overpriced clubs. I set my expectations so low that success was all but guaranteed.

I was reading the latest issue of Budget Traveler while waiting at the terminal in Dulles airport. I could swear this girl was giving me a look. She wore green Converse shoes with puffy white pants and a tight shirt. Her hair was long, wavy and wild, and she was doing Sudoku with thick, nerd glasses perched on her nose. Definitely young and definitely not American.

“Let me guess, you’re from France,” I said.

“No. I’m from Spain.”

“Even better!”

She told me she’s 18 and about to start her freshman year at a college in Barcelona.

I say a lot of big words about wanting a young girl. I remember it starting as a joke but turning serious in the past year after my experiences drove me to the conclusion that women over 25 are generally not worth the trouble. But young American girls can often be more hassle. So what is the answer? Or rather, where is it? I’m not completely sure, but young, foreign girls who haven’t adopted our culture are very different from their American counterparts.

Clara was friendly but not too friendly, warm but not too warm. If she got off the plane before me or cleared through customs first she would wait for me. A girl who is not too focused playing the game and worrying if she is showing too much interest is, after all, what I want – a girl who lies in the optimal middle-ground between needy and coquette.

She has had just as many interesting life experiences as me, and had no problem conversing with someone almost ten years her senior. Her rich life experience showed in her lively personality. Her realistic view of the world displayed her knowledge. And her body language showed that she is comfortable being around an older man.

Not until an American girl hits the age of 24 or 25 does she start becoming sensual. Before that age she has very little clue how to act around a man, how to hook him, and how to arouse him. She knows how to play phone games, but she doesn’t know how to use personality and language in a game of seduction where real emotions become involved. And no wonder she needs advice on to get men to call her back. By the time she “gets it,” she has been used and abused too many times by guys such as myself to go into new relationships with honesty and openness. The fear of getting hurt simply ensures its occurrence.

I wanted Clara to join me in Barcelona. Scenes of movies popped in my head, where a lone traveler finds his beautiful soul mate and has to hold back manly tears when it’s time to say goodbye. This came after visions of hours of rough, steamy sex with this tanned, curvy Spaniard.

Or I could just exchange email addresses with her.

Clara would be the first of many girls where cruel logistics would stop things just short of where they could have gone. And she would be the only Spanish girl I’d get to know during the entire trip.

Spain Table of Contents

Part 1: The Terminal
Part 2: Red Lights
Part 3: Hostel Game
Part 4: Soy Americano
Part 5: La Tomatina
Part 6: Unsustainable Tourism
Part 7: Doner Kebab
Part 8: Lessons
Part 9: The Chart
Part 10: Fin