Today I went for a walk in the Born neighborhood of Barçelona with the intent of eating at a restaurant that served some friend seafood. I was really looking forward to sampling the seafood offerings especially the tiny fishes called ….
On the net they said it closed at 4pm. I got there at just before 3pm and the guy behind the bar said cerrado. I wanted to cry. I’ve been feeling weepy these last few days so any disappointment brings tears to my eyes. I wanted to yell at him that, that was not what the internet said. But all Spanish words failed me. I felt the tears close to the surface so I left. I really don’t like being the weepy woman. I walked around the neighborhood looked at the interesting old architect. I’m not even going to bother with the pictures tonight. I can only do one technology failed post at a time. I don’t want to have a meltdown because I couldn’t share the pictures I took.
So I walked around and checked out the local stores, lots of made in Barcelona items so I know where to take visitors who want something non tourist like to take home. I then found a restaurant that looked interesting but I wasn’t done exploring so I made a mental note, walked around a few more streets and then went back to said restaurant. As I was looking and laughing at the menu with its hilarious translations a couple stopped looked at the price and walked in. I took a picture of the menu and followed them. As they were being seated, the head waiter came and said they were finished serving or some such thing for the day. My brain could not comprehend what he was telling me because as he was speaking the couple was still being seated. How is it that the two gentlemen could be served and I couldn’t and I was not even a minute behind them.
After being turned away for the second time, I wondered what was the problem. Today, I was dressed comfortably in jeans and sneakers with my roommates jacket. I run around Barça all week in shoes my feet needed a break and a dress would not look good with my running shoes so I reached in the back of the closet for the blue jeans. But in my mind’s eye I can see the jeans and jackets of just about everyone else so it wasn’t the way I was dressed. Was it because I looked like a young college student who possibly couldn’t afford a restaurant? The first place served tapas and there is always drink & tapas special at most tapas places and the second place advertised a prix fix lunch menu for 11.60€ so ability to pay isn’t the reason.
Then I wondered did they bought say they were closed because they didn’t want to serve a little brown woman? In my time here I haven’t felt any animosity towards me as a woman of color. And to be honest, I am usually one of the last people to notice subtle discrimination. Blatant prejudice I am able to see more quickly. At first I just brushed off today’s experience as nothing, making the excuse that the were closing, even though the first place had a full restaurant of people eating and drinking with full glasses and the second took a set of patrons not even a minute before me. I don’t want to live my life looking for slights where there is none, but perhaps it’s time I opened my eyes to subtleties that I am missing around me.
It really isn’t paranoia if they are out to get you.
Have you had experience while living or traveling in a different country or part of the world that made you open your eyes to how others see you?