Penultimate day in Barcelona and lots to do. First on the list, get my laundry done. Don’t want to be packing dirty clothes for my trip to Zaragoza.

Next, meet Eli for a farewell drink. Then, end the day with a farewell drink with Florian and Marga.

And, go and buy the Olympus Trip. Yet more detours en route to Lomography. That’s what Barcelona is. It’s a place where you find something interesting and amazing around every corner and down every side street.

The first thing that caught my eye (not while I was doing my laundry) was a sculpture of a giant head on Palau de la Musica. Looking at it face on (pun intended) one gets the impression of depth. Obviously, it’s a physical object in three dimensions. However, when you walk around it, you see that it’s basically flat and the impression of depth is exactly that, an impression. It’s a very clever optical illusion.

Just beyond the sculpture is the Palau de la Musica Catalana itself (quite literally, the Catalan Palace of Music). An amazingly ornate building in the Catalan Art Deco style of the early 1900’s which is, in fact, a concert hall. It was designed by the modernist architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner and opened in 1908. In 1997 the building gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Back along the main street, Via Laietana, and I see what looks like an ordinary office building which has, affixed to the inside of one of its groundfloor windows, nine individual photographs of the pro-independence politicians and activists imprisoned by the Spanish government in Madrid. The photos are book-ended by the very familiar yellow ribbons.

Finally, I get to Lomography. Disappointment abounds. Out of the eight Olympus Trip cameras that they have in stock, only one is without some form of external damage. And, on this one camera, the aperture blades are stuck in place. Obviously, I expected some kind of cosmetic blemishes and/or damage but, at €100.00 each (to be paid in cash only), I want something a little better than what’s on offer.

I meet Eli outside her apartment at Carrer de Sant Pere Mes. It’s right in the middle of the El Born district. What an awesome place to live. Vibrant and full of life like London’s Camden Town but, without the drug addicts, winos and street beggars and, with amazing architecture all around.

We go to a nearby, very trendy, bar where we have a couple of beers and some nice conversations about the things that Eli is interested in.

Time is getting on, I’m supposed to meet Florian at his office at 5:00pm. I want to get there a little early because I have a few more questions for Pol. There’s not enough time for me to walk there so Eli helps me to find a taxi. On the way to the main street (more chance to find a taxi than in the narrow byways of El Born) we come across what looks like very new piece of graffiti. It’s done in the style of Banksy but seems to be signed by a different artist. Hard to read, the signature looks like “Suzina”.

When I get to Florian’s office, it’s clear that he’s super stressed. I talk to Pol and ask him my questions. In the meantime, Florian is getting messages and making phone calls which are adding to his stress levels.

Finally, he’s free and we cross the road to Beam, the gay bar where I’ve previously had my conversations about Catalan independence with Pol and his friends. Florian drops a bombshell on me. He’s concerned about his lack of control on the costs of his business and fears that his workers may be ripping him off. On top of that, he’s now had to completely formalise the structure of his business into a limited liability company. He purchased a company in January but it goes live today. Officially it went live on 1st March 2020, but that was a Sunday. So, it went live today.

And, there’s the Coronavirus. The message that he got just as I arrived was from his biggest client who also happens to be in charge of the Barcelona Tourism Board. This guy was predicting a serious curtailment of all tourist activity. To cut a long story short, Florian fears that, unless he takes a lot more control of his business, he’ll go bankrupt. So, he’s asked me to work for him!

We talk it through and decide that, I go to Zaragoza for five days as planned but, then come back to Barcelona and start working for him. I think that the job will take at least four to six weeks, possibly longer. Florian will sort me out with a flat within walking distance to his office and, will cover my living expenses. I’ve no idea what this actually means in monetary terms. All I know is that I’ve been spending an average of €380.00 per week while I’ve been in Barcelona. Plus, my rent for the flat in Gran Via.

We agree to work this all out and come up with some kind of mutually agreeable figure.

While we’ve been talking, I’ve noticed a rather attractive Asian woman sitting at the table next to us. She keeps looking over and smiling. She’s working on an iPad and I think that she may be some kind of accountant or business advisor herself. So, I talk to her.

Siriwan Kaewchanslip is from Thailand but has grown up in America. She’s working in Barcelona in her own business, called Medix International, which provides medical care primarily to athletes. We swap cards, hers shows a photo of Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. I should try and keep in contact with her now that I’m coming back to Barcelona. Who knows where this might lead.

Marga arrives. We have another beer or two and tell her that I’ve agreed to come back and try to help. I think that she’s misunderstood what my role will be. She is concerned with the legalities of Florian’s business. I explain to her that I know nothing about the legal framework of businesses in Spain and that it would take me weeks, if not months, to learn. I explain to her that there is a difference between cost/management accounting and the legal requirements of a limited liability company. My role will be exclusively in the former area.

After our long talk we go to a Japanese restaurant called Yamadori on Carrer d’Aribau. Lots of cold Sake and awesome food is consumed.

I stagger back to the apartment, my head reeling with alcohol and this new development. I send a WhatsApp message to the kids. They are all for it.

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