Sunday, January 18, 2009

South of Spain: Making the Best out of a Bad Situation

Part 2: Their condo in Elviria was beautiful - nestled in the hills. But, without a car, I was stranded... and I wanted to see Spain. I wanted to travel and see the sites, dance flamenco, see a bull ring and eat some amazing tapas. Debbie had other ideas. I, all of sudden, had turned from her playmate into her daughter's nanny. When I talked about wanting to travel the Spanish sites she told me we should stay home. I tried to do everything right to make Debbie happy, like wake up early every morning to make the beds, or take care of the baby, but nothing seemed to please her. I felt like I was walking on egg shells which is a horrible feeling to have... especially when you thought you were supposed to be on vacation.

Then, one night, after about 5 days of staying with her, she told me this wasn't working out and I needed to leave. I was shocked and really didn't see it coming. I was also in trouble because I hadn't set finances aside for traveling alone for 10 days (A mistake I would never make again). I convinced Debbie that I would leave in the morning as it was dark outside and we were on hill. I thought I could convince Bobby to change Debbie's mind. He could not. In the morning he drove me to the nearest hotel at the bottom of the hill and left me there.

I knew no one in Spain, hadn't made any other travel plans, didn't know where I was or had any travel books. Oh yes, and I was alone and scared. I had never traveled alone.

I decided to check myself into the hotel to catch my breath. I spent a day depressed, alone in my hotel room. I recharged my batteries and then talked to the front desk about excursions and travel tours arranged by the hotel. I called my father to let him know what was going on. "Do you want to come home?" my father asked. "No, I am going to try this on my own and I promise to stay in touch."

So off I went to discover Spain by myself. On bus tours, I saw a bull ring, Seville and Ronda. I took a day trip to Gibraltar, saw monkeys eating chocolate and touched the Rock of Gibraltar. I found an Internet cafe where the owner hated all Americans due to the recent bombings in Madrid. By the end of the week, he invited me over to his home for dinner. I tried new foods, drinks and flamenco danced. I met two boys from New York who took me to a locals only carnival. I was having the best time.

After a about week a fax came to my hotel room. I thought "Who was faxing me as only my father knew I was here?" It was from Bobby who had snuck away from Debbie and sent me a fax with directions and maps for when I was in London. I guess he must have felt guilty and was concerned that I would get lost in London. I knew I would be fine once I landed in London as my friend was picking me up there. Bobby's note only said, "Sorry things turned out this way, but I'm sure you understand why."

To this day I have my assumptions, but am not sure what happened. How can you ask someone to come and stay with you and then turn your back on them?

I was never in contact with them again. Looking back, I feel I made the most out of a tough situation. I had a wonderful time and went on adventures that I would not have done otherwise. If it wasn't for Debbie's encouragement to travel to her, I might have never picked up the love of travel and wanting to see the world. Have you ever traveled alone? Tell me about your experiences!

* (I took the first above picture of gorgeous old town Rhonda, Spain. Rhonda is known as the birthplace for bullfighting. I was lucky enough to see this monkey living on Gibraltar and snapped the second above picture. The monkey had just stolen some chocolate from a tourist and was eating away.)


Simplicity said...

Wow! You must have been terrified, but excited at the same time!

It's sad that you had to get dumped into the thick of things to sink or swim, but it looks like you swam and kept right on swimming! Yay you!

Stephanie said...

It does sound very exciting, but Debbie and her actions sound completely bizarre.

A monkey eating chocolate? That's so fun. I'm glad the experience ended up being such a positive for you!

Laura said...

Hi Sim and Stephanie,

We never know what we are capable of until we are pushed sometimes. I really had the best time once the dust settled :)

Braja said...

Funny; someone tried to do the same trip on me last year in Malaysia.... and that was after breaking my golden rule of never travelling with anyone. I learned :)

I loved the photo, it's incredibly attractive in the real sense of the word....

June Saville said...

Sometimes alone is the best company. And you can have really intelligent conversations ...
June in Oz

George said...

Blindsided by a deception can go in a couple of ways shear terror or self-discoveries. I'm glad it workout for you and then to walk away all the wiser for it.

That says a lot about your inner strength.

Good story and lessons...

La Belette Rouge said...

What a horrible experience. It sounds like you made the best of it. I am sure you learned a lot about yourself during that trip. I have traveled a lone and I absolutely learned a lot about my strength and ability to be at home in the world.

Laura said...

Sometimes things happen and we never know why until much later. I know I was supposed to have that experience in Spain to know not to be scared in life.

I am glad you like the pictures. I will share more with you soon.

Charli said...

Laura - you certainly DID make the best out some scary times. I'll bet it made you tougher. Or maybe you never would have been able to do it if you weren't so tough?

Thanks for sharing such interesting stories with us!


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Le laquet said...

I'm glad that you went ahead and made the most of the time you had there instead of crumbling - which I bet could have been so easy. I love the south of Spain :o)