I met some decent guys in Spain — one of which, for one reason or another, came to my rescue when I was stranded in Burgos on a Sunday morning with a locked door between me and the only room with a phone.
None of the hotel staff were there to help, and none of the people who lived in the small village that was a good five minutes’ drive from Burgos either had a phone or wanted me to use it.
Phone bills in Spain come every two months, and they hurt every time.
I prayed for help. I whined a little. I may have stomped my foot.
And just when I was about to grab my suitcase-on-wheels and my tote bag and walk all the way back to Burgos in the desperate hope of getting to the bus station on time for my scheduled ride to Santander, a stranger on a motorcycle came up the road and pulled up to the hotel.
I told him my predicament, and he drove back to Burgos and hired a taxi, which he rode back to the hotel to pick me up. After delivering me to the bus station, he suggested we get some breakfast in the station’s café. I ordered a tortilla francesa and some coffee, and when I was done and ready to pay, he would not let me pay for it. He immediately paid for both of us, and while I was grateful, I was also uncomfortable about that.
I knew so little about this man, but as we talked — while waiting for my bus — he told me he’d recently broken up with his girlfriend, and he was thinking we’d met for a reason. Maybe, he said, I was destined to be his next girlfriend.
Ohhhhhh, no. What do I say?
I’m guessing the panic showed just a teensy bit in my face.
He’d just saved me another night’s lodgings at the “just outside Burgos” pensión — or a dangerous walk along the winding road back to Burgos — and I didn’t want to sound ungrateful, but . . .
And then the bus came!
I thanked him again and said something like, “I’m really not looking for a boyfriend right now, but I really appreciate everything you’ve done. And maybe . . . we’ll meet again. Thank you!!! I’d better go.”
He helped me load my bags into the bus’s cargo hold, and I shook his hand, thanked him again, and said good-bye. Then I boarded the bus and my racing heart started to calm down.
In Santander, I met up with a fellow student of Western Oregon University, who was teaching English in Santander and who had recently begun a romantic relationship with one of his students.
She came along, and we talked as the three of us walked around and explored the town.
For some reason, her teacher/boyfriend made a point of showing me, at every opportunity, that they were a couple.
At one point, I offered to leave and give them some privacy, since it was getting a little awkward.
She gave me a look that said, “No, really, you should stay! Please, STAY!!” Plus, she also said, “No, don’t go.”
So, I stayed a while longer.
This was the guy I’d met during Easter break, because we both wanted to spend Easter in Avila. He’d come to Oviedo for a visit some weeks before, and we’d agreed to meet in Avila, just to have someone tolerable to travel with.
So, we met there and walked around for a bit, exploring the city together for part of the time and then splitting up so each could go to different places.
On one of those days, we were supposed to meet back at the main plaza in Avila. What I didn’t realize was that there was to be a procession that evening — in that plaza. And there were a LOT of people. I would have stuck around and just enjoyed watching the procession if it weren’t for the fact that I was cold (not having brought a jacket), and I was looking for the guy who’d agreed to meet me there.
I looked all over the plaza, not wanting to leave until I was sure he wasn’t there. I was actually worried that he’d gotten lost or that we were missing each other over and over again, because of the thick crowds.
After staying about an hour, I finally gave up and headed back to the hotel (which was in the same building as the train station), and who should I see eating in the station’s café but the guy who was supposed to meet me in the plaza.
He told me, matter-of-factly, that he’d gone to the plaza, saw how busy it was, and decided to head back to the hotel, reasoning that I would most likely do the same thing.
I stood there shivering, staring a hole into his face.
He was done eating by then, so he excused himself to go up to his room. I forced a smile and told him to go ahead and have a good night. I was in no mood for his company right then, anyway.
Plus, I’d bought something called “yemas de Santa Teresa,” having been told by my Abuelita that they were a delicacy. Apparently, they are egg yolks saturated in sugar.
I tried. I really did try.
But I could not eat more than one. And I may have tossed most of that one.
The rest I gave to my Abuelita when I returned to Oviedo. She was a little offended that I thought they were nasty, but she recovered from her disappointment in me when she saw how I devoured the food she put in front of me.
*Note: On reflection, I changed the word ” shmuck” to ” guy” (” the guy who was supposed to meet me in the plaza”), since I’m not really sure what shmuck means besides maybe “thoughtless clod,” and anyway, calling him an insulting name doesn’t add to the story.