I have some leads work wise, so I celebrated.
My expenses for the day:
3.05 - Lunch
2.50 - Dinner
3.50 - Spliff
5.95 - Some homeless guy I met
Lunch was a pasta salad with tomatoes and mozzarella and a piece of ciabata that I picked up from a supermarket. The salad was tasty, but small. Bread, yummy.
Dinner was French fries. I bought some yesterday from some fry stand, and they were great, and a fair bargain. I wanted them again. Fat fries that are fried twice. That way, the guy can cook them quickly and serve them hot.
I couldn't find the place though. I tramped through the RLD and got thoroughly lost. My professional pride is beginning to get hurt. I spent ten years as a cabbie, and I pride myself on my sense of direction. Walking through Barcelona and Messina, I could always knew where home was. In this town, I'm always lost. Every street looks the same. The canals follow some weird horseshoe pattern, with the streets going sort of parallel to the canals. Sort of. Every day I have managed to get completely and totally lost a few times. Probably doesn't help that I've been stoned whenever I get lost.
A homeless guy came up to me. "You're looking for something." I stopped, and he went into his spiel. He started giving me the rough layout of the area, telling me where the good girls are, where the trannies are, which dealers to avoid. I interrupted him. "I'm looking for the French fries."
The guy laughed and took me right there. "I've been doing this for twenty-eight months, and you're the first guy to ask about the fries."
We got a talking. He's from Boston, moved there when he was six. He got deported, and was given a twelve year probation before he could return. Three more months he said, and he could go back.
At the fry place, he asked for a donation. I gave him the change in my pocket. I offered him some fries. He said he would prefer the cash. I gave him the change from my fries. He gave me a brief tour. That's what he does. He finds people who look lost, and helps them find what they need. Girls, drugs, whatever they need. He knows the best coffeeshops. He knows which girls will cheat their customers. He knows cabdrivers that'll let their passengers smoke. He gives tours of the underbelly.
I asked him if he knew of a coffeeshop on a houseboat that I saw a picture of. He was stumped, and embarrassed to admit it. I thanked him anyway. He gave me a good conversation.
I went looking for the coffeeshop. I had done some research and found the name of the canal it was sitting in. It wasn't there. I went from one end to the other and looked at every houseboat, but no dice. Maybe it closed, maybe it moved, maybe it sunk. No wonder the guy never heard of it.
So, I wandered around and checked the first three coffeeshops I came to if they had wifi. The third guy said he had a computer with internet, so I bought. After smoking I checked out the computer to find that it cost extra to use. I was annoyed.
It is very difficult to find a coffeeshop that has free wifi. I haven't done it yet. I'm beginning to suspect that they don't want stoned people clogging up the coffeeshop all day like a Starbucks in NYC. But they could give us a time limit like the Starbucks in Barcelona. That works.
On leaving, I paused to roll a cigarette. Then I met the homeless guy again. He spotted me first. He started on a new spiel. He needed just a buck fifty more, and he could get a supply of something to have in case a tourist needed something you know. I gave him the change from my spliff. He gave me his phone number. Now I got a guy to call if I need anything. I can't imagine what I might ever need from him, but it's always good to know a guy.
I asked him why he got deported. "I killed a guy in prison. He raped a child. If you rape a child, you get killed."