Our day began in a very civilized manner. We were organized, prepared and caught the early train from Madrid to Valencia. When we successfully got to our seats on the train, we thought to ourselves, “Great! We are winning this day!”‘ We spoke too soon.
Here’s what happened next:
1) Upon arriving at the Valencia train station, gigantic packs on our backs, somehow a bug flew into Hannah’s eye and stung her in the eyeball, rendering it blood shot for hours. True story. Stung. In. The. Eyeball.
2) Our directions told us to find the “old” train station. Once we arrived there we had a skip in our step, and said to ourselves, “Booyah! We got this day in the bag. Gonna be on the beach by noon.” HOWEVER… We still had to find the mysterious yellow bus, line 190, which was supposed to arrive every hour on the hour. TRUST US… We did our research.
3) F*** the yellow bus line 190. After running from bus stop to bus stop with our packs on like frantic, swollen, sweaty rats, including a suicide mission across a busy, six lane Valencian highway, we threw in the towel and caught a cab to take us to our destination, 20 kilometers away.
4) With broken Spanish (or lack thereof) we got in our cab, relieved to be en route, with the beach in mind for mid afternoon.
5) Flat. Tire. Plumbers. Crack. Cab driver who can’t change a tire. You got it. Our cab got a flat roughly 7 kilometers in. We pulled over adjacent to a flooded rice field and the busy interstate… But don’t worry! We were safe because our driver made a point to put on his safety vest (WTF) and set out his saftey cone (WTF) 100 yards away, only to sprint back to it several times because it wouldn’t stay standing. In the meantime, he also attempted to change his tire. As he struggled with the simple task of placing the jack (butt crack out, mind you) we struggled with putting together our broken Spanish to try to tell him exactly what he was doing wrong, and how he could do it better. After all… We three silly American girls know how to change a flat! (Thanks Dads!) Not wanting to emasculate the poor man further, we kept our mouths shut and watched to make certain he did it right, even as he attempted to lower the jack with his bare hands (that didn’t work…). Needless to say, he did do it correctly, and we were on the road again.
6) Finally we arrived at our destination, where we were greeted by the door man, Juan, a Spanish midget man, who was impatient, rightfully so, as it was his day off. He showed us to our place. It was wonderful! However we soon realized that we were in a deserted, off season beach destination town and had no food, no type of connection to figure out where the heck we were, felt like we had been bitch slapped by the country of Spain, and most importantly, had no booze…
7) So we went for a walk to try to get our bearings straight (ha! no pun intended), when we stumbled upon the first sign that read “restauranté”. Inhabited by locals, we thought, “Great!” and walked in and ordered trés cervezas. We had a delicious first course of gazpacho and fresh calamari, and were excited to get a taste of true, local paella. Little did we know, local paella was cooked with Mediteranean sea water, as what we hoped to be a delectable, fresh dish turned out to be a sodium infused plate of rice, prawns and shriveled peas.
9) We walked miles in hopes of stumbling upon a grocery store of some sort, praying (literally, Hannah was praying) that there was one within the next five kilometers.
10) We found one. Lugged our groceries 1.5 miles home. Drank a tall boy (or three). Ate chips and salsa (yay!). Listened to one of three radio stations which played non stop 80s hits. And wrote this blog post. 😉
We won. Cheers. Bye.