Clavado En Un Bar
Even though it was a Sunday, I went out.
It was my last night staying in one of my favorite hostels, where there's a "sangria hour" every evening that often turns into an entire sangria-soaked night. There isn't much happening in Córdoba on a Sunday night, but a group of us traipsed down to the river and ended up sprawled at a tapas bar. I tried to order potato chips to munch with my rioja and ended up with french fries, someone else asked for the regional specialty of rabo de toro (don't ask), and we drenched everything in olive oil and salt, as one should in Spain.
I think I may turn into an olive before too long. Every time I consume olive oil here (which is daily) I'm reminded how my host family in Madrid proudly told me that Spain is the global top producer of olive oil. It's funny - a friend of mine once nicknamed me "Olive" after I wore green to our office one time too many. I try to remind myself that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest one in the world, but I think by now at least thirty percent of what's running through my veins is olive oil. I suppose there are worse fates than death by olive oil.
As we mopped up the last of the olive oil with thick slabs of bread, the clock struck twelve and the bar started to close down. We were gently ushered out with the check by the exhausted waiter. Wandering along the Guadalquivir river, not much was open. The night was quiet.
Then, we passed by a dimly-lit door, glowing green with at least fifteen silhouettes shrouded in smoke. I tried the door but it was locked. We turned away only to hear it click open and be pulled inside by the bar owner, who closed the door behind us and locked it again. Everyone was smoking inside. This is not, strictly speaking, legal, which may explain the locked door. I shrugged and ordered a beer, and so did everyone else. We talked with the owner for what must have been hours. He told us about his life and proudly showed off his guestbook, in which he's already racked up signatures from visitors from over forty countries just in 2018. Before long, there were only four of us left, two from the hostel and two locals. The night wound down as they told me why they love Andalucía so much. They said life is beautiful here, and those words rang in my head as we turned to leave.
The door was still locked.
Chances are you've heard the song "Clavado en un bar" by Maná; it's a classic, and when it comes on everyone sings along to every word. "Clavado en un bar" translates to "stuck in a bar." I'm pretty sure Maná didn't mean he was literally stuck in a bar, but the song came to mind nevertheless as the bar owner rushed over and slid the key into the lock. We fell out into the night, smelling like smoke and whiskey, and I was a little sad to be free.