First on the agenda was filing a police report about Ola’s lost or stolen passport. We headed to the nearest police office but they said we had to go to the touristic police, which was up near a main plaza, perfect since we wanted to check out the “Imperial McDonald’s”. We stopped to check out the chandelier-strung McDonald’s whose walls were lined in mirror and trimmed in gold leafed carved wood molding. Even the seating was fancy, executive style office chairs. Up the street we filled out the police report and then went looking for a tiny bookstore that is famous for the stair case in the middle of the shop, where a scene in one of the Harry Potter movies was filmed. You approach the symmetrical staircase climbing up, through a tunnel-like part when you reach the landing you have to turn 180 and you can either go up either to the left or right. Both parts lead to the same landing in the middle where you take a few more steps up to another landing that splits left and right. The steps have been painted red and the whole structure is made entirely from some exotic wood in a very whimsical, wobbly, curvy form.
Unfortunately after a surge in tourists coming to take pictures and rudely knocking over books and not straightening them up, they have banned taking photos so Ola and I sat on some chairs and I sketched the stairs and then looked at some huge books of architecture and sketches by architects which cost just over 100 Euros.
Since Ola didn’t have a chance to go to the wine cellars yesterday before they had closed, we crossed the Eiffel bridge to the area where the Bodegas are. We wanted an English language tour so we had to ask at several, most didn’t have any English tours left for the day so we entered one bodega giving a Spanish language tour of the wine cellars and bottling area. The lady spoke pretty fast and with a Portuguese accent so I’m not sure how well Ola understood the explanations. It was pretty cool to see footage of guys on boats that look like bigger versions of the gondolas in Venice, coming down the river/rapids bringing 10 or 15 barrels of port wine from the mountain vineyards to the coast where the sweet, aguardiente laced wine could be shipped out.
When we got back to the Hostel the French lady staying in the bunk beside us invited us to a reggae concert at the Casa de Musica. I was worn out and just wanted to cook some food and relax but it sounded like it could be a nice time plus it has been a few months since I went to a concert so I cooked some food and ate. When I was cleaning up the kitchen the two Americans from the other bunk in our room invited us to the concert also. After everyone relaxed for a few minutes we caught the metro to the concert. Everyone had to stop and buy a metro pass before we could enter but the French lady said she already had one; when we all swiped out cards she just walked past, later she said the game is not paying for the metro, which I am sort of in agreement with since it was almost two Euros for a quick ride.
The Casa de Musica seemed like a real concert hall so I thought that it was going to be a weird setup for a reggae concert but it turned out that after paying our 8 euros to get in we went to a smaller side concert venue inside the building which was filled with fog and lit red but we hadn’t missed any of the concert though we had arrived “late”.
Usually when I have been to concerts in the US there are some lesser known bands that play first; here it has been only one band, the one advertised. I had no idea about the lyrics to the songs but the music was great and the band was entertaining. I was also entertained by the professional and amateur photographers with their big cameras; especially interesting was the official looking photographer with his huge 70-200mm L series lens, which seemed like a lot of zoom for being so close.