This morning, I finally began to understand why Spaniards are such night owls — it was still dark at 8AM. I thought it was very odd that Spain is on the same time zone as Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, etc. As it turns out, it used to be on the same time zone as Britain, but then the dictator Franco changed the time zone to put Spain on the same time zone as Germany and the country has been out of whack since.
I woke up without an alarm, but it had not been a good night of sleep and I knew I was going to have to nap on the bus. I was already packed, so I was out the door by 8:30, with the bus being at 9:30. I had about a half hour walk ahead of me, so I wanted to stop for sustenance along the way and then hopefully get a coffee at or near the bus station.
Alicante was busier than I expected at that “early” hour, but there was very little open. I finally came to a proper bakery and was a little taken aback that two pastries and a large bottle of water were only 2.15 euros. There was a café at the bus station and when I asked for a coffee with a bit of milk, I was offered a “cortado,” which ended up being the best not-made-by-me coffee I’ve had since I got to Spain! The barista had a super thick accent, though, and his “1.20” sounded a lot like “90.” He was annoyed with me when I handed him just one euro and even more so when, still not sure what he’d said, I passed over two euro (instead of exact change). His grumpiness is forgiven for the perfection that was his coffee!
I then went to my… okay. I have to say this. I just blanked out completely on the English word for the Serbian peron. This is how I get when I’m tired — I lose my English! My platform, I went to my platform! There was a huge crowd waiting for a 9:15 bus to Madrid. That bus came and went and then nothing. 9:30 came and went. I thought I heard Almería on a loud speaker, but it was super tinny and I didn’t get anything else. I asked a couple of people and they hadn’t understood the announcement either. I was concerned our bus had moved to another platform. It finally pulled up around 9:45!
The driver did not get out to help load luggage and he didn’t check anyone’s ticket! Seating was assigned and very strict. I’d picked a window seat near the front and was satisfied with my selection even though, like on the train, the windows weren’t line up well with the seats and I got a lot of wall with my window.
We drove… If it wasn’t for the gas stations having different names, I would have thought I was in the Sonoran desert in Mexico. I eventually drifted off to sleep.
At almost bang on noon, we pulled into a station and the driver announced that we would be taking a 15-minute break and would be arriving about 30 minutes late in Almería. I emailed my host to let her know as she had offered to pick me up at the bus station. Thankfully, she got the message.
We finally pulled into Almería at 1:51, 31 minutes late. For all I heard people complain about buses in the Balkans, they ran like clockwork. So far, I prefer the smelly Spanish train. 😀
My host was waiting for me. Her house is in a suburb about 15 minutes from downtown Almería so she showed me where to get off and back on the bus when I come into the city. She then took me to her house, introduced me to my feline charge, showed me my room, and then we sat down to discuss practical matters regarding my gig. Out of respect to her, I am not giving any details about exactly where I am, the house, my responsibilities, etc. I can show pictures of the neighbourhood, local restaurants, the beach, etc. so give me time to get properly landed and all of that will come.
We went for a nice walk along the beach and through her neighbourhood, then came back for a rest. Around 7:30, we headed out to her favourite bar so I could have my first tapas! We had two glasses of white wine each and two tapas for just 8.50 euros total! The first tapa was a large chunk of seared tuna on tomato toast and the second one was a small order of fried calamari. Yum! I was really famished by this point, so the fish was welcome protein and the calamari gave me that bit of moreish I needed to not feel I was going to bed hungry.
Tomorrow is going to be a full day. We’re going out for breakfast, then my host will show me around a bit more, then I have work to do. I’ll be on my own as of Wednesday morning and will be here through to about December 16th.
I can’t believe I’m currently about the same distance from Africa as Haven is from Regina…