For the next nine days, I am going to be exploring four new cities, in four different countries, all revolving around my plan to go to Hungary for the first time. It's the country where my grandfather was born, and the country he and his parents immigrated to the United States from, which means it's definitely influenced my life.
But before I can get to Hungary, I've got to get to Eastern Europe, and before I can get to Eastern Europe, I have had to journey a little through Southern Spain. (Not a bad place to have to start your trip.) So yesterday, I went from my town, Écija, to Córdoba (40 minutes) with some workmates when we finished at the high school, spent a few hours walking around and relaxing, then took a blablacar (rideshare) to Málaga (1 1/2 hours), where I am now, and where the adventure already has begun.
I really do not understand why it always seems to happen that I am arriving to a new place, trying to meet up with my host, ride, or person I'm meeting up with in said new place, and ALWAYS WITHOUT A PHONE! Seriously, I am notorious for showing up somewhere with less than 10% battery in my phone, therefore adding so much stress to trying to coordinate, use the map, contact my point of contact, and anything else that you usually need to do when you first arrive anywhere.
I don't know if you've been following along on my adventures, but the last time this happened, it left me in a serious This Will Be Funny Tomorrow-type of situation (which you can read about here), stranded in the Red Light District of Brussels. Thankfully, this time I'm in a country where I speak the language, it's not the middle of the night, and I'm not in a neighborhood where there are massive dildos and S&M toys displayed in all the windows surrounding me. But still.
So my ride left me near the football stadium here in Málaga, and I turned on my phone to tell my Couch Surfing host where he could meet me. He was going to come pick me up with his scooter to bring me to his house. I turned my phone on, nervous that there was only 4% battery left, told him I'd arrived, shared my location with him, and then turned it off, praying for the best. But when more than 15 minutes had passed and he still hadn't arrived, I felt a bit sure that something was going wrong.
I turned my phone back on to check in, but didn't end up writing to ask if everything was ok. I didn't want to make him feel like I was impatient, because really, not that much time had passed, and since he hadn't written me, I figured it was still ok. So I turned my phone back off, and waited a bit longer. But then, more time passed, and no scooter pulled up to pick me up, and I was more certain than ever he was having a hard time finding me. (Obviously.) This time, there were messages. Ones that made it clear I had messed up by having my phone off, he was driving in circles to find me, and he was a little annoyed. I managed to write down his phone number on my hand and get off a quick message about where I was, and was just about to call when my phone died. Grrreat.
I decided I would wait another 10 minutes, just in case he showed up, then go to a bar and charge my phone. He'd messaged me his address, so I knew I could get to his place, but not before I turned on my phone to get the address out of it. Then I decided I should definitely call him and tell him my plan, and started scoping out which person passing by I should ask. A nice looking gal was walking by with her dog, and I asked if I could use her phone to call someone. Thankfully she said yes and he answered, and we were able to sort out where I was. Unfortunately, he had just arrived back home, but after speaking to my new street friend, she explained where I was, and they set a meeting point for me. She was even kind enough to walk with me to get there, since it was on her route. During which time I learned that in Spain certain dogs that are labeled "dangerous dogs" (pitbulls and such) are required to wear a strap around their mouths when being walked around, or the owner can be fined. Ridiculous! Her dog was so sweet! But I digress..
It turns out that the location Google/Whatsapp shared with him was not where I was, and he'd been driving around five minutes from where I was standing, looking for me for over half an hour. It also turned out that the entrance to the stadium, a perfectly wonderful place to tell someone to meet you, was right in front of me (well, just down the street), but I had been looking at it as though it were a service entrance of some sort. Whoops.
Lesson learned: Do not show up somewhere without phone battery (again, anymore, of course), and if you're trying to meet someone, even if you're in a new city and know nothing about it, be proactive and just tell the person you'll meet them in an easy-to-find place. Even if you don't know where it is (the entrance to the stadium, for example), just say you'll meet them there, then walk around asking somewhere where it is till they tell you.
Sorry, Juan. And thanks for going in so many circles. And for the incredibly delicious dinner you cooked last night. :/
Always an adventure! Wouldn't be my life without some starting-off stories! Haha.
Love you guys, I hope you have a great weekend!
Blessings, Love, Light & Wonder,