Photo Credit: Pixabay
Dateline: Poblenou, Barcelona, Spain
By Chiogor Constance Ikokwu
Have you ever set out on a journey or mission with a rigid set of goals but encountered an entirely unexpected turn of events? I hear you loud and clear, shaking that head and saying, aha!! That’s exactly what happened to me this weekend.
I rang an acquaintance named Joe (not real name) to set up a meeting regarding an event I am planning for the end of the year. Joe is a fine gentleman who has been helpful in the past. He’s quite professional, knowledgeable and forthcoming with counsel and information. He accepted to see me without hesitation. “Let’s meet at 9 pm,” he says. Although this was pretty late for me, my response was a resounding yes.
Who was I to haggle over time with a busy executive who was has been generous with guidance and direction? Moreover, Barcelona is a city with a culture of late nights. People start eating dinner at 10 pm!!! That’s a story for another day.
I assumed that we would be meeting in one of the many cafés that dot the city. Oh, how wrong I was. The instruction was to meet him outside Poblenou metro station, without disclosing the particular venue. No problem, I said.
On the afternoon of the day, I get a message on my phone asking my preference for meat or fish and what type of wine I like. Wait a minute. What? My mind exploded with questions. Are we having a dinner date or what? Is this something more? Did I sound like someone who wanted more than just grabbing a coffee to talk? Am I being irrational asking too many questions right now? Should I go with the flow? Oh, blimey!
I had to shut down the questions. My response? “I prefer fish. No wine for me, please. Water will be fine.” So, I waited for the day with riotous thoughts.
An hour before our meeting, he writes to say we should meet at 9.30pm instead. “Ok, no problem,” I muttered. At 9.30, Joe appears with two sizeable bags and I’m thinking, what in the world is going on? Where is he coming from? We exchange greetings and start walking. After five minutes, I ask: “where are we going, please? “It’s nearby. We’re almost there. You’ll see,” he retorts gleefully.
To be honest, it had been a long day. I was exhausted. My imagination baited me with pictures of my warm bed. Also, I was hungry. In a few minutes, it dawns on me that we’re trekking to the beach. Yes, you heard me. The BEACH. Now, there are groups of people in view, some sitting on the well-mowed lawn of the parks before the beach.
Behold the sea in front of us finally. I couldn’t believe it. The revealing thing was that we were not alone. I was astonished to see so many people eating, chatting, drinking, walking, lovers speaking in hushed tones, others swimming, etc. I know that Barcelona is a lively city. But going to the beach at night when it’s not a festival? Naaaa. This is new to me.
Joe tells me with a smile that he comes here regularly. Of course, he does. Now, it occurs to me that I should have figured out the destination from the metro stop, Poblenou. Poblenou is a district of Barcelona that borders the Mediterranean sea. The area underwent a massive transformation during the 1992 Olympic games and has continued to develop, attracting young professionals and artists.
Back to the main gist: remember those sizeable bags? The dude had everything in them. Towel, blanket, food (salad, main meal, dessert), wine, water and, glasses. He spreads the blanket on the sand. I collapse on the sand out of tiredness. My legs were so glad to retire temporarily. He lays out the contents of the bag and pours out the wine. We start eating.
I am chewing, talking and confused. I came armed with a small notebook containing all the things I wanted to discuss. For me, this was supposed to be a sort of business meeting. Now, I’m at the beach in the dead of night, eating a three-course meal, being massaged by the sea breeze and watching the gentle waves crash on the shoreline. The setting is more of romance than business. I could not reconcile it. Or maybe there was nothing to reconcile.
I summoned the courage to pull out my notebook. I’m not going home without achieving my goal. I fired off all the questions written down. True to himself, Joe the gentleman answered without any inhibition whatsoever. This turned out well. Maybe, it was still a business meeting in an unusual setting. I can hear some of you saying “ya, right.” LOL.
It’s almost midnight. I announce my intention to retire for the night. We pack up and head back to the metro station. There, we wave each other goodbye.
The experience was awesome. I am happy to have been initiated into the club of night beachgoers. Am I plotting a return? Hell, yes!! Next time it’s going to be with a group of friends. It’s so calm and soothing. There’s a healing effect in nature, I must say. Please try it in your city but be sure it’s safe. If you’re visiting Barcelona, I advise that going to the beach at night should be on your list of things to do.
What do you all think of this encounter? Would you go to the beach at night? Was I thinking too much of it in the beginning? Or am I being naïve right now? What would you have done if you were in my shoes?
Let the conversation being in the comment box. Till next week, enjoy!