GABRIEL CANO- Looking back at one’s life, sometimes it’s just the little things– the unexpected, unplanned moments that a person vividly remembers forever. Going to Barcelona this past weekend gave me numerous memorable experiences, such as exploring the Gothic Quarter’s narrow streets, visiting Gaudi’s Casa Milá, and going to a great temporary exhibition at the Picasso Museum. However, finding a rat swimming in my Airbnb toilet will undoubtedly be the moment most ingrained in my mind for decades to come.
The Airbnb where my friends and I stayed was almost too good to be true. Walking through the front entrance, we enter a gorgeous living room with tasteful art pieces lining the walls. A little further down the hall past the dining room, a door brings us outside and down some stairs, out onto a huge terrace complete with comfy chairs, a large table, and scenic urban views. Alongside the terrace there is a second little house with most of our beds and a bathroom inside. Located right in the middle of the city a few blocks from the Sagrada Familia, our weekend home initially left us elated with no complaints.
Fast forward forty eight hours to the infamous incident. After hearing from an unusually casual Christian Koshgarian that there was indeed a large rat swimming in our toilet, we all proceeded to laugh and not believe him. He repeated his discovery to us in a more agitated tone, and our faces began to gradually change from expressions of amusement to ones of horror. One by one we all sprang up from the couch, ran down the stairs past the terrace, and cautiously crept into the bathroom to get a look. The reason people go to see horror films such as the Saw movies would be an apt analogy for the desire we all had to see this rat in the toilet.
The lid was shut. I breathlessly edged forward with my snapchat turned on and ready to film like the millennial that I am. I thrust open the potty top and let out a loud, preemptive, and extremely high pitched scream. There it was, very alive, wading around the bowl of water. We made eye contact (shudder), its black beady eyes staring me down until I had to look away in a mixture of pity and terror. It just so happened that Christian discovered the rat late at night when we were about to leave for the club, so we actually just shut the lid and let it chill in there overnight. I slept on the living room couch, and this Russian cleaning lady came to take care of the infestation issue in the morning (I am pretty sure she just flushed the toilet like 8 times until the rat drowned… absolutely gruesome).
I did some research once I returned to Madrid, and it turns out, rats can actually tread water for up to 4 days straight! Also, if it rains a lot for consecutive days in a city, the water levels in the sewer can rise to where a rat can just swim up the pipes and out of your toilet, which is probably what happened. Just thinking about this possibility gives me the chills. Anyways, Barcelona is an incredibly beautiful city packed with culture, and some good did come out of this rat situation– we all got a one night refund after complaining to the Airbnb owner and there’s also a funny video of my bathroom reaction on Facebook somewhere!