Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Spain Story

So there is always that 'one' story from study abroad.  You know the one I am talking about.  That story that just defines the rest of your trip.

My story begins on the last Sunday of Semana Santa (Holy Week)  This is the week before Easter and basically functions like a giant spring break for the entire country.

On a side note there are also a bunch of holy people running around in these outfits, which can darn near give an American like me a heart attack

This of course is not Spain paying homage to the Ku Klux Klan.  These robes are actually from a much older tradition that symbolizes the mourning process while respecting the anniversary of Jesus' passing.

But I digress.  On this last Sunday of Semana Santa I found myself in the Malaga airport, or better put, I found myself stuck at the Malaga airport.  
A highland cow with better hair than me
 Allow me to explain.  I had spent the better part of this break in Scotland visiting a friend.  It was very fun, lots of green spaces, cows and good food.  Unfortunately, my return trip to Spain was delayed by more than an hour and as a result I missed my bus back to Granada.  So there I was, stuck in a city two hours away from home with no hopes of catching a ride until the next morning. To make matters worse there was nothing but a metal bench to sleep on and my stuffed cow (whose name is cow) to keep me company.

Let's just say I did not get much sleep, but fortunately I did not pass the entire night in the airport.  THIS is when the story gets interesting.

     It's about 2am and the airport was then empty save me.  I had been dozing for the past hour or so when something sent me bolting awake.  I didn't have my glasses on, so what I saw was horror movie worthy: a dark shape looming just a couple feet away.  

     A tense moment passed between me and this shadow that I assumed was a person.  I finally broke down and muttered an 'Hola'.  It all went smoothly from that point.  I was able to get my glasses on and the 'O so scary' shadow turned out to be a taxi driver who had come in to see if anyone wanted a lift back to central Malaga.  

     I obviously did not need that and he couldn't leave until his shift was done so I asked him to pop a squat and chat with me since we were both stuck.   I found out his name was Juanma (a shortened version of Juan Manuel) and that he had 3 kids and a beautiful wife who was an amazing preschool teacher.  We talked for hours about life, the universe and whatever, and before we knew it his shift was up.  He thanked me for asking him to sit down and chat, and said it was the nicest thing anyone had done for him.  He then left to go home, but my story doesn't end there.
      About 10 minutes later he came walking back into the airport.  He told me he just couldn't leave me here and that we had to haggle.  I didn't mention this before, but the entire time Juanma and I were talking it was in Spanish.  This being said, I began to wonder if I was translating wrong as I had no clue what he meant by haggle.  Apparently he could see my confusion because he began to explain.  He began by saying it would cost about $400 euros to take me in his taxi from Malaga to Granada.  At this point I was just flabbergasted, because (A) I had not expected this in the slightest and (B) $400 Euros was my budget for 2 months and I could not imagine blowing that much money in one night.  I told him I could not possible pay that sum, that I only had $60 euros on me.  He smiled and said he couldn't take all my money.  A few minutes later he was packing my suitcase into his taxi and my wallet was $20 euros lighter.

     I spent the next two hours helping to improve his English, looking at the Spanish country side and singing along to the radio.  By the time we reached Granada it was 5am and Jaunma still had to drive two hours back to Malaga.

 The only thing I have left of him is this grainy picture and the hope for humanity he instilled in me.


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