I’m wondering whether traveling by plane is even worth the alleged time saved. It’s certainly not saving our environment. And man oh corporate patriarchal man, if you’ve not yet seen the international departure lounges lately you wouldn’t believe the mall-like Victorias Secret/McDonalds atmosphere. Consumer-arama.
I got up early partly because I’m still riding on the caffeine I ingested yesterday at 2pm. I’m also cheap drunk – half a glass of wine and I’m out cold. I didn’t drink any wine last night. So much for me and stimulants!
But enough of that. After a wonderful send off by the ever-accommodating Daniela of the Palacio- who quickly got me a Bolt (because my phone was acting up) i bade farewell to my royal hosts and arrived at Lisbon airport extremely early- so much so that I breezed through bag inspection then stood in line for a “wake the fuck up you’re traveling” breakfast of lox/cream cheese/lettuce on a seeded roll (WTH no bagel?) & decafaccino.
There was a very tall guy in front of me – (tho everyone is taller than me) who started chatting. We agreed to eat breakfast together. That was all. Kidding. But keep your fantasies in check please.
We sat down to eat. Our conversation began with trivial this and that and was soon punctuated with an agreeable, some times challenging, political repartee intermingled with his denial of being an entitled white male immigrant from Eastern Europe who became an anesthesiologist/critical care doc on his own merit unlike those who used their race to get ahead. Phew.
I cringed, then boldly attempted to point out the holes in his defense as he proceeded to say he was not racist. I chuckled silently and I told him it’s scary to admit our privilege. That our only fault is when we deny it and do nothing to change. I hope he thought more about it after he left to fly home to Boston. At least we had talked and no punches were thrown.
I wandered for the next hour in a food coma and not enough shut eye stupor, lulled by the noise, the sensory overload and crowds of travelers, of which some who were probably in the same mindset. The terminal is also massive, the departure area as well. Airport Zombies unite.
Finally I boarded my full plane to Madrid. Thankfully my frequent flier miles (and excessive credit card use during Covid) gave me a seat next to no one. It’s the little things, (like debt and fear of sitting in close proximity to someone possibly infected) speaking of privilege. BTW-Everyone on the plane was masked and I heard no one bitching about having to wear one. Take note America.
Upon arriving in Madrid I managed to, several times, go the wrong way to locate the Uber pickup area. Eureka! I found it, (after 20 minutes of navigating a dozen (+/-)escalators dragging my now heavier with an extra pound of coffee, suitcase and waited for my driver to locate me. Jorge/driver became my interim Spanish teacher and guide, pointing out spots, telling me about his life, correcting my elementary school and osmosis from years living in Lalaland, Spanish. It was work. He spoke not a lick of English. Pat me on the back, please.
Checking in at www.HotelMeninas.es – was a breeze. It’s on a remarkably quiet street just a hop and a trip away from the Opera house. Restaurants surround nearby, fortunately for my waistline not next door.
I took a nap on the immaculate queen bed after plopping my suitcase on the luggage rack and removing my clothes.
Immediately I fell into a deep, much needed sleep, waking at 7:30pm to get dressed and suss out a dinner suitable for my moderate hunger.
It a funny thing about being in a foreign country. I walked and window shopped for a suitable place to get more miles on my card and feed my belly at the fashionable hour of 8:30pm. Confidentially and whilst we still have privilege on our collective mind, I felt a bit like Jewish Goldilocks. This cafe is too busy…this one too smelly…this one too small a menu…and this one too expensive, etc. It was after several close encounters of the culinary kind that I discovered the Tapas Bar http://www.barlambuzo.com. It’s a fairly small place on a corner with small tables and people eating and drinking with enthusiasm. I read the menu in Spanish then checked in with a QR code in English. I ordered the Tapas size oxtail stew with fried potatoes and carrots, followed by their amazing lemon meringue pie in a jar. Yum.
I sauntered back to my room finding my hotel being just around the corner even though I had apparently I walked a couple miles in a big ole circle in pursuit of what turned out to be a great dinner.
And now I’m going to sleep. Tomorrow I meet up with Laura who will also be teaching English at Pueblo Ingles.