A long time ago, I was in Barcelona, Spain. This was before they had the Olympics and cleaned the place up. We were supposed to go ashore on the buddy-system, but I had a job with some weird-ass hours, so I just went ashore by myself, whenever the frak I wanted, and nobody said anything to me.
There was a wide plaza up from the waterfront that was called "the Ramblas", or something like that. It was sort of like being on a street with a median that was 100 meters wide; there were outdoor cafes along it. The entertainment was limited to people-watching, which on at least one occasion, included watching some dude slap his girlfriend around until the Guardia Civil showed up and hauled him off.
The Guardia wore some goofy-looking black lacquered hats that looked like pillboxes with a flat piece behind them. Some of the Guardia carried submachine guns. The Police Militare also patrolled the streets and they had SMGs of some flavor. Word was that only a fool messed with any of the Spanish cops.
A lot of the buildings had dark-grey stone facades. Whether the facades were that color because of decades of smoke or that was the natural color, I never knew. When I looked up at the buildings, especially on the side streets, I could see pockmarks from bullet impacts, presumably from street-fighting during the Spanish Civil War.
So anyway, in my meanderings, I found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that, among other things, served half of a chicken, a big plate of steaming hot French fries and a beer for 250 pesetas which, if memory serves me correctly, was about three bucks American.
Maybe my taste buds had been hammered by the long- frozen French fries and blasted chicken that was standard fare in the Navy, but that fresh chicken and fries which that restaurant served up was unbelievably good. I made at least four trips to that little place and each meal was as good as the one before. I never saw anyone from any of the Navy ships in port then at that place and I kept my mouth shut, believe me.
5 hours ago