I took a 10 hour night bus from Lyon to Barcelona. The bus was nearly empty, which meant it was quiet and allowed me take two seats to sleep on. But if there's anything I learned this month of nonstop traveling, is that buses, chairs, and bus seats, were not meant to be sleep on.
I woke up around 8am and enjoyed recognizing the view outside my window. Wide streets lined with tall modernist buildings, metro stops at every corner among outdoor terrazas, and urgent tourists finishing their buttery croissants and cortados. I now cherish the tiniest bit of familiarity; anything that will free me from a speck of hesitation. This good feeling was cut shortly as soon as I climbed off the bus because my phone began giving error messages, rendering it useless. I also could not remember whether I had already bought my bus ticket for Madrid. I tried looking in my large wallet where I kept all my other boarding passes and maps, but found nothing, and because my phone wasn't working I couldn't check my email.
It seemed strange that I wouldn't have a ticket purchased already, since I was leaving that night, but I figured I didn't purchase one online because I knew I would be arriving that morning at the bus station and could avoid the online fee by buying it at the station. I went ahead and bought a very expensive ticket (my savings plan didn't work) and then climbed on the metro. My phone miraculously grabbed wifi for a second and I was able to text my roomy Alex between error messages and tell her I was on my way.
I made it to the house and Alex went to sleep since she had worked the night shift. First thing I did was scour the luggage I had left behind for my sneakers and what a difference they made on my hurt foot that day! A couple of hours later Alex was up and we went out to spend the day together. We went to Kiosk and ordered our favorite chicken burgers, which we ate on a lawn next to a lively street band. Unlike France, the weather was pleasant in Barcelona; the scorching August heat had passed, making way for a slight cool breeze and shy sun. The day was perfect.
Afterwards, Alex and I went to the CCCB (luckily it was Sunday so we snagged free entrance) to see the photography exhibition of Mexican artist Lourdes Grobet titled “Lucha libre. Retratos de familia."
The exhibition was fantastic, capturing the private lives of luchadores and luchadoras and bringing viewers right into their salas and comedores. The images of the luchadoras in particular were striking: a luchadora in a silver mask feeding her baby, another dressed in a sexy red and black ensemble posing with her two little boys who stand by her hip, and even a luchadora in a gray mask and her blue police uniform, her left hand on her hip and a loaded gun on her right.
The brother of a friend of Alex’s, who had recently arrived from Ecuador, met up with us at the CCCB, and more importantly, joined in on a photoshoot with us in luchadores masks. Afterwards we drank cañas at a terraza before Alex and I left for the apartment. Alex had a boyfriend date followed by work, so after her nap, I said goodbye to my Romana perfecta, maybe for the last time.
And so it begins, saying goodbye to people I’ve known for longer than a week, and to the places I’ve roamed, got lost in, and lived semi-permanently at a project country.