Shopping day!

It’s Saturday. A day to do some exploring. Damn these blackout shades are amazing – it’s 9AM and we all just woke up. Hopefully everyone is back on schedule now from the time change. We wake up and as I make the beds, I hear Josh yell from downstairs “you need to learn to use the washing machine!”. I say, “No, not til Tues”. He tells me that Sailor has puked on the couch (not our couch BTW, included in rental) and on the blanket on the couch. Shit, what a way to start the day.

As with the dishwasher, I’m intimidated by this washing machine. So I come downstairs, get the instructions and flip to the English page. No biggie – that was easy. But now I must choose a programme (spelled in the European English) – there are 11 of them. Oh and a temp – they just don’t have cold, warm, hot – they have 8 different temperature choices as well.
Then I must choose a cycle – depending on what types of garments are in there. Several meet my needs but I finally choose cycle 11 which is for all washes (though not as fast as cycle 10 which is for everyday but I figure it’s got puke on it and may need some extra time). I choose cold because I don’t want to waste my precious hot water that I need for a shower – I don’t do extreme cold of 30, but choose 40. Odd that these temps are in F while everything else here is in C. There are also spin cycle choices – ranging from 200-800. Looks like perhaps rotations??? I have no idea. But it looks like most common is 800 and that is what it was already set to.
Now finally detergent. It doesn’t state on the instructions for the washer how much I should put in and it makes sense that that is determined by the brand of detergent we have. Our brand is Colada Mixta – pretty simple – Mixed Colors. You can wash whites and colors together. Sweet. On the back it has a chart that shows one cap = 40ml. Then it shows Agua blanda, agua media and agua dura. I’m guessing light, medium, heavy. I didn’t have my laptop on at the time so I was just guessing and chose medium – 90ml. Of course it had another column next to it with an identical picture that states 160ml. I have no idea the difference between the two and so I go with the lesser because what if I use too much and have to manage to get the extra soap out of the blanket right? So I think I’m all set – so I push the go button.
Then I see a time delay light up – there is a menu of them ranging from 2 hrs to 9 hrs. I don’t want a time delay, I want it to start now! So back to my trusty booklet and it says to push the timer up to 5 times but if the programme is already set you may only be able to go to less time delay not more – that works for me. But nothing is happening when I press that button. I don’t want it to delay 4 hrs! So I turn it off and turn it on and try again… same thing. I do it again and again. Now I’m getting frustrated and Josh and the kids come in to see how I’m doing… “go away, I’m working!”.
Finally I open the door to the washer and close it. The wash starts. Hmmm… no where did it say to open the door to start. But it did the trick and now my wash is going. Liam is fascinated by it since it’s at his eye level.
Off we go to the big market. It’s kind of like a farmers market and each neighborhood has their own. It was a very cool experience – there were several aisles and each aisle had little kiosks, kind of similar to Fanueil Hall except that each kiosk is open on all four sides. There were fruit stands, veggies, fish, meats of all kinds, candy, cheese, breads, pasta and more. There were even some prepared food stands that had bar stools so you could sit and eat your purchases. And this was the small local open market. The largest one in Barcelona is La Boqueria http://www.boqueria.info/Eng/index.php. I’m looking forward to that one as I hear it is amazing. We didn’t purchase much today, but no joke, I paid 3.80euro (need to find euro symbol on my computer) for 4 clementines, a large container of strawberries and 3 bananas. Normally the strawberries alone would have cost that at home. We also bought fresh bread coming out of the oven which was fabulous!!!
Went to little store to get kids some looney toon action figures – you’ve never seen happier kids. This is all Aidan wanted for his birthday and Xmas. If only I’d known I just had to move to Spain to find them!!! 3 little guys (made by Schleich – the same company that makes those realistic looking animal figurines and smurfs) cost me 13.50 euro – so about $20.00. Yes, $20 for 3 guys – we paid less for the food! But they are happy kids.
