Saturday, March 19, 2011


Mad At
It was non-trivial to get here. Despite my careful planning and packing and eager anticipation to take what is more a vacation than business trip, nothing seemed to go as planned during my arriving travel.

I had to leave before my parents arrived, outraging Chienne and making me sad.

US Airways had a broken plane, leading to a 3 hour delay that effectively ate my layover where I'd planned to grab a snack, change currency and generally settle.

After serious stress about that, I ended up demanding they rebook me on another airline and did make my flight (having time for cash and a bottle of water) before boarding.

The plane was uncomfortable. While the middle section was encouraged to spread out and utilize the empty seats for greater comfort, I was in one of the two edge seats, smooshed against a Spanish stranger who kept poking me in the side with his elbow.

We arrived in Madrid early (yay!) but parked at the airport for ~30 minutes before pulling up to our gate. My muscles screamed in protest, mainly because the seat belt sign was on for the entire flight. So I'd been squished in my window seat (that didn't have a window by the way - it was more a plastic-wall seat) for upwards of 7 hours.

Immigration was easy - I don't think I've ever been allowed into a country with less fuss, including my own.

The cab ride through dawn was likewise pleasant. So I was starting to feel pretty good about the city in general, catching my breath with the charm of the cobblestone streets as we neared my hotel.

But said hotel had given away my room. So I pitched a fit, eyes filling with tears and threatening "bad review online. Very bad!" Despite my bad behavior, she booked me in a sister hotel for the same rate I'd had there (which was admittedly cheap) and added free breakfasts. Then she sent me on my way with a map and directions to walk the several blocks to what I hoped would be my home for the next few days.

Madly Affectionate Toward
Even as I hefted my duffel bag on one shoulder and laptop bag on the other, I felt my mood shift as I walked through the soft light of the dreamy morning. More than happy to be charmed by the cool breeze and blossoms on trees and pretty balconies on lovely buildings, I slipped camera from bag and took a few photos as I followed the simple directions and nodded at the few people on the sidewalks with me.

I arrived at my hotel where she had a room ready and apologies prepared.

"No," I shook my head at her. "You've both been perfectly lovely and I'm just being grumpy. I'm sorry. And thank you for giving me a room - I need a shower and nap so I can be less evil."

I admired the recently renovated building and found my room, a quiet interior habitacione with 3 windows in the tiny space and a gorgeous glass-walled shower. I immediately stripped and took advantage of the latter, sending an email to my parents wrapped in a towel before falling into bed and peering at my map to devise a walking route for later on.

I slept for four hours, longer than I'd planned by far, but decided to embrace the relaxation of muscles and deep, dreamless rest that I was enjoying a great deal. I finally felt awake, brushed my teeth, dressed, straightened my hair and set off with my map and camera to wander Madrid.

And it was pretty much perfect. The weather is wonderful - warm but not hot, sunny but with plenty of shade. Spanish people and tourists were out in force, admiring the scenery, consuming food and drink and conversation. There was laughter and fun and even when I got lost (twice - I have no sense of direction at all), I still found pockets of people dining outside and pretty buildings and fountains and even the signs that name streets.

So I enjoyed the sound of my yellow flip flops on the sidewalks and the swish of my dress around my knees and eagerly gulped water ('please be still, please don't sparkle' I begged the bottle before twisting the cap) as I smiled at the children playing and the couples kissing and the various people basking in the sun. I took pictures and saw sights and considered stopping for a drink or meal or just to watch, but enjoyed the movement so I continued to wander until my feet grew sore.

Returning to the hotel, I washed my face and tossed my shoes in the corner and flopped on my comfortable bed. And wrote a blog post about how anger shifted rather easy to affection.

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