I happened to be in Barcelona for a real estate conference, and what a 'reality' I got to see there – a beach full of nude people. The venue of the conference was the W Barcelona hotel, located right on Barcelona’s Marabella Beach, overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. As the morning wore on, and the sea turned from a shade of grey to a pleasant blue, the sunbathers started coming out for their weekend fix of fun and frolic. The colourful crowd on the beach made for a far more attractive proposition than a conference room crammed with grey suits, there I was, setting off for a walk along the beach, taking in the lovely sights of, well, the seaside.
Being clad in jeans and a full-sleeve shirt amidst the naked and near-naked beach bums was bad enough, but there was also the consciousness that I shouldn't come across as an ogling idiot. Fifty metres on, I realised that the only conscious person around the place was me; the locals, out to have their fun, didn’t give a damn about anyone. There were the old, wrinkled men with their shrunken tools, old fat women totally out of shape, a few handsome Spaniards in their bare basics, and hot Spanish women without even the basics. For the first time, I saw a proper topless beach. They seemed so cool with their bodies and their clothes, or rather the lack of them. Some seemed happy to play with the waves or laze around while their bodies tanned, while others were making the most of the outdoors, sweating over a game of beach volleyball or running along the beach.
While India’s top developers were discussing the fate of the country’s real estate sector just a kilometre away, here I was, observing a day in the life of fun-loving Spaniards. Spain may be facing a lot of economic problems, but none of them were visible on Marabella Beach. People were downing chilled beer and chatting away with their friends, while the lone rangers soaked in the sun on relatively deserted stretches. The lifeguards were straight out of Baywatch, as were some of the curvaceous Spanish ladies.
Taking a break from the beach vigil, I settled for a doner kebab at a stall run by Pakistanis, who were only too eager to crib about dwindling business to a fellow citizen from the subcontinent. Of course, discussing European economy was not a priority for me and I commenced my walk back to the hotel, watching the revelry and the swelling crowd on the beach. There’s only so much you can ogle at nude women. After all, I was there to attend the real estate conference and it was time to sit amidst the grey suits.