September 20, 2012
I woke up every twenty minutes to make sure all our bags were still with us. At around 1 am, I gave up trying to sleep. I paced around the airport waiting for either Amissa to wake up or 5am, the time we’d have to move to our gate. I tried to use the next four hors productively by writing in my journal and organizing our backpacks. I ate half my bag of pretzels.
Amissa woke up. She went to the bathroom. When she came back, we cuddled on a comfort chair and fell asleep. We woke up around 5 am and made our way to Gate 86 for our flight to Alicante, Spain. It took us about twenty minutes of walking to get to our destination. We were the third couple to find Gate 86. As time went by, more and more people showed up — mainly, elderly Dutch people.
We boarded the plane around 6:55 am. Transavia. It was a two hour flight. No free food. No entertainment. Laughing Dutch people. I fell asleep most of the way. When I woke up, Amissa pointed out the window. The mountainous terrain was dominant and we wondered if we were over Spain or France. Soon after, we landed in Spain, our new home.
We grabbed a bite to eat at the airport before getting on the bus to Murcia city. The bus fare was €4,88 each and the ride was about an hour. Immediately after arriving at the Murcia bus station, we boarded the bus to Jumilla. Fare – €5,75/each. Duration – 1 hr. The landscapes were deserts, graffiti, abandoned country houses — reminiscent to a drive to Palmdale, California.
We arrived in Jumilla. We didn’t have our couchsurfing host’s, Ines, contact information. We carried our backpacks and rolled our suitcases up and around the city looking for an internet cafe. It was hot. We smelled like body odor. We finally found a “locotorio” where we had access to a computer and phone. We gave Ines a rang and we agreed to meet my the bus station.
Ines picked us up as soon as we reached the station. Being our first time meeting, we introduced ourselves and entered her vehicle. She was very nice and spoke good English. She said we would be more comfortable in her family country house. She had family over her apartment and it would be crowded with us there too. The country house was about a mile outside the city. We made our way in through a wooden gate and to one of the house doors. Ines felt it was appropriate to tell us that the day before she discovered that there was a break in. The door was busted open and nothing of value was stolen. I’ll be honest, I had second thoughts about Ines for that split second. I put it all together in my head. First, she takes us to the country house. Then, she tells us about a break in to seem like a victim. Finally, her and some strange men sacrifice our flesh to some pagan god.
We stepped into the dark country house, tense and nervous… AND everything was fine. We got a quick tour, placed the bags in our room, and then sat with Ines at the dinner table. She gave us some empanadas de tomate and de patata. Patata is how the Spaniards saw potato. It’s still very funny to hear. She told us she would be staying with us in the country house. She then invited us to go watch her balonmano (handball) training at 930 pm. It was Ines’ friends birthday and they choreographed a “flashmob.” We went back to the city to buy some groceries for the next day.
Mercadona was our first Spanish market experience. Overall similar to American markets with differences in size, products, and they charge for plastic bags. We bought some bread, Jamon Serrano de Hembra, gouda cheese, mango-apple juice, eggs, tomatoes, and onions. We left the groceries in Ines’ coche and then walke to her friend Anna’s house. Ines had to drop some part of the gift they were preparing for her handball teammate.
We entered the flat and were greeted by a roomful of girls — Anna, Elena, Teresa, and Anna’s mother and younger sister. Anna’s dog Adiana didn’t like strangers too much but wasn’t violent. On Anna’s couch was a little furball kitten. Its cuteness cannot be described. Amissa was completely engaged with this kitten. As me and Amissa sat on the couch, Ines and her friends put together an album of photos for her friend. Their accent was wild with so much speed and slang. I grew tired and nauseous, partly from the lack of sleep and deep-fried empanadas. I fell asleep on the couch for about an hour. No one said anything.
We returned to Ines’ “campo” and put away the groceries. Ines went to go renew her license. Amissa and I got ready for a shower. I went to the room to get some clothes. Amissa screams. A giant centipede crawls out of the drain. We captured him and now have him as a pet.
Afte the shower we took a nap. Ines came home. We were too tired to go to her handball training and just went back to sleep. That was our first day in Spain.