Part 2: ~~Welcome to Madrid~~
46) Get psyched to go see Madrid’s city center. Enjoy riding the Metro despite the crazy signage and tons of people because you love seeing other cities’ subway systems.
47) Get unpsyched by the rain.
48) Get a coffee in a cute cafe. Feel nervous to order anything because you don’t know what any of it is and the guy behind the counter is ignoring you. Get a croissant. Write in journal. People-watch.
49) Wander around waiting for lunch because you’re still hungry. Think Madrid is kind of like if Paris and New York had a baby.
50) Go into the Spanish version of H&M and buy an ill-fitting shirt, some underwear, and a vaguely hoochie-mama dress that actually looks kind of nice when you tie knots in the straps to pull it up.
51) Put on the shirt. And the underwear. Which looked full-coverage when you bought them but actually kind of ride up your tush. Think they look sexy. Get sad that no one will see said sexy but uncomfortable underwear except the inside of your pants.
52) Get psyched that the rain has stopped enough to eat outside in the neat pedestrian area. For your first meal, instead of choosing the restaurant with lots of people, choose the “quiet” restaurant, where the burly waiter on speed with the fastest, strangest Spanish accent you’ve ever heard (and who refuses to slow down) intimidates you into staying by barking something which turns out to mean “wait another twenty minutes or so and I’ll feed you then.”
53) Have a beer.
54) Realize this is a very bad idea.
55) Get ready to order. Ask what a “chuletta” is and find out that it’s a “chuletta.” Order the paella instead.
56) Enjoy the paella even though it’s more like oily yellow rice and chicken skin because, well, you like oily rice and chicken skin. Feel arteries begin to clog.
57) Grumble to self about the awful cafe con leche that’s really cafe sin leche and the rock-hard roll.
58) Become convinced that the waiter hates you and specifically you since you’re a typical American traveler who can barely speak Spanish, wants too much milk in her coffee, and has on a top that’s too low-cut (despite it not actually being her fault. See #50.)
59) Wander around the neat-o pedestrian area. Decide that America sucks because our cities don’t have neat-o pedestrian areas.
60) Realize that the big square with the “Statue of the Horse” you were going to meet your Couchsurfing host and other Couchsurfers at has been closed off due to construction. Wonder what will happen if you don’t meet them all. Wait under an overhang under the town-hall clock in the rain with lots of other people trying to stay dry. Er, Dry-ish.
61) Eventually, after much texting, a few difficult phone-calls in mangled Spanish and English, confusion about “which clock,” and conversations with strangers (“Hola, eres Couchsoorfer?”) who respond with baffled and/or relieved looks, get a group together!
62) Get herded along with the other Couchsurfing cats to the bar. Still raining.
63) Sit in tiny bar filled with smoke.
64) Get annoyed by pretentious American dude talking to you about his pretentious novel.
65) Talk with Turkish girl who speaks very little Spanish and looks grumpy. Feel happy when she perks up when she realizes you speak English. Discuss going to Toledo, an ancient city nearby, the next day.
66) Start to really enjoy yourself at the bar.
67) Get herded with the other Couchsurfing cats to some sort of middle-eastern late-night take-out place. Eat strange-tasting gyro on huge soft baguette-style bread.
68) Get psyched to go to Toledo with nice Turkish girl.
70) Wake up. Have ridiculously hard time getting to Toledo. Finally meet up with Turkish Girl and her friend.
71) Toledo is AWESOME!!! Return to Madrid.
72) Be sad because Air France STILL doesn’t know where your luggage is. Phone multiple times. Every-other call you’re told they found it, then they didn’t. Then they found it, then they didn’t. Run out of minutes on your phone from calling Air France because they don’t have an 800# so you can’t call from the pay-phones.
73) Freak out. Think bag might not be found in time for you to get going on your pilgrimage. Which was supposed to start today. In a different town.
74) Spend the day running around trying to replace various items. Convince self you’re having a “great cultural adventure.”
75) See a Flamenco show. Love the dancing, think you will soon be driven mad by the singing.
76) Have your plans for sleeping fall through. Freak out again.
77) Find a last-minute hostel. Enjoy going to the bar with some people from the hostel.
79) Get woken up by snoring. Call Air France. The bag is on its way! 4 days and 1 million phone calls after you arrive. It had never left San Francisco. Go to airport to get bag. Come back from airport. Get on train.
!!!Welcome to Salamanca!!!
Originally posted at http://travelingdina.livejournal.com