I knew that it would be absolutely ridiculous to leave Spain without taking advantage of more sightseeing, so I had a final fling with my beloved siesta devoted nation. Laden with the advice of locals, I made an adios trail cross-country via Seville, Granada, Valencia, and flying from Barcelona.
At the train station in San Fernando, SS and OW were giving me handy phrases to use so that I wouldn’t get lost or screwed over by a taxi driver.
“Cuanto es en total? Con la maleta…” How much is that in total? With a suitcase… (Because I want to sound like a local, taxi driver, and not get taken for a ride) “Approximademente quanto?” (You can’t tell me??? Surely… come on!) About how much? “Mas o menos.” (Really, like you seriously can’t tell me…) More or less.
“Vale.” Ok, I get it. I understand.
“Soy NJ.” (In case you didn’t know) I am NJ.
“Soy de Neuva Zealanda.” (I’m not Australian… or British) I am from New Zealand.
“No entiendo mucho de Espanol. Abla lento por favour.” (I really don’t speak much Spanish, even though I have been here for six weeks. I’ll admit it, I’ve been lazy) I don’t understand much Spanish. (Please hook a sister up) Please slow (the F*%^) down.
“Abla Ingles?” (For the love of God, please say that) You understand English?
“Necessito ajuda.” (I am a dick and have ended up in a weird situation) I need help.
“Donde esta…” Where is…. (Where am I going???????)
“Qual es la direcion?” (I have no clue) What is the direction?
I felt like a tamed animal that was being released into the wild.
Two degrees of separation is not unique to NZ; thankfully, it can also be found on a train station platform. SS recognised another Conil-ite and it was in her company that I nervously sat next to and prattled off about my adventure. When I enquired, I found out that this woman was most interestingly a healer of the land and was off to a conference for like-minded souls, in Sweden. Along with the conversation, I took comfort in the larger than life sunset illuminating the rolling countryside with burning oranges and a reflection of several suns on the window pane.
I disembarked in the dark, and donned an air of staunchness. I’ve learnt that the smartest way to travel on your own is to look confident and pretend that you know what you’re doing. Outside, several taxis were lined up with their respective drivers either chewing on takeaways or deep in conversation with cigarettes staining their lips. In the native tongue, one asked if I’d like a ride. I declined, standing firm with my suitcase and concentrating on the photo I’d taken of a map. Shit. I really had no clue.
“Hola.” I offered up my hotel directions with a map.
“Cuanto es en total? Con la maleta?”
Words came pouring out of his mouth. From what I could understand, he couldn’t tell me how much it would cost.
“Mas o menos?”
Nope. He still couldn’t tell me how much it would cost.
I wrapped my staunch jacket tighter and stared wide-eyed at my directions while Clueless Cabbie loaded another passenger in. Either I played along with they have no idea how much the fare might come to, or I stood there all night long, in the dark, with The Beast. I went with the former and chose a new driver who was equally as ignorant.
After five minutes I was dropped off at a nondescript location, with my chauffeur turning and bla-blahing at me with some pointing. He drove off in the direction of where he had indicated and I stood looking around for any sign of my hostel’s sign. Too dim to stay put, I pulled The Beast toward the glow of a cathedral and the clip clop of horse-drawn carriages. I followed the people, ended up doing a massive loop, and entering the hostel in front of a street that the taxi had driven down.
This was the introduction to my inaugural night in a hostel dorm room, on my own. Given the situation, my standards were set pretty high with the contemporary Toc Hostel. I guess it was a reward, that and the consolation prize that I often end up in these very laughable circumstances that provide entertainment and good writing fodder.
There’s some more to come in Seville with getting lost and lost in translation with another tourist, my completely naïve idea of bullfighting and how I thought the bull and matador walked away happily ever after, and thinking it was weird that the latest Euro fashion trend of denim shorts that expose half a butt-cheek was not the most appropriate thing to be wearing if posing in front of a church. Until then, X