Sunday, November 8, 2009

Seville Travel Log: Day One

Jendia’s Epic Seville Travel Log

Day 1: The airport, the plane, the other airport, the other plane, the other other airport, the cab, the hotel, the failed Google, the awkward waiter, the David Bowie.

We leave Ursinus campus an hour late…because it’s us. Jon, the one who wanted to hide in the suitcase, drove and thoughtfully sang along to Panic at the Disco with India….for the whole ride. Katie and Jen were not pleased. When we ran out of Panic at the Disco, we found a Carpenter’s cover band cd in the glove compartment in the glove compartment. They were singing in Cantonese. It was epic. Upon arrival at the airport, it became clear that we can’t read, as we tried to get boarding passes in business class. We turned to the nearest security guard to ask for directions, but he stopped a clearly freaking out India with the complete non-sequitor “Do I look like the kind of man who could own a Pomeranian?” This man was a total beefcake, but did end up giving us directions. Good to know that we were getting lost in the airport where we could still speak the language, right?

India’s decision to wear her Obama shirt as a “Please be nice to me, I voted for Obama” gesture was successful, as she was enthusiastically greeted throughout security and told that her shirt was awesome. We then totally freaked out and called our moms, changed our currency, and boarded the plane, after freaking out about not being in the correct line (even though we were).

They showed Harry Potter on the plane. We were so happy, but we didn’t sleep at all. Bad decision. Seven hours later, we landed in Madrid, and the airport was really cool. We fought the urge to take too many pictures, but we did get ice cream. At 10:30 in the morning. But it’s ok, because it was still Day 1. We were saddened by the fact that it was less confusing to find a connecting flight in a foreign airport where we don’t speak the language than it was in New York. What the hell. Then our flight was delayed, and as soon as India started writing her paper, we began boarding. Following Jen’s umpteenth freak out about taking off/landing/turbulence/big clouds, we collapsed into our seats and immediately lost consciousness.

Somehow we managed to make it off the plane with our carry-ons and through baggage claim, though we don’t remember the journey. Also, it became clear that India should do the talking, as Jen stared bug-eyed at the customs official, who eventually gave up and waved us through. The cab was relatively painless, since apparently standing in the middle of the road, staring at the cab line with a confused expression gets you one. Apparently we should have practiced hailing them in English first. Whoops.

But we survived the cab ride and didn’t get into a situation with terrorists and Uzbekistan, a la “Taken.” People were concerned. We arrived at the totally awesome hotel, and completely failed to find reception. Until we remembered that we could read. Funny, that. So we checked in, stashed our bags, and thoughtfully googled directions to the conference location. Fail. We left the hotel, directions in hand, and successfully walked a block around our hotel. Upon returning to the front desk, we gave Google the finger and asked the concierge. The concierge wins. Also, he had maps. Life was good. We wandered around down town, finding abandoned alcohol bottles in trees and under benches, which Jen tried to sleep on – the bench, not the bottle, though both are equally hobo-esque. India almost fell asleep standing up. Classy.

We found the Spanish Gaming Store, nerd central. India was proud. Jen walked away. It was a good decision.

We finally got to the University of Seville, but alas, this was not where the conference was. Well, at least not in the part that we found first. But it was there, eventually!

After the hobo-ing and the classiness, we decided that it would be prudent to take a quick nap before dinner. The getting up part sucked. All of the restaurants that we had noticed when out searching for the conference were a ways away, and alas, laziness prevailed once more. We settled on eating in the hotel, but all of the restaurants were closed except for the Italian one. How appropriate.

What transpired next was one of the most horrifically awkward dinners of our lives. From two sorority girls, that’s saying something. Communicating in monosyllabic phrases, even though the waiter was capable of communicating in English and India was capable of communicating in Spanish, orders were taken at great social expense. How did this even happen. After getting our admittedly delicious food, the waiter asked us if we would like desert. We said no, thanks. He then proceeded to ignore us for fifteen minutes. Inexplicable. After two harrowing rounds of “nose-goes,” Jen lost and asked the waiter for the check. He gave us the stink eye. What. But! He did get the check. And we fled, a herd of awkward turtles leading the way back to our room.

We affirmed that we had no idea how to properly enjoy a city like Seville through Wikipedia and google maps, which continued to fail by not having any of the correct street names. And then we practiced our presentation a million and a half times, greatly reducing the number of “ums.”

We have been awake for nearly 36 hours. The bar played David Bowie and some kid epically face-planted, the sound of him hitting the floor echoed throughout the lobby.

It was a great day.

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