Posted by: Españamanda | September 8, 2009

ups and downs

Mary Frances asked me how my day was today.

i answered, “well, it started out good, then got really bad, then got really good again”, to which she replied, “isn’t that like every day here?”  She was quite right.

For me, being in a new place like this, with a HUGE language barrier (that i’m working on improving every day) and pretty much flying solo every day, has been muy dificil.  For the past week and a half i’ve been trying to get a cell phone, because without internet at my apartment and no way of contacting anyone, at a certain time of night i have absolutely no connection to the world, aside from walking across town and knocking on Joan’s girflriend’s front door.  Getting a phone may seem like an easy venture in your home country.  However, here i have tried no less than 5 times, only to be faced with a) no one, even in a mega store in Barcelona, that speaks English, b) petulent employees, c) no phones that meet my criteria, d) crazy business hours, e) insane prices, f) fill in the blank. 

Yesterday i was supposed to meet my new friend Enri at El Corte Ingles (a big mall chain here in Espanya) to browse and hopefully buy a phone (859875th time’s a charm, right?), but what my newbie self didn’t realize was that there are two Corte de Ingles in Palma.  So, i sat at one, while she sat at the other–then we both got the brilliant idea to go look for the other person at the other location, which meant we both missed each other by mere minutes.  Grrr.  It was about 9:30 when i sat down at the Noodle Bar (recommended by my peeps at BornToLove cafe, where i spend the majority of my time drinking cafe solo and checking email), ordered a drink, and checked my email.  Enri was online and we managed to meet up for drinks and dinner, which of course turned into too many drinks and a hangover this morning.  But that’s another story…

Today i met her (with a small lingering vodka headache) at 12:30, and we went to El Corte Ingles, only to be greeted by more disinterested and annoyed salespeople.  Within 30-45 minutes we were fed up and headed back into the windy old town streets to the “Phone House”, which i had stumbled upon the night before when ambling home from my missed meeting with Enri.  There i was minutes away from signing an 18 month long contract on an LG phone with unlimited internet access and GPS–only, the salesgirl had no idea how to use the phone.  i wasn’t going to buy something before seeing how all the applications worked, so i finally threw my hands up, muttered some defeatist things like “Well, fuck it, i’m obviously not supposed to have a phone”, and “i guess i’ll just stay disconnected the rest of my life.”   Enri suggested we go to the beach and just relax, which is exactly what we did.

The beach were we went, Cala Blava, is basically a big area of reefs and tidal pools, where people lie out on the rocks and snorkle in the shallow pools.  It was crystal clear and absolutly beautiful.  It was the kind of weather today that was made for beach trips, so my irritation and anxiety quickly melted away as i swam around in the gorgeous water and then warmed myself in the sun.My friend Enri snorkeling at Cala Blava

Tonight Joan took me to Movistar, where i gave up the iPhone dream and bought an adorable little prepaid LG phone for 19 euros.  i am at least now connected (albeit expensively at 0.35 euros per minute), and will worry about ubiquitous internet later, after establishing the Spanish bank account that’s necessary to enter into any contracts (which i didn’t kow until tonight).  Por lo menos tengo un teléfono.  🙂

i’m now finishing up my 2nd glass of vino tinto at the Noodle Bar, a great restaurant/bar in my ‘hood i was unaware of until last night.  Its swanky, has great food, and stays open late.  Not to mention the wifi!  However, it is rapidly approaching midnight, so i’m gonna pack up and head back to mi apartamento before i turn into a pumpkin.  Or, as in the joke Joan told me a few days ago, my crotch turns into a slice of watermelon. 

My friend Enri snorkeling at Cala Blava

Don’t ask.



  1. My friend West had some pretty funny stories about getting phone in Japan. I suspect that you will eventually find the coolest phone ever. I really hope you can get an iphone because they rock AND you can find navigation apps specifically for your area (the GPS is great) AND you can always practice your spanish with it :).

    Hope you are having fun. It sounds like you are already having an adventure. Keep us posted and hopefully we will see you durante los días de fiesta. cocka doodely doodely doo mun!!!

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