errores estúpidos números 8 y 9

error estúpido número 8: americanos típicos

I think the hotel staff felt sorry for us when we arrived in two separate cabs, lugging 5 suitcases, 4 carry-ons, 2 hand bags, 1 mandolin and a couple of wired/bedraggled children.  They let us check in early.

“BUNK BEDS IN A HOTEL ROOM?!?” Graham shouted.  “Yay Spain!  Booooo America.”

Okay.  So far, kid buy-in seems easy.

But then we attempted breakfast.  We were all starving, having only picked at airport/airline food for the past 24 hours.  We dropped our bags, washed our faces and ran around the corner to the first breakfast-ish looking restaurant we could find.  Thankfully the menu was simple, had lots of pictures, and some English.  We were just too hangry to translate.  So we ordered as if we were at a U.S. diner.  Pancakes for the kids, juice, coffee, eggs, toast, fruit, Rob even got a smoothie.  Seemed completely normal to me.  I couldn’t figure out why the waitress ran, giggling, back to the kitchen.  I saw her there, gathering her coworkers, gesturing toward our table, snickering and shaking her head.  Maybe my hunger and exhaustion was making me paranoid.  Or maybe…

It took the entire staff of three girls to deliver our food.  The plates overflowed off the table and onto the nearby ledge.  They asked if we needed anything else.  I think her exact words may have been: “Can we shovel any more food in your general direction, you gluttonous Americans?”

Um.  No.  Gracias.

We ate all of it.

Then we hung our heads and slunk out of the restaurant.  On the way I noticed the Spanish patrons sipping their tiny cups of cafe con leche, nibbling their tiny plates of croissant.

Just wait.  This food thing is going to become a theme.

2015-08-05 16.58.18

walls and graffiti everywhere

error estúpido número 9:  sleep and walls

All the advice I’ve gotten about dealing with jet-lag is to jump into the local time as fast as possible.  Well, I daresay that advice is for people without kids.  If I had to do it all again I would probably have let us fall asleep at 6pm, like we all wanted to do.  Instead, we took a quick rest, then dragged the kids out on a expedition to find a camera store.  “Come on!  It’ll be an adventure!” we cheerily proclaimed.  “The store is right next to a nice cool botanical garden with ponds and playgrounds and stuff.”  They looked skeptical.  And they were right.

2015-08-05 17.20.45

powering through with the help of forbidden soda

To make a long, hot, uphill story short: it was hot, we walked a long time, mostly uphill.

The camera store (which didn’t have what I needed anyway) was indeed next to the park, but we couldn’t get in because everything is apparently behind a wall.  We walked what seemed to the kids the length of the entire city to find an entrance.  When we finally did, the park only served as a shortcut back to the hotel, as we were too exhausted to explore any longer.

Short rest (which we desperately wanted to be longer) and we headed out to find a restaurant.  Our first dinner in Spain.  Time to celebrate, right?  But almost nothing was open.  It was only 8pm, after all.  When we finally found a place, Rob ordered a (ridiculously expensive) G&T and I requested a (ridiculously cheap) glass of wine.  Both good.  The kids ordered milk, which came out hot and frothy.  Violet reached into her handbag and produced a packet of hot chocolate mix.  (Don’t ask.  I don’t know.)  The waitress seemed confused, or offended.

2015-08-05 18.48.32

the first phrase we needed to translate

We waited a long time for our free tapas, before remembering that’s only an Andalucian thing.  So we ordered what turned out to be fries and deep fried mashed potato balls.  At least the kids were happy and full.

Another theme we’ll be exploring in the coming year is Time: how long everything takes here, and how frustrating that can be to our American sensibilities; especially after traveling across an ocean and getting very little sleep.  It was way too late for rationality and cheer by the time we left the restaurant and got the kids ready for bed.

And then Rob got a very jarring, very unexpected phone call.  It was not one that we could, in our state of mind, process very well.  Instead, the kids and I immediately fell asleep. (Which is my preferred method of dealing with unsetting situations.)  Rob tossed and turned (his preferred method) but eventually fell asleep.  We all slept so hard that no one  seemed to mind when Graham fell out of bed in the middle of the night, including Graham.  (Don’t worry, he was on the bottom bunk.)

We woke up 14 hours later when our AirBnB host called to ask us where we were.


Coming up:  the phone call and the A/C


4 Responses to “errores estúpidos números 8 y 9

  • Uncle Joe
    8 years ago


  • aagh! tormento
    what we have to wait? Get back to your keyboard and write!

  • Susan Wainwright
    8 years ago

    Hang in there you guys! I.W.A.W.O. Waiting breathlessly for your next post! 🙂


  • Fabulous story. Keep them coming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *