Monday, January 02, 2012
Spain 6: Getting lost, panicking, and being found
The plan was to meet Rubi in front of El Corte Ingles at the subway exit at 6:30 for tapas and karaoke.
"If we're not there by 7, it's because we're dead," I joked to her when we were making the arrangements on the hotel phone that I dared not dial out because I couldn't find anything telling me how much a local call costs and if you have to ask, you can't afford it.
Plus I don't know how to dial a phone in Spain - I mean, I don't know which numbers you use and which you don't - and that is scary. Don't laugh. Like you are perfectly comfortable figuring out the phones in a foreign country.
Our first mistake was severely underestimating the amount of time it would take to 1. find the metro station and 2. get from Atocha to Goya.
At 6:50, SH and I were still on the train. As we looked anxiously at the map, a man standing next to us asked solicitously, "Ees there something I can help you weeth?"
"We're just trying to figure out how much longer to our stop," I said. "We're already 20 minutes late to meet our friend."
He waved his hand. "Bah. In Espain, 20 minutes ees not late."
We arrived at Goya. Climbed up the stairs. Looked for El Corte Ingles. Of which there were two and of which both were surrounded by throngs and throngs of people.
SH panicked. "Which El Corte Ingles? Which? We'll never find her!"
We started walking around, looking for a buxom blonde. Lots of morenas, no rubias. We checked the street names. We walked to each corner of the intersection, which took ten minutes because there was so much traffic and so many people.
"The day is ruined!" SH moaned. "Ruined! I was really looking to this! This was going to be our only fun night out. And now it's ruined and it can't be fixed!"
"We're not done looking," I told him.
"But you told her that we weren't coming after 7:00!"
"I'll bet that once she got here and saw the madness that she realized it might take a little longer."
He shook his head. "No, no, no. There is no way to fix this day. It's just awful."
I slapped him. "Stop being hysterical!"
OK. Not really. I do not hit my husband.
But I did roll my eyes.
"What's the backup plan?" he asked.
"We don't have one."
"How could you not have a backup plan?"
"Well, if we would have had a backup plan, it would have been to meet at the bar where she originally wanted us to meet but couldn't find the exact address."
I got out my notes and looked for the name of the bar. Cerveceria Santa Barbara, within view of the shoe store that had my leopard-print loafers.
"But why didn't we just meet at the bar?"
"Because I wanted an exact address, not just 'Cerveceria Santa Barbara near the shoe store!' Anyhow, that's the backup plan, so stop panicking."
"No, the backup plan when there is no backup plan is to panic!"
"There's the bar right there. Let's at least go inside before we give up."
We didn't even have to go in. When we were five feet from the door, the buxom blonde* emerged.
"You're here!" she said.
SH was incredulous. "But - but how did you know to wait at the bar for us? And wait past 7:00?"
"Because as soon as I saw how many people there were and that there was more than one El Corte Ingles, I realized that our original meeting place was a bad idea. I knew CF would figure it out."
And then we ate and drank and sang and I will tell you all about that in the next post.
* Who had not yet met me in person when she suggested I put my money and credit cards in my bra to foil pickpockets.