May 17, 2011

Spain Vignettes: Ahi estas tu

April 30, 2010. Madrid.

I thought I would wake up early and pack with enough time to be able to make it to the bus stop about half a mile away and take a bus to the airport bus stop. As the bag was being packed, any desire to carry it for any length of time disappeared. So I called the airport shuttle to pick me up. I was bright and early, the flight was late. So I settled in to read The Trial, by Frederick Forsyth. Now, I have read quite a lot of Forsyth. For the first time, I was noticing Forsyth’s writing style, and not in a good way. The book was written in 1978. So this could mean one of two things a) I have started paying much more attention to writing styles or b) Forsyth’s writing improved with age.

In this book, he treats his characters with contempt, and perhaps his readers too. You are told who is to be admired, who is unremarkable and should be cast aside from your attention, the ‘ugly’ characters have no single redeeming quality. The story however, set in France and Germany during and after the Second World War, is compelling. As any Nazi war story is wont to be. I kept the book aside when Neeto joined me at Newark.

The Continental rep couldn’t help us switch seats so we could be seated together as the flight was full. But we were giving up a window seat for the in-between seat, so the switch was accomplished easily enough. The flying time was only 6.30 hours, and Neeto slept while I tried to. Attu had suggested we check our bags in, and we were glad we listened. After picking the bags up, and some confusion about the airport’s layout we finally made our way to the zone where Attu would be arriving. My biggest surprise, or shock, about the airport, and as I would later find, the entire country? No water fountains anywhere! For someone who gets on a high horse about buying plastic water bottles, I would appreciate it if you didn’t remind me of this lapse.

Attu found us waiting outside the arrivals section at her gate. I hadn’t seen her in four years. Thanks to modern technologies, and Skype, it doesn’t feel like it has been that long. Introductions were made, and we headed towards the metro station. I brought out my little journal. I knew I was going to bring the journal long ago. I wasn’t going to take a laptop, and traveling always makes me want to write, so the journal would have been handy as it was small and could fit into a purse. So I decided against taking tons of printouts, and compiled information on it as well. Flight information, travel from airport/train station to hostels, things to do in each city and corresponding locations, everything I could think of. This effort had taken more time than anticipated, but was completely worth it as we didn’t have to waste that time in Spain trying to figure stuff out.

We got on the pink line, switched to the dark blue at Nuevos Terminos, switched to light blue line at Tribunal. And nearly two hours after we had landed, we emerged out of the Anton Martin station.

It was a cloudy day, with the promise of rain.
The best part? We were in SPAIN!


Title: Ahi estas tu is a song by Chambao, and is used in Spain tourism ads.

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