Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Struggle Gets Out of Town

So as it turns out I'm currently writing this on my stomach on a bunk-bed in a hostel in Madrid. Funny how life turns out.

This morning I was lying in bed in Tobarra, not 10 hours ago, counting the minutes until it made sense to get up. As I waited for light to fill the sky I couldn't help but reflect upon the day ahead. Because Tobarra is a tiny town, remote from most major cities, the only way to leave it's dusty little shadow is to take a bus from the Estacion de Autobus which rests on the eastern limits of the town. Of course, this is Spain, and rural Spain at that, so no one is quite sure when the bus comes or where it stops. Deciding that I wasn't willing to risk missing my only ride, I arrived at the station at 7:45, which turned out to be just in time for me to wait for an hour for the bus. Joining a group of bewildered chain smoking Spaniards I waited on the sidewalk with my belongings around me in the morning chill, thinking, well, with fun times like this, who needs coffee, you know?

Two bus rides and one furious and painful walk later (new shoes, many blocks, heavy bags, a regular recipe for fun)I was standing in the Albacete Train station. Let me tell you something about Spain, just in case you ever consider visiting. Please, trust me on this one, never go to Albacete. Just, let that dream go. Really. I'll save you the train fare. And, frankly, that's not nothing, honestly, because even if European train travel is cheaper then train travel in the US, well, it's still nothing to sneeze at. It takes a lot of money to get out of a one horse town, let me tell you.

My two hour wait in Albacete was followed by two hours on a train to Madrid, watching the countryside go by in all it's dry desolate beauty. This was the alternative to watching the 2008 remake of the classic film The Women. One of the most hilarious things about Spanish train travel is that they provide you with movies and headphones, like a plane. On the way to the farm they gave us the animated version of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and so frankly I consider The Women an upgrade, and a positive sign. However, dubbed Meg Ryan isn't really my thing, so I opted out of the movie and watched the country go by. Equally lovely is the individually wrapped jelly bean they give you as the train pulls into the station. A waste of plastic, sure, but delicious.

When I arrived in Madrid I ended up walking the wrong way for a few blocks before I got my bearings. However, now that I'm showered, changed, no longer smell of horse and have left Tobarra far behind, well, I'm feeling a little more at peace with the world. Bring it on, struggle. I've got wifi, I downloaded the new Mad Man, I'm ready. Hola, Madrid. Vamos a luchar.

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