A Fortunate Meeting

After moving my luggage to yet another room this morning, I took off into the city to see the Temple Debod.  It’s an ancient Egyptian temple that the government of Egypt gifted to Spain in recognition of her help restoring some temples in Egypt.  It’s not much to look at, especially since I’ve been to Egypt and seen most of the more important temples, and I didn’t hang around for long.  I had lunch and returned to the hostel to nap for a bit.

When I awoke, there were three Italian girls in the four-person room.  Convinced of the existence of a God who loves me tremendously (empirical evidence leaving little room for doubt), I went off to shower and to get ready to meet up with Luis, the father of a friend from Pepsi.  Meanwhile, the girls went to bed.  I wouldn’t see them again until late at night.

I met Luis in Plaza Mayor.  We walked around the neighborhood for a while, and then we had tapas at a bar. I orderd a salmon and a cheese boccadillo.  The salmon looked a bit spoiled, and it didn’t taste so great.  The cheese boccadillo, however, was quite good.  When I told Luis I didn’t drink alcohol, he remarked, only half-jokingly I think, “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.”  I’ve heard the statement before, and I find it slightly annoying, probably because I don’t fully understand why.  To abstain from alcohol is a personal choice I’ve made, and I don’t see why it makes me less trustworthy, especially since I make it a point to be a man of my word.  Moreover, I don’t impose my views on anyone else, and when my friends go drinking, I am more than happy to serve as DD or DT — Designated Driver or Designated Thinker — as the situation demands.

Back at the hostel I ran into Leona, an Irish girl I had met earlier.  She invited me to go out with her and her friends.  Kathryn and Steph joined us as well, and soon we had amassed a group of ten.  Most of them were younger than me, either in college or recent graduates.  The night turned out quite lame, unfortunately.  Most everyone was drunk, and drinking was all that they seemed interested in doing.  Luckily, Steph and Kathryn were around, and I stayed with them most of the time.  We ended up at an Irish Pub where the group planted itself in a corner, smoking, making out, or both.  Despite my disgust, I stayed.  It took a lot of effort.  I danced for a bit, and Steph and Kathryn joined me.  They, too, felt too old for this crew.  Finally I could stand it no longer.  I said bye to Kathryn and slipped away.

It felt like a wasted night.  I needed to figure out when and how I was going to get to Sevilla.  Also, where would I stay?  I hadn’t resolved any of these questions and had gone out instead.  I trudged back to the hostel and sat in the lobby for a bit.  I resigned myself to staying in Madrid another day.  I headed up to bed.  The lights were on in the room.  Good.

The three Italian girls, Barbara, Christina, and Laura, are from Milan and are traveling through Spain on holiday.  We talked for quite some time.  They asked me what “I gonna way” meant.  It’s a phrase that many of their Italian friends use frequently.  It supposedly derives from some American cultural reference.  I told them that it had no meaning, but it sounded like “I cannot wait.”  Maybe that’s where it came from?  They nodded in appreciation.

By and by they mentioned that they should go to sleep because they had to drive tomorrow.  They were leaving early in the morning.  My ears perked up.  Where were they driving to? I asked.  Granada.  Almost without thinking I asked them if I could go with them.  Sure, they said.  They were only three so they had room for one more.  It wasn’t a bad idea.  I wouldn’t have to worry about reserving a seat on the train, and it would  be a nice change to drive through Spain.  I was in.

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