Friday, November 23, 2007

Girls' Night

Having survived the Japanese Lunch in Spanish, the girls from my Spanish class decided to move on to evening fare. Last weekend was our first girls' night. There were five of us: Simona, a forthright Romanian beauty who's always up for anything; Valerie, a lovely French school teacher who is the personification of a conspiratorial wink; Yukiko, of Japanese descent, a luminous corporate consultant with the soul of an artist; Vanessa, a vibrant Brazilian knock-out capable of killing a man with her bare hands for looking at her sideways; and me, the food girl from Canada.

We started out at Mudanzas Cafe/Bar (C/ Vidrieria 15, 93 319 1137), one of the few places you can get a drink and a seat at 9pm on a Saturday night in the Born. We talked a lot about boys and a little about men.

Then, we moved on to Habana Vieja (C/ Banys Vells 2, 93 268 2504) for Cuban food. It's a good spot. Very relaxed with simple, flavourful dishes: roast meats, black beans, rice and fried bananas. All intended for sharing, family style. We shed a tear for the ropa vieja (shredded beef), of which nothing remained by the time we arrived. So it goes. The waiters made up for it by being very sweet...and Cuban.

But the highlight of the night was Harlem Jazz Club (pictured above, C/ Comtessa de Sobradiel 8, 93 310 0755), one of my favourite Barcelona bars. Cool, relaxed, always fun, with a completely mixed and unpretentious crowd between 20 and 70 years of age. For a 7 euro entry fee on weekends you get to see live jazz (or soul or funk or Latin) and they give you a free drink when you present your ticket at the bar. Concert listings appear at

It was at Harlem Jazz Club that Vanessa and I saw our principe azul. We needed a break from the dance performance inspired by Down Home, the jazz/swing band playing that night, so we went outside to get a little air. He was standing directly across the way from where we sat down. He had a bass slung across his back and a little bit of a beard. He was wearing a jean jacket and cargo pants. It was hard to tell how old he was. Maybe late twenties, early thirties. Definitely hot. Vanessa and I were staring at him, not all that discreetly. But it was o.k. because he was staring back. First he would look at one of us, then at the other, then back at the first and then the other. And so it went, until Vanessa and I worked out a schedule for seeing him (alternating days Monday to Saturday, shared Sundays). After that, we couldn't restrain ourselves from collapsing into giggles. I think he smiled. Maybe not. Eventually his friend came out and they walked off. We could have run after them, I suppose. But we didn't. Well, I held Vanessa back by her belt loops.

Shortly after, we all headed home, exhausted. Vanessa, who lives outside of Barcelona, stayed over at my place. We both dreamt of our bass playing principe azul.

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