I am dead tired, but I finally got here. I did have quite a bit of good luck in Atlanta, however. As I was waiting for the plane to depart, a steward came up beside my seat, grabbed me by the shoulder, and whispered into my ear, "How'd you like to fly up front?" The flight was overbooked, they needed my aisle seat, so I was upgraded on the spot to business class. If you've ever flown business class on an intercontinental flight, you know that it is many times as luxurious as so-called first class on domestic flights. I was served a gourmet supper and breakfast with unlimited Heineken beer. My seat extended into a flat bed, although I stayed up all night reading and didn't take advantage of it.
Barcelona certainly seems dingy compared to the way I remember it. You notice from the lack of maintenance that the country has fallen on hard times. I took the train into town from the airport (about one tenth the price of the airport bus) and was surprised at how dilapidated the airport train station was.
I find the people here mostly very friendly, even if I cant understand a word they say when they talk among themselves. My Spanish is pretty good, but most people here speak Catalán to each other, which is the preferred language all down the Mediterranean coast. They are happy to switch to Spanish for me, however, with one exception. When I asked the shuttle bus driver at the airport which was the stop for the train station, he answered in Catalán.
I am very tired after missing a night's sleep, so I hope what I've written makes sense. I hope to have something more interesting to write tomorrow.