"I am Thomas and these are my 'Body Shots.' "
09.09.2007 - 14.09.2007 24 °C
The streets are filled, the beaches packed, hostels overbooked and a complete vibe of insanity is about. With a road trip down Mexico on the agenda for next year, and my Spanish being almost as bad as my Indonesian I made the slightly rash decision to set myself up in this tourist run metropolis. Work for a month or two, improve my Spanish and then have enough cash to laze away some Moroccan sunsets after a surf and Tajine, before trotting off to Ireland. The work came fairly easy; an Aussie bar called Hogan's on the Rambla. Good hours, half price drinks and 8 screens constantly playing the Rugby World Cup, what more could a guy ask for?
The best thing about Barcelona is that there is always something happening, wether it be a man dressed in plastic bottles pointing a gun at you;
A street Protest for Catalan Day;
Luminous girafes and elephants powered on gas trotting down The Rambla or the International Breakdance Group putting on a street concert.
Anyone that has been to Barcelona will tell you over the street performers that line The Rambla, dressed up as anything from Incredible Hulk, to the Grudge. When work is over, and shopping needs to be done, whats the point in going home to get changed when the supermarket is just across the road? So don't be surprised to see the Incredible Hulk in the Cold Meats section of the Monoprix supermarket just off The Rambla.
In search of a postcard for 'the sis' I wondered into a small boutique just off The Rambla and overheard these two girls speaking English at the counter. Having no plans for that afternoon and thinking to myself, what's there to loose, I asked them if they knew of a good place for coffee. Lucky enough they were just heading to get some and invited me to come, sweet as. It turned out the girls were from Finland and Sweden, work for European modelling agencies and had just been flown into Barcelona for a month to do some shoots. We spent the entire afternoon in a little restaurant by the port talking about life, travels and Barcelona. Then Steph asked me what I was doing that night, I said nothing and she asked would I like to, go to a restaurant/club called Buddha Bar for a free three course meal, beer, wine, champagne and music.
Would i like like to? I'd love to!
The only catch was I had to say my name was Thomas, I was a model for Sweden and was working for the agency L'Arencia in Barcelona. With the Year 8 Drama award under my belt, I was sure I could pull it off.
At 9:30pm we met near the restaraunt, ran over the details and walked in. We were immediatley greeted by a very happy and very gay Spanish man;
"Ah! 'ere are ze beautiful girlz and boy, welcome to Modelz Night." (Proceeding to kiss both the girls on the cheek and look me up and down and shake my hand.)
"Ze bar is open, ze uther models 'ave not arrived yet, proceed." Walking down the steps towards the bar all I could think about how good this was; the place was amazing. Small couches and tables surrounded the dimly lit bar; with Buddhas filling in the spaces, there was even a heavily cushioned 'lounge swing' that slowly rocked back and forth.
We hit the bar, and it was damn lucky the drinks were free, or I would have been out of cash after the first beer.
Then from behind us came a;
"Oh I am sorry could I get your names to cross off ze list." The girls replied and he turned to me.
With my free $14 Heiniken in hand and a small smile across my face,
"Thomas." I replied, and I was in.
We spent half an hour sitting amongst cushions, our feet on poofs, drinking away, until we were invited to the table. There were 8 of us and it turned out that I had come with the only girls who came that night, from the moment I sat down at the table I felt like I was in 'Zoolander'. There were 5 'other' male models at the table, two from Senegal, living in Paris, one from Belgium, one from Holland and an American. We wined and dined; on easily the best food I have eaten on this trip, and our table's personal waiter was always ready to fill up my wine glass or get another beer.
The highlight however was when the American leaned over Steph to talk to me;
"So how long have you been modelling for?"
"A year now, first time in Barcelona though." I took a deep breath, it felt like it was going well.
"So do you do body shots?" Unsure as to what the hell body shots were, and hoping it didn't mean complete nudity I said,
"Yeh, just body shots."
Then suddenly, the strongly built 21 year old American began to break down in front of me;
"Really? Like how do you stay in shape? Do you eat well? Like your drinking lots of beer, is that going to affect you? Like, I go to the gym a lot, and go running. My agency wants me to do body shots, but I'm still new at all this stuff. See the other guys they have it easy, they just do face shots, I don't know, it's kind of stressing me."
I sat there, staring at this guy, and all I could hear was this voice in my head saying;
"You have GOT to be kidding me!" Whilst he looked at me, waiting for my response.
Trying to keep myself from laughing I replied;
"Yeh well it's tough, but you'll get there. Just make sure your eating well, it's a lot harder in a foreign country where your unsure about which foods are good for you. So just keep up the sport, there are lots of gyms and pools around, I usually just head down for a swim each morning."
Nodding, the American leant back into his chair, obviously reflecting on my 'words of wisdom'.
Steph just looked at me shaking her head, and laughed.
The night was spent talking 'modelling' and I just spent my time, sitting back drinking my free wine, listening as they talked about shoots, stars, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, Vogue and anything else in between and honestly the general conversation was pretty boring, with awkward silences being the theme.
Lucky I had Steph next to me and we just chatted about her life in Sweden, and my planned trip to Tunisia. We even recieved some live entertainement from a couple of breakdancers, that danced around the restaurant.
An amazing night, mainly because it was a world so different to the little surf town I grew up in, in country Western Australia.
I've spent the past 4 days just organising work, packing my bag for Tunisia and wandering the lively streets and palm tree courtyards of Barcelona with Steph,
Garrett in Barcelona;