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Wait Time in Salamanca

It’s early in Salamanca, and we’re in the in-betweens. In between when everything is closed and when it opens. In between awake and asleep. A living limbo in the train station. You know… You’ve been here. Now it’s our turn. This morning started at 4:15 when I stepped out of my sleeper, and Ken stepped out of his. No co-ed sleeper cars for us out of Basque country. My roomates for the evening were (I surmised) two adult sisters and their mother. When I opened the door into the sleeper (to which I was directed by the uniformed attendant), Mama sounded off like an alarm. All I could do while she was overcoming my injustice in loud, protesting Portgese is stand in the doorway as unthreateningly as possible and hold my ticket and my ground. Eventually, I understood that it was less my filling a bunk as my filling a bottom bunk that got her going. I pointed at myself and then at the top bunk. Polite smiles exchanged with the daughters, and I was presented with the ladder to climb to the top bunk. That was somewhere in the neighborhood of 11:00.

I slept. Ken seems not so lucky. He looks tired. A 24-hour coffee shop inside the train station is our salvation. The weather turned during our daytrip to San Jean de Luz yesterday. We got caught in the rain, and thus kicked off our waiting time earlier than expected. Whereas now we’re waiting for a reasonable hour when other businesses will be open, last night we were waiting out the rain and waiting for transport back across the Spanish-French border to San Sebastian earlier than we otherwise would have been. As we arrived here this morning, we saw that we brought the rain with us.

So, I’m glad to be at least partially-rested, warm, dry, safe, and caffeinated. I’ll take this moment to extol the utter fantastic-ness of traveling with a smart phone. Ken and I tend to compose these little ditties during the inevitable wait times that accompany travel and upload them when a wifi opportunity presents itself. This is the first trip of its kind where I’ve had my own snazzy gadgetry, and I’ve really enjoyed keeping up with the news, writing emails (without hunting down any Internet cafés or navigating funny keyboards), uploading pictures to Facebook, and posting my few entries to this blog. Being this connected changes the way it feels to travel.

Speaking of the news, Spain is in the headlines in the US because public workers here are threatening to strike over wage cuts due to take effect this month. We’ve heard a lot of protests in many of the places we’ve visited. I assume they’re all focused on the economic situation, which I only vaguely understand. Other than the seemingly frequent protests (and the increasingly favorable—for us—exchange rate converting dollars to euros) our personal experience as foreign tourists has not called real attention to Spain’s economic hardship. I personally hope it stays that way for us and that we continue to avoid inconveniences (such as a strike by public workers) for the remainder of our stay. That the country and its people are struggling is clear. Reading about concerns that the EU and/or its currency could fail bother me a lot. I’d always thought the whole notion of the EU was/is lofty. I wish I knew more about the situation here (in Spain particularly) but much more than that, I wish it fixed, rapido.

That about taps my tired brain for this early morning. We’re going to try for a bus into town where we’ll occupy more wait time getting breakfast. Hola from Salamanca!


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