Trip Start May 31, 2006
170Trip End Ongoing
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Things I noticed right off is that were that there were small squares drawn on a corner of the floor for smokers...you have to smoke within that square. Made me realize how smokers are treated in Europe : confined to a far away corner. Another thing I noticed was that in the bathroom stalls there are small separate trash bins specifically designed for needles. Needles. I could only think of a junkie shooting up in the bathroom or someone who needs their insulin shot...but was a needle-bin necessary? Just love European sanitary regulations.
So we had made it into Europe without any complications; the next quest was to reach my parent's Madrilenian flat. We walked around the terminal looking for the Metro station which I was told by my parents was inside the Airport itself. People were very kind but they had no idea what directions they were giving, so we started to follow our own intuition and finally found the amazing subway terminal. Now we just had to figure out how we were going to carry the 80 kg's of luggage into the Metro without the trolley.
Somehow we managed, and we took the Linea 8 two stops into Colombia station where we had been directed to get off. We painfully got into an elevator that got us to the street level. We were more worried about keeping our luggage balanced and bundled together than in taking a first glance of a Madrid street and the first breadth of Madrid air. We were nervous about asking for directions, attempting to hail down fast-paced pedestrians for help.
It’s scary being in a new country, that’s for sure, and I felt it when we started aimlessly walking, pulling and carrying the amount of luggage a mountain mule could, and when no one could help us obtain a sense of orientation. The people were very friendly and polite, but no one had a clue about directions or locations. We were asking about a street that was a block away from where we were standing and people acted perplexed when we asked. All in all, we reached the right street and the right building, with melted suitcase wheels, sore backs and arms, and completely out of breath.
My mom and sister Sofia welcomed us warmly, and since I hadn't seen them in 5 months, the meeting just added to my delight. My dad was in Dubai for business and my other sister, Stephanie was still in school. My mom showed us around the apartment which was gorgeous and very comfortable with 3 bedrooms, two huge bathrooms, a very comfy kitchen, and all of it had been elegantly decorated by the Spanish landlady.
We sat in the den to have breakfast and do some catching up. I was more interested in having my mom and Ed get to know each other as this was the fist one-on-one meeting. So for the next few hours we sat conversing and eating; my mom had bought us veggie food and tons of fruit and vegetables. Ed and I were exhausted and wanted to sleep but we knew better than to succumb to our fatigue. We didn't want out internal sleeping schedule to get messed up so we stayed awake until it was a decent time to retire.
Throughout the day we looked out the window and watched the people and the cars, still incredulous that we were finally in Madrid. Tomorrow my dad will arrive from Dubai and we will go sightseeing around Madrid. Despite being physically fatigued, the gleaming smiles we had on our faces remained stable for the rest of the day.