Don’t Let Drunk People Decide How to Get Home
It was my first day of a month in Spain. There I was, sitting at the Carmel Bunkers in Barcelona: a viewing point where the sunset was like fire shining onto the city below and the graffiti talent was strong. Smells of dirt and wine – alongside the occasional waft of weed smoke – carried on the breeze.
By the time the sun had slipped away, there seven only seven of us left to admire the beauty and pick up all the wine bottles forgotten by the already-departed group that we were about to follow. The glasses clinked dangerously as we climbed down from the huge concrete slab onto the dirt path that would start our journey back to our hostel.
I’m glad I wore my sneakers, I thought to myself as I nearly rolled my ankle for the third time on the descent. I’m not even drunk, damn it!
A few of the classier girls amongst us screamed out to “WAIT!” so they could run into the darkness and answer nature’s call in the nearby bushes. My mind drifted into the dark abyss that is my thoughts as my brain decided to remind me that this is how horror movies start.
Of our pack of seven, four were drunk, three were sober – and everyone knows what it’s like being sober in the presence of super wasted people. Just avoid it at all costs.
Because we had taken a taxi to the Bunkers from our hostel, we had no idea how to get to the metro station. It was dark and quiet. We hadn’t seen a car drive past for at least 20 minutes. We were following maps on our phones, walking past house after house that were all identical, if not for the occasional graffiti.
“Ooh, look at that one!” I’d shout, ever impressed with the simplest of things.
Somehow, we managed to get entirely lost walking down the same street, so the sober lot made the executive decision to catch a bus. According to maps, there was one that could take us almost all the way back to the hostel, and the stop was only about 15 minutes away. By this point, it was about 10pm, and we started walking: a group of mostly intoxicated Australians truly living up to the tourist stereotype of loud, obnoxious and drunk.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a bus came to a stop only a few metres behind us.
“That’s not the one we need,” I said. This bus was heading to Plaça Catalunya. Unfortunately, everyone who was drunk decided boarding it would be an awesome idea, recognising the familiar name of the landmark. But though it was familiar, it was very far from our hostel.
“Ugh could they just not?” I remarked.
Not wanting to split the group or leave the drunks to fend for themselves, we sobers, feeling exasperated, hopped on too.
Though this bus was indeed headed to Plaça Catalunya, it decided on a whim to break down halfway there. After some mumbling about what words they knew in Spanish, the drunk few pieced together something that I’m sure sounded reasonable in their heads.
“QUE LE FUCK?!” they chanted like seagulls. One old lady on the bus shushed at us.
“Literally the most embarrassing thing ever,” I whispered to the sober girl next to me. She agreed, and yet, we couldn’t help but laugh anyway.
After 20 minutes of waiting, the driver told us all to get off. It being day one, so knowing next-to-none of the local languages, the whole group traded concerned sentiments.
“What do we do now?” Everyone gathered on the footpath, moving like a school of fish.
“I guess we just wait here? These people don’t seem to be going anywhere fast,” I said to the group, who all nodded their heads in agreement.
After waiting for what seemed like forever, with the somehow-still-drunk few dancing, singing and chanting between fits of giggling, a second bus arrived. We all looked at each other horrified as the brakes squeaked menacingly, but we got on anyway.
“It’ll be better than trying to find another way back,” I said to reassure myself more than anyone else.
Luckily, we made it the rest of the way to Plaça Catalunya without a worry, safe in the knowledge that we could catch the metro train to our desired station of Poblenou, which was only a short walk to the hostel. We smiled at each other, spirits lifted. But when we reached the stairs to the underground at about 12:30am, the gates at the bottom of the stairs were closed.
Profanities rang out from our mouths as we berated ourselves for forgetting it was a public holiday. Hanging our heads in defeat, we decided to spend the extra cash and just get a taxi home.
“I want Maccas first,” the much-less-drunk but now-very-hungry girls sang in unison.
“Of course,” I laughed to myself. “How could I forget a Maccas run?”
The time it took us to catch a taxi was insane, which was probably amplified by the fact that we needed a seven-seater.
“Hey! There’s one,” I yelled to the group. We ran as fast as we could, with our arms up in the air.
“I swear if we don’t get this taxi, I’m going to cry,” I thought to myself. The car stopped in front of us, and relief flooded by body.
“Shit, shit, shit,” one of the girls said as she looked inside. “There’s only six seats.”
After all that work, we had to split the group anyway. Being the selfish, sober, extremely tired person I was, I announced that I would be taking the one already here. Those who were left hailed another taxi.
The sigh of relief I let out when I walked through the hostel doors was loud and long. Sleeping in the next morning felt like the best thing I’d ever done. Despite being frustrated at having let drunk people decide our route home the night before, I figured it still could’ve been worse. But for next time, lesson learned: bail early, and find my own way home!
Photos by Gemma Clarke