Tues-Wed March 25-26 2008
Wow, I have a great boss. Not only does she say, "So, where do you want to go? Spain? Malaysia? Australia? Oreana? The US?" (to which I reply, "Yes!"), but she also remembers me when we fly.
Steph, now being an Elite Flying Member, luxuriating in the cushy section of the plane with the roomy seats, plied with gourmet sandwiches and salads and wines and champagnes throughout, always remembers me in the ever-crowded peon section, stuck in an inverted cramped chair (you know the kind I'm talking about, where the seat - "in upright position" - actually angles you forward so your head is further forward than your lower back - the people who build these seats obviously don't ever try sitting in them), with the window 2 feet in front of me or one foot behind me so I got a crick in my neck looking out, with a Big Guy sitting right next to me and a little girl in the seat behind me kicking the back of my seat.
On the Amsterdam - Madrid leg, I watched as Steph again got bumped from peon to Elite seats, where I had a quick glimpse of the silver wine cart before they shuttered the private curtains on the front of the plane.
After our bread and water meal in the back section, here comes my boss, sneaking back in amongst the peons, and handing me... a HALF PINT OF BEN AND JERRY'S! The entire un-elite passenger list watched with envy, because nobody else's boss remembered them like this.
I put my time and effort in for Steph, though, as a pack mule. She's travelling with 2 big rolling suitcases, each at exactly the limit of 50 lbs, plus a quite heavy carry-on bag that does better sitting on a rolling suitcase. I've got my smaller rolling suitcase (about to break, actually), heavy backpack, shoulder purse and computer - straps draped all over me. Somehow the taxi man stuffed all our gear and us into his taxi for the ride from the Madrid airport to the train station; and in the station, to catch a train to Seville, I helped Steph out with her luggage.
I grabbed mine and one of Steph's big suitcases, rolling them both behind me through the crowds, noticing that the two suitcases behind me took up a very wide lane. We headed onto a step-less escalator, and as I stepped on and was carried upward, the 2 suitcases stuck fast behind me at the narrow entrance to the escalator, (I'd said, "Hmm, I don't think I'm gonna make it") and suddenly the whole world shifted and I was suddenly walking backwards still holding onto the suitcases. And I didn't dare let go!
"Uh...help...I'm stuck..." I stated the obvious, but do you think my boss would help me with this suitcase crisis? No, she's doubled over laughing at me, (as are half a dozen other amused Spaniards whose path I have blocked), while I am stuck walking backwards on the escalator, stuck to two suitcases that won't move. Anybody following us with a video camera?
Small price to pay, I guess, for the Ben and Jerry's...
...and, oh yea, for being in Seville, Spain, getting ready for a 10-day horse ride across Andalucia.
EnduranceEurope.net Coverage of the Raid