“Spainish Snafus”

Once upon a time there lived a young woman who found herself traveling about and intended to take a bus to the airport to begin an adventure. Despite having previously only traveled by train, she felt she had a pretty good idea of where this bus stop was located and was sure to plan ahead, leaving with plenty of time to spare. As she followed the map, however, she realized that the bright red flag that perfectly illuminated the map on her smartphone and located the bus stop with perfect latitudinal accuracy happened to be right in the middle of a walled-in fortress in the middle of the city.

In all of her preparations to travel, this now awestruck traveler had somehow failed to take into account centuries-old fortresses built to keep everyone out. Trip Advisor had made no such recommendation! Nonetheless, the entrance was marked, as was her determination for a timely arrival to this ever-more-mystical bus stop. Following other travelers with suitcases in tow, this young woman soon became the only person in all the droves of travelers singled out to be stopped by the security guard—although what he was securing in the great beyond remained a mystery.

Upon asking her what nerve she had to be within this great city wall, the baffled woman could hardly suppress her reply: “What am I doing? I’m sorry, but what does it look like I’m doing? Going for a picnic? A nice leisurely stroll with a bursting backpack and a helpless look?”

Having none of it, the gruff guard maintained that this young woman couldn’t proceed past this “private” property—never mind the hoard of previous tourists that had gotten through without a hitch—and she was instructed to walk around the wall’s perimeter. Silently questioning her decision to wear her American university t-shirt amongst the elegant dark colors of all who had gotten past, she assured the incorrigible man that yes, of course, by all means, circumnavigating a giant fortress many meters long was already on her list of things to do today, no problem at all.

Sweating profusely, cursing silently and struggling all too obviously, a complete investigation of the sweeping barriers of this once-citadel caused the resigned young woman to miss the ever-evasive airport bus. Due to this rather unsuccessful detour, she instead found herself sprinting to the train station in all manner of disarray in order to avoid also missing her flight. Once there, the Monday morning rush hour of rolling suitcases and the clicking heels of young professionals meant she was in tough competition for a ticket, her limited knowledge of the language not sufficient to convey her sense of desperation accurately.

In fact, she wasn’t able to buy a ticket for the train to the airport at all, only managing to secure one that arrived much too late. This led to a rush of courage and a decision to hop aboard a train she wasn’t ticketed for in order to make her flight, all the while pretending that not sitting down and staying by the car door was due to a sudden and profound interest in quick access to the water closet. After the train came to a halt and she ran, skipped and jumped through the airport security line, there was barely a moment to spare as she boarded the flight and finagled her way into the window seat, comforted by the monotonous voice of the pre-flight safety demonstration.