The Silver Lining
They say there is always a silver lining in the things you go through in life. Maybe it’s a way for us to take what is good out of a situation, focusing on the one positive thing in order to help us get through bad times more quickly. When I got robbed in Barcelona, in that exact moment there wasn’t a silver lining. I thought it would take forever to get through it, hurting my morale for a good length of my trip. And getting robbed for the second time was just having me say to life, “come on, give me a break!”
But then came Jaimee. We met the next day at the hostel (or same day if you take into account I was robbed at 4 am)after she heard me crying at the front desk while asking for directions to the police station. She had also been robbed just minutes before me on the same beach. We spent our first few days working on replacing everything that was taken, from credit cards to passports. We both got through the many phone calls and emails we had to make and survived getting lost on trips guided by maps and not our iPhones. We began our journey upwards out of our weird funk, buying some cans and a deck of cards one night, blasting some rap music while we played rounds of the card game speed, finally able to loosen up after a few rough days. Our time in Barcelona was coming to an end, however. I was headed to Madrid and she was off to Valencia. But after spending the past three days with Jaimee I didn’t want to leave her. As a backpacker, you understand that when you find someone great, that often outweighs any plans you may have had and you do what you can to stick together.
So, I followed her to Valencia to do a re-do of Spain in a more positive light. We hopped on a four hour bus to Valencia and made our way to Urban Youth Hostel. Thursday seemed to be the day that everyone checked in because everyone in our room had just arrived. Canada, England, Spain, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, San Francisco. It was a pretty international group. Four of us had decided the next day to do our own little pub crawl on the way to the Old Town where many historical buildings were. A 45 minute walk definitely called for stops at bars along the way, breaking up the 45 minute walk in to small increments. Any time someone had to go pee, we would say, why not? Time for another beer. We posed in front of monuments, took selfies, and found our way to a tower that overlooked the city. The beautiful Spanish houses painted different colors and the signature red rooftops looked amazing from atop. We took a seat on a ledge, played some music while we sipped our tall cans and peered out at the scenery in front of us. It was one of those moments that you pause from life and really take time to be grateful for being alive. It was carefree. simple. Nothing mattered but the feeling of happiness that moment brought.
The next day came along and Jaimee and I headed to the beach to soak up the sun. The weather was perfect where sitting on the beach for hours wouldn’t have you bathing yourself in Aloe Vera when you got home. The sand contrasted from that of Barcelona’s. It was actual beach sand created by the Ocean whereas Barcelona’s sand had been imported from the Sahara Desert for the 1992 Olympic games. Rather than your feet being covered in dust from a stroll on Barcelona’s beach, the sand in Valencia felt smooth to walk on. We brought our books to read but hardly used them as we just talked for hours about our lives and random thoughts. We discussed everything in such a constant flow , time seemed to slip away. Before you knew it was time for dinner so we went off searching for a place along the beach serving Valencia’s famous dish Paella. We ate a half seafood, half vegetarian Paella, basically for the experience but we both agreed it wasn’t a dish that blew our mind.
Along the stroll home, Jaimee had finally gotten to the point where it was time to pick an orange from one of the many orange trees that are seen throughout Valencia. She jumped a few times, trying to get an orange from the tree and we were met by a lady shouting, “don’t eat the oranges!”. We looked and found an American lady with her daughter walking her two dogs. Apparently eating the oranges along the roads gives people the runs. We had passed by these orange trees the past three days and never thought to question how we saw not one person going to pick oranges from the trees. Thankful for her saving us a night on the toilet, we walked with the lady and her daughter to our homes living just up the road from one another. Jaimee and I settled in and began round two faze of preparing for a night out in Valencia.
We got dolled up to some Calle 13,setting the mood for the night. We headed downstairs to pour some drinks when we noticed the entire downstairs of our hostel had been rented out for a bachelorette party. Penis necklaces, flower crowns, devil ears and an assortment of costumes were worn by the women. Jaimee and I took a seat at the only table not being used by the party, which was centered right in front of all the action. Soon the lights turned off and Arabic music began to play. A beautiful Spaniard belly dancer came out and started performing right in front of us, dancing around the room with her silver cane. We clapped our hands, jaws wide open clearly stunned at the way she moved in her beautiful pink belly dancing attire. She was followed by a magician who came out to do tricks and we sat and watched our free entertainment as we pregamed. The things that happen when you travel often become much more than what you originally had planned, where a simple pregame sesh turned into live entertainment and a peek into how Spaniards get down before tying the knot.
After watching the performances, we headed off in a mob of ten to a place called Mia. I walked with two Spanish girls, agreeing I could only speak Spanish to them while they could only speak English to me so that we both could practice and learn eachother’s languages. After a few gin and tonics at the hostel and to-go cups with a variety of alcohol for the walk to the club, my Spanish speaking skills seemed to be more advanced than I had even known. What should have been a ten euro entrance fee somehow turned into me saying I was on the guestlist and just getting in for free. The venue was pretty cool, two rooms were packed with tourists and locals. Jaimee and I constantly changed rooms, dancing all around excited that we finally had our night out in Spain. We didn’t get back until 5am the next morning, typical for a night out in Spain.
The next day came and I walked Jaimee to the bus stop where we would part ways. We hugged each other and I watched as the bus took my new friend away, leaving me behind in a city filled with memories of our adventures together. I had found my silver lining. Jaimee.