In my final Spain visitation post, I could play up any number of different angles, but here are the final three highlights/lowlights...
- This isn't my eye, but it illustrates how scary I looked.
1) An insufficiently clean pair of contacts netted me a mean stye on my final full day in-country, so I was driven to the local pharmacia where, unlike American dispensaries, patients can be prescribed medicines on the spot based on whatever symptoms they're displaying. I paid 2.5 euros for a tube of antibacterial cream and was back out the door in under three minutes. A Spaniard in a similar situation in our country wouldn't dare hope for comparable treatment from our health care system.
- The Spaniards taught me a thing or two about food and community.
2) My "eat what's on your plate" childhood training and vomit reflex towards shellfish duked it out on my last day of work in Spain. In celebration of their Falles
festival, our Valencian hosts cut out of work early to partake of a massive paella
, freshly prepared over a roaring fire in a back patio area. Chock full of lobster and shrimp, watching the witches' brew come together tested my ability to overcome years of picky eating. As is their custom, they heaped a mega-serving onto everyone's plates. Surprise of surprises, I actually liked it. I still bear no love for the rubbery texture of shrimp, but the flavor combination of the paella was absolutely outstanding. And sharing not only the food but the communitymindedness of my Spanish compatriots was a unique experience.
- If this show isn't everything it's cracked up to be, I'm going to track that British girl down and recoup my expenses.
3) Stuck in a horribly cramped seat, sandwiched between three strangers for the 10.5-hour flight from Paris to Seattle, I struck up a conversation with a British national on her way to Vancouver, B.C. to visit friends. I admitted being a huge fan of the original versions of Life on Mars
and The Office
, and asked her what her own favorite British TV show is. "Only Fools and Horses
," she said. And she guaranteed I'll like it—a bold statement from someone who'd exchanged less than five minutes of conversation with me. I plan to put her assurance to the test—and soon. Look for my findings in print or here on the Cobweb.
All in all, despite losing luggage, missing out on a great tour of historic Valencia, suffering an infected eyelid, eating shrimp and being forced to talk to strangers, my trip to Espana was a resounding success. Everyone on the planet could learn a lot by getting out their country to hobnob with foreigners once in a while.