I made a trip to the grocery store on my own. It was nice to just take a look around and be able to focus without yelling “don’t touch” “walking feet” or “no” to the kids. Not much had changed from the other day as far as selection unfortunately – still going to have to suck it up at some point and start eating some Spanish food. I do find it interesting that they are focused on being “green”. They do it slightly in reverse from home – instead of getting money off for bringing your own bag – you pay for any bags that you need! Most people bring their own and leave them at the front of the store. When you are at the register, you put your groceries on the belt and then go get your granny bag to put your stuff in – no bags necessary. It’s very trusting that you leave your bag at the front of the store – there is huge pickpocketing issues here and yet people tend to be good about not taking things like your shopping cart.
Josh went out in the ‘hood looking for a printer this afternoon but the computer store was closed. So we decided around 5ish to head to Passeig La Gracia to go to FNAC (pronounced exactly as it looked). Side note, as I write this, Sailor just started drinking Josh’s Jack n Coke… that sneaky puppy!!! So we met Josh down at the Joanic metro station – about a 5 min walk from our flat. 2 stops later we were at Passeig de Gracia. Another 5 min walk and we were by FNAC but the kids needed supper at this point so yes, once again we went with an all-American treat…this time McDonalds. The kids RARELY eat fast food at home and now they have had it 2 times this week. Lucky kids. This McDonalds on a Sat night was hoppin’!! Overwhelming even!!
Ok, so enough about McD’s. We went to FNAC. It’s in a shopping plaza (that also houses Sephora!!). We had no idea where the entry to the actual store was but it turned out the 2nd floor is FNAC (could have also been the 3rd but we didn’t venture up there). We found the printers and then had to figure out where to pay. We saw lines galore. Looked like possibly a self pay area – but nah…what if it’s all in Spanish. And actually, this place looked like everything was written in Catalan which I really can’t interpret as well as Spanish.
So we get in line, hand over the printer, hand over the credit card, hand over the ID (whenever you use a credit card/debit card they ALWAYS ask for ID). Josh shows his US license and she starts speaking rapidly in Spanish. Josh just nods his head. We finally understand that the license is not enough – we need a passport. Now I’ve only been here a few days and only have used my debit card 2x and at the same place but they took my license. Josh was here for 3 weeks before me and did not have this issue at all. So I say, “dinero” (cash)? She said “si” and Josh goes off to hunt for an ATM while I sit with the kids. Finally, after about 15 minutes Josh returns and we pay cash for our printer and head back to the metro.
On the way to the metro I just want to point out the fashion here. Everyone tells me how fashionable the people of Barcelona are… I’m just not seeing it. Either that or I missed it by 20 years because these people LOVE the 80s. Maybe the 80s are making a comeback? In FNAC I actually saw someone with crimped hair. I saw someone wearing purple ankle boots. I saw skin tight jeans…some that were shiny! I saw gold sequins tank tops in stores. I even saw someone with a banana clip in her hair (remember those?). Anyways, I’m going to have to find some tighter jeans, some sequins tops and some ankle boots to fit in here apparently!
Ok, so our round trip to FNAC took us about 2 ½ hrs. Can I just mention here that at home, Staples is less than ½ mile from my house and if I were home, it would have taken about 10 minutes round trip to buy the printer? Oh and I almost forgot, on our way getting on the metro to come home, there was a turnstile (I don’t remember that before) and I got stuck in it with Liam in the stroller. I managed to push his stroller under it because the handle was caught on the wrong side. A very nice woman behind me helped me and told me to go under – she said I needed to be faster… like I didn’t know that. The wheel got caught and that’s why I wasn’t fast enough. But it was an experience just the same. Shortly after, Liam got out of the stroller and I was carrying it down the stairs and a nice guy held his hand going down the stairs. You would NEVER see anyone, much less a man (he was probably late 20s early 30s) holding a small child’s hand to go down the stairs of a T station. Hell, at home they might have pushed him down the stairs!! Sorry, but it’s true – I remember getting pushed up the stairs at Back Bay before!!
Off to chill out for the night. We are thinking of hitting this place for brunch tomorrow – we heard it’s great. Will let you know. http://www.milkbarcelona.com/indexFlash.html#

Have a great night!

Julie

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