And So It Begins

My apologies for the delay. So I’ll get right to it then.


Deserted train tracks and three suitcases, all with a lifeless woman behind it.

In a nutshell, this is what happened, and the order of the disaster:

  1. Rushing through Chicago traffic (midday) to pull up to the International Departures a mere 50 minutes before my flight… No. Big. Deal. We needed that deep dish stuffed crust Chicago-style pizza gosh darnit!
  2. Teary goodbye to the people I love.
  3. Searched carry-on. For nothing as it turns out. I hide knives well…
  4. On plane. Sleep on plane. Dinner is a Spanish, carb-filled dinner. Need I say more…
  5. Arrive in Madrid. Make mistakt #1… help out a fellow English-speaking traveler.
  6. Helping turns out to convincinc me to leave the terminal after two announced delays to find her an ATM (she did not speak Spanish), and I thought maybe I could find some food quick. We found her ATM all right, after walking through the arrival doors… one-way doors. You know, the doors where your beloved ones are waiting with signs and hugs? Not for us…
  7. My ATM card declined anyhow for withdrawl and we passed right by any sort of food I would see for many more hours as I soon find out. Because we now had to go through security all over again and get ourselves on a tram to the terminal and the gate I had been sitting at for two hours previously… Pointless excursion for me, boutiful exursion for said helpless woman. Amanda: 0    Charity Case: 1
  8. Plane takes off 1.5 hours delayed. But we’re good. We’re on!
  9. Arrive in Jerez de la Frontera airport. I missed my Plan A train due to this minor delay, and as I mentioned this to my little friend, she tells me she has a car waiting for her hired from her company to take her to the same destination I am headed. Then walks away.
  10. Stuck in tiny airport for about four hours. No ATM. All my cards freeze. No phone service. The lone shop/airport bodega: closed.
  11. Buy wifi. Eat my last smushed 90-calorie lemon bar. Yummy.
  12. Skype my mother (don’t judge). We call card companies. I walk to the train station (1000 ft in front of airport) with my three suitcases through the parking lots and cobbled paths…for the third time praying one card works at the automated machine.
  13. Success. Wait for train. One door opens about six cars down. Boy gets out. Train leaves.
  14. I repeat, train leaves… me.
  15. I drag suitcases back to civilization (joke) and buy wifi. Look up next train. Two hours.
  16. Drag suitcases back to train tracks. Buy ticket again. Wait.
  17. Mentally put my running shoes on because I will literally put myself in front of this train and wait while they load my bags onto the train. But in reality, I just sprinted and hurled my bags and myself on as it stopped.
  18. Amanda on train. Mission accomplished.
  19. Arrive to Cádiz train station.
  20. No ATM. No cab possible. No directions.
  21. Walk my trusty rolly suitcases (shout out to such a handy graduation gift Aunt Anne and Uncle Jim!) to my hostel. Amanda is in Cádiz. In reach of a bed. I’d say this day was a success?

First words out of the hostel receptionists’ mouth: “You must be Amanda. You are the last one we’ve been waiting for. We have the princess bed for you” I thanked him like he was baby Jesus, got the tour and showered.

For those who are wondering. The “princess bed” my lovely receptionist referred to is the only bed that is NOT bunk bed. To each is own.


Four nights of hippies and home-cooked meals. A little piece of heaven.

How to Respond in Spanish Like a Native: Comebacks and Colloquial Responses



One thought on “And So It Begins

  1. All in all, I would say you were very successful Amanda. You were successful where your little friend failed. Had she taken the opportunity to return the favor things could have turned out differently. But then, you arrived safely and who knows how that would have turned out had you traveled with her. The good news is you survived day ONE! It takes an awful lot of courage to do what you’re doing. Congratulations!

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