Barcelona, part 2.

Barcelona is beautiful. It’s clean. It’s alive. The weather is ideal. The atmosphere is chill – as in good. I especially loved the architecture. The buildings were stunning. The food was great. Well, the vegetarian food restaurants where we dined were great. I especially loved Kale & Flax, a newly opened vegetarian restaurant. The menu was so darn good, and that virus killer juice was pure goodness form the inside out. It’s probably why I did not catch a cold from all the coughing and sneezing people on the plane. I did manage to squeeze in some Paella. I had some on my last visit to Valencia in 07, and it left a great impression, so I could not leave without a taste.

kale and flax

Kale and Flax2

The hotel, Le Meredien was ideal for my budget and situation. Usually when I travel, accommodations are never a big deal for me. I’m always outdoors, so as long as I have some place safe, clean and convenient, i’m good. Of course, if I could afford luxury and 5 stars all the time, I’d accept nothing less. Le Meredien is situated in an ideal location. It’s within walking distance from the Placa de Catalunya train station and lots of great restaurants and attractions. The staff were all awesome. From concierge to front desk, every one was always smiling and offering assistance. For the price, the place was just right. I give it 4 stars.

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Life is about Yin and Yang. You gotta have the positive with the negative. The world needs balance, and not all was peachy and perfect during my short visit. So, here goes the negative. The pickpocketing! It’s absolutely insane how many people were pick pocketed, including yours truly. Yes, I was pick pocketed and did not even know. Here’s how it went down.

My new friend and I got on board the train at the Placa de Catalunya station. While we were standing on the platform, and the train was approaching, people started to push and continued to do so after the doors open. I was sandwiched by two women; one older – about 60 – behind me, and the other about thirtyish in front of me. Of course there were other people around me. However, I found it strange that these two women were on me like white on rice. I also found it more strange that they were both staring me dead in my face without so much as a blink. I thought, “what the hell is up with these creepy two.” ( of course, I later realized that the stare down was part of their distraction technique, and I fell for it )

I managed to break free and pushed my way into the train car, and my friend was just behind me. We started to make our way down the car to find a standing spot. As we got to the spot, a man came up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and said something in spanish. But he seemed so agitated that I simply thought he was upset because of the pushing and wanted to set me straight, so I replied to him, ” Si señor, ok” and to be honest, I was a bit abnoxious about it. Another young man heard what the older man said to me and he came over and said, ” I think he said someone just picked your pocket.” My mouth fell open. What the fuck? No way. Yes way. I looked down, my cross body bag was opened and my iPhone 6 Plus case with my credit cards, bank card and driver’s license were gone. Unfortunately, the train had already started to move, so we had to wait until the next stop to get off and go back to the site.

Of course they were long gone by the time we got back to the stop. While at the police station, we saw tons of people coming in to file complaints. I had the opportunity to talk with some folks and some were robbed of $2000 to 5000 Euros. All were tourists, of course. Needless to say, the rest of the evening involved police reporting, card canceling and phone deactivating.

The beauty of this all is that not once did I get upset. At first I was dumbstruck, because I did not feel a hand against me. I had no idea they were robbing me. I was so clueless. I guess because I was in such a happy and content place, the thought of being vigilant had totally eluded me. Then I felt pity. This old lady. At her age. What a life she must have to resort to blatantly robbing people in public places without fear of being hurt.  She should be home being cared for by loving grandchildren and children. That broke my heart. Then I thanked God for my Grandmother. She has been blessed with so much love from her children, grandchildren and great children.

After all was done, and even in the midst of dealing with the situation, I shook it off. “Shake if off.” Yes I did. Everything that was stolen was replaceable. Everything. There was no money taken, the cards were all cancelled, the phone was deactivated, and it had insurance. So, my grateful meter was definitely on high.

One of the lessons I learned while in the coaching sessions was the need to “shake it off” and I was able to put that into practice almost immediately. The thought of being upset and angry never once crossed my mind. This was no burden that I needed to weigh myself down with. It happened and I moved on.

This year will be all about shaking off baggage that i’ve carried around for so many years. I’m letting go, and just the thought of doing so feels so darn good. I’m living. Everything I give to God. Withholding nothing.

So, if you’re reading this and considering Spain for a get-a-way:

1. Beware of pickpockets. Don’t take that warning for granted.

2. Be vigilant. Carry your purse in front of you. Place the opening against you body.

3. If you find yourself in crowded situations, and people staring you down, reach for your purse, immediately. Staring is a distraction technique while they get into your purse.

4. Don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket. A slap on the butt and it’s gone.

5. If you do get pick-pocketed, file a police report. Your insurance company will need it to process your claim.

6. Don’t put all your money in your wallet. Separate your cash into different compartments within your purse or put some in your front pockets.

7. Backpacks are prime targets. Don’t put your money or wallets in your backpack. You won’t even know when your they collect your cash out of your bag.

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