Well after the trauma of Day 1, today is a new day! I’m FINALLY going to Spain. I’m up early. Ready to go. I’d rescheduled my shuttle to the airport.
The shuttle driver called and asked if he could pick me up early. Uh, sure? He arrived and said there was a scheduling snafu and he had to take a passenger to Love Field before he could go to DFW Airport. The two other ladies in the van were not pleased with him. I have no clue what happened before he picked me up, but the driver was a talkative mess. At a red light, he claimed he was just resting his eyes even as the light turned green and another passenger had to call his attention to it. The other ladies thought he fell asleep. I don’t know, but I do know he WOULD. NOT. STOP. TALKING.
Anywho, after taking the completely out of the way detour to Love Field, we arrived at DFW. I checked into my flight and made my way to my gate. On the way, I ran into one of the women from the shuttle because our gates were right next to each other. She said, “Oh, good. We can chat.”
I’m not good at small talk in general and definitely not with strangers. Mostly, I listened to her bitch about the shuttle driver until my flight was ready to board.
An aside: I’ve never understood why people crowd around the gate until their boarding group is called. It’s not like they won’t let you on the plane if you’re not one of the first people in line.
Anyway, we board. And then we sit for two hours because of nonstop rain in Dallas. A 10-hour flight became a 12-hour flight. Yay.
Good news: My seatmate, Ryan, was a sweetheart. He was from Arkansas, but lives in Spain teaching English to 7th and 8th graders. How cool is that? Apparently, 12-13 year olds are the same all across the world. They think they know everything. I told him I planned to take a taxi to my hotel because the tour company said the subway would require a transfer and I wasn’t feeling that since it was my first time in Spain and I was dragging a heavy suitcase behind me. Ryan thought the route they suggested was dumb because there was a commuter train with a stop right by my hotel, and the stop was only two stops from the airport. The best part was the fare was less than 3 euros as opposed to the 30 euro taxi fare.
So I took his advice, which turned out to be great. The hotel was directly across the street from the stop. I said goodbye to Ryan (his stop was farther down from mine) and went inside the hotel to check in.
After checking in, I thought about trying to find my group, but they’d gone into the mountains about 40 minutes away, so I crashed instead. I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights in my room, but I knew the electricity worked because the TV came on, and I figured my roommate would have complained if it didn’t work. It was the middle of the day, so I didn’t need the lights.
I turned on the TV and flipped through the channel. Oh, look, that’s Castle dubbed in Spanish. And there’s Wheel of Fortune. Or something close to it. I don’t know if this how the show always is, but in this particular episode, when the contestant solved the puzzle, she sang the answer because the puzzle was song lyrics. AND THEN the band started playing the song. How awesome is that?! Get it together, Pat and Vanna!
My tour guide, Nihar, called me after the hotel informed him that I’d checked in. I went and met him. We talked for a bit, and then I went back to my room.
Eventually, my roommate, Denise, returned and showed me how to turn on the lights. Basically, there was a slot on the wall you stuck your room key into and, like magic, the lights came on. It’s actually genius because it means people aren’t wasting electricity when they’re not in the room.
Denise and I talked for a bit, and then it was time to meet the group and actually SEE Madrid.
FINALLY, yes, I know!
I tried to pretend I wasn’t an introvert and introduced myself to my tour mates and explain that yes, I was a new person and they hadn’t met me. We went into the Madrid center and Mercado de San Miguel, which I think is a total tourist thing, but still supercool. Basically, it’s a market where they sell all kinds of food and alcohol.
And here is where I apologize because I am not a professional photographer and looking at my photos in preparation for this blog post made that abundantly clear.
At the Mercado, I had ham and cheese croquets, barbecue chicken on a stick, paella and a mojito. Denise and I got yelled at for trying to sit a table outside a restaurant next to the market. Oh well. We relocated and chowed down.
The night concluded with the tour group going to a few clubs. Unfortunately, the party in Spain doesn’t really start until 2 a.m., but we had fun anyway. I mean, hello, how can you not have fun dancing to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and “Single Ladies” in Madrid?
Photo of the Day
Tomorrow: Day 3 aka The Day I Almost Died