Almost Like South America

Trip Start Mar 14, 2004
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The airlines here in Europe have this clever scam to get people to fly more.  They offer super discounted tickets on the internet only to charge the hell out you for their other "services".  For me, it went something like this.  I searched Ryanair.com for a flight from London to Barcelona.  How convenient, there was an internet special running ... which probably runs all the time... for $50 dollars to get there and JUST ONE CENT to return! 
Fantastic, letīs go to Spain!  Who can go anywhere for just a penny, I thought.  So I clicked to continue buying the ticket.  The next screen informed me that taxes will also be $50 dollars.  Crap.  Well, I guess the surefire concept of "death and taxes" applies to Europeans as well so I can live with that.  Click.  The next screen asked me a number of questions and I soon realized this is why the "flight" was so cheap.  And this is where things got ugly.  So this is my version, the way I saw it, as I proceeded to answer the following questions:
"Are you traveling with a bag...you know, actual luggage so you will have some clothes to wear when you get there?"  Well, thatīs gonna be $28 dollars
"Are you going to need to talk to an actual person to check your bag that we just charged you $28 dollars for?"  Well, that costs $20 dollars.  Bastards!
"Are you using the internet to get the special price thatīs only available on the internet?"  Thatīll be a $10 dollar maintenance fee.
"Do you want the travel insurance that we highly recommend?"  NO, piss off.  Iīm not giving you anymore of my money.  $0.00 dollars. 
"Are you paying by credit card?"  Thatīs a $4 dollar surcharge.  And finally, the ticket was mine at triple the cost as advertised.  Great scam eh?
So I arrived in Barcelona Spain only to realize that I was back in South America again.  Or so it seemed... I was surrounded by some weird version of Spanish and walking the narrow streets reminded me of the dozens of colonial towns and villages Iīd seen in places like Cartegena Colombia.  Itīs so obvious for me now to see that the Spanish exported not only their language, but architecture and poor city planning techniques as well.
Actually the city is really nice and thereīs some cool stuff to see like the Temple of Sagrada Familia., a huge basilica designed by Spainīs famous architectural madman, Antoni Gaudi.  The thing has been under construction since 1882....over a hundred years and itīs still not finished.  Gaudi is long since dead but construction continues.  At the rate theyīre going, they think they can have it wrapped up by 2026 but some say another 80 years may be needed if you take afternoon siestas into account.
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