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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Realities of High Season Travel in Spain

SPAIN | Saturday, 18 August 2007 | Views [2056]

Thousands of tourists from Euro-land and the UK Pound Sterling-land flood the shops and restaurants in Barcelona en masse in August. The US dollar is pitifully weak compared to the very nicely valued Euro and even more lucrative UK Pound Sterling. The bulk of tourists here earn salaries in either Euros or Pounds and seem to have an endless amount of discretionary money to spend by the shopping, dining and drinking behavioral observations we make day and night. The economic laws of supply and demand, and the sheer emphasis on "demand" here at this time of the year mean that restaurants have more customers than they could ever supply with goods and service. That imbalance, coupled with the fact that gratuity is automatically included in the bill, lends itself to shoddy, sub-par and often arrogant service. It's not just sub-par, we've found restaurant staff outright rude.
After having traveled all night from Egypt, arriving at 6:00 a.m., and not being able to check into our apartment until 10:00, we look to find a café to hang out at for a cup of coffee, and a seat to rest our weary bodies. We sit at a very prominent restaurant on Las Ramblas and the waiter guy refuses to acknowledge us. So I go up to ask him, in Spanish, if we could see a menu. He tells me there are no menus. So Darrin asks if we can get some coffee in English. The man, visibly annoyed to have to serve us retorts, "This is a restaurant, if you don't tell me what language you speak I do not know if you're French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and I will not serve you." So I say to him in Spanish, "I just spoke with you in spanish, so I am speaking your language, and would expect you could respond with service, in your native language." We pick up our heavy bags and move on down the road to another restaurant, where we go in, get our $15 croissant and two cafe con leche, and sit out on the street side café to wait for our room to open up.
Another wonderful experience, at 11:50 p.m., we finally sit down at a street-side café, after waiting 30 minutes for a table to free up, small enough to warrant them seating the three of us. We decide to order two paellas to share along with two one-litre huge glasses of sangria for the tree of us. Actually, quite a big volume of food and drink for us at this late hour. The waiter takes our order and comes back five minutes later to say that unless we order three large servings of everything - sangria and paella, he will not serve or seat us. So we up and leave. It's a similar experience walking into several other places. Some we can't even get to acknowledge our desire to be seated, despite going right up to them in person to ask. They rudely ignore the fact that we're even there - don't even look at us, and push us over as they walk by. We finally settle upon a "cerveceria" or beer and tapas joint on the placa below our apartment. It takes us awhile to finally get the grumpy waiter man's attention to serve us, but he eventually does, and the sangrias, tapas, and of course beer for Darrin, were just what we needed to take the edge off the service.

Tags: Misadventures


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