BCN0: Barcelona Bound

[The BCN series of posts is an edited transcript of my journal entries during my recent trip to Barcelona, June 26 - July 9]

Day 0
The trip begins inauspiciously. As I feverishly pack the morning of my departure, I have a premonition of a final journey being made.

I arrive at the Kelowna International Airport and am told that a ticket has not been issued for my itinerary and that I would be unable to fly. The owner of my travel agency leaves his cottage to check on my itinerary at his office in Edmonton. I also marshal the hospital security guards to check my itinerary--which I left in my office--containing my ticketing information. Ultimately, I make it aboard my YLW-YVR flight because its arrival is delayed by a security breach in Vancouver.

I invoke a prayer as we taxi: "B'ism Allah ar Rahman w'il Raheem." Anyone who knows me, an avowed atheist who never practised Islam, knows how unlike me this is.

The flight delay forces a tight connection in YVR. I walk briskly from C38 to D70, trotting the last 50m. My bags couldn't have made the flight. I'm on my way to Frankfurt.

Perhaps my prayer worked. Perhaps I only lost my baggage rather than my life. Annoyingly, the thought comforts me.

Over Iceland, I'm summoned to respond to a passenger suffering chest pain. I'm the second responder, the first being a male nurse from Germany. We get some oxygen on him. I get him to chew on an aspirin tablet. I give him some nitrolingual. The automated defibrillator cardiogram doesn't show any ST segment elevation or T wave changes suggesting no heart attack is underway. He's tachycardic, his heart racing along at 130, with pretty good pressures despite the two doses of nitro. I decide to give him a beta blocker, but could find none in the med kit on the plane, so I canvass the passengers and get five to choose from. I give him a dose of bisoprolol. I don't have to scuttle the flight. The chest pain subsides, and we complete the flight.

I finally get to Barcelona, though my bags don't. I go to the flat I've rented and am duly impressed. I go for a walkabout in my neighborhood and discover hip clothing stores, a produce stand, a couple of grocery stores, some promising looking restaurants, and a pretty tree-lined boulevard starting a couple of doors down from my building. A cheese shop: Tot Formatge. A sausage and cured meat shop: Botafareria. Very promising. And my very own kitchen. I stay up til 2300h to try to synch myself on Barcelona time.

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