From Lison to Trujillo to Madrid

6 Nov

The morning Marlene and I left for Spain, we had a horrible argument. She insisted I drive the car around to the front of the building, where we were staying. I wanted to just carry our luggage to the car and I had already carried three of our four bags to the car. I won’t bother you with the details of the argument, but will only add that we were so loud we woke Jorge up. To resolve the argument, Jorge volunteered to drive the car around and he did. While Marlene waited downstairs, Jorge told me I was right because finding his and Chico’s apartment with all the one-way and narrow streets was difficult at best. It turned out no legal parking existed outside the apartment when we left. After we finished loading up the car, I gave Jorge my book, “New Journalism,” because earlier he expressed interest in the subject. Marlene and I then left, while Jorge waited to see us leave. While Marlene and I argue, like any couple, neither of us stay angry long. On leaving Lisbon, we crossed over the Vasco do Gama Bridge, which is modern and futuristic. The toll road had few cars on it and the landscape reminded Marlene of the Sacramento, California. Every few miles were rest stops consisting of usually a gas station, a small convenience story, and rarely a restaurant.
The first place we were to spend the night in Trujillo required us to climb up stairs with the luggage. Marlene decided and I agreed we should try to stay at another hotel. We ended up at the Hotel Victoria. We ate dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. I found the food good, but then I only has some potatoes and a salad. In the restaurant was an old woman with tubes up her nose for oxygen. I liked the hotel. A large miniature wooden sailing ship was prominently displayed in the middle of the lobby. The room had an enclosed balcony, which was probably used in the summer, but for us it was too cold to be used. The room had a very high celling. I can only think how expensive it would be to heat the room in the winter. The next morning we again ate breakfast in the hotel’s lobby. While eating, I noticed an old man drinking a beer and eating olives.
We ate breakfast, packed up the car, and went on our way to Madrid. As we approached Madrid I noticed the highways we were on got wider and wider because of the additional lanes with more and more cars on them. We finally arrived where we were to stay. It was about 5 p.m. The woman, Isabel, we were to stay with at first seemed nice, but it did not take long for Marlene and me to realize that she was a sneaky liar.
Obviously an explanation is in order. After we arrived at her apartment, she walked us to a supermarket. While walking with her, Marlene mentioned the smoke bothered her asthma and asked if she could spray the apartment with air freshener to remove the odor and smoke. Isabel denied the request. She told Marlene she only smoked in her bedroom and added if the smoke continued to bother her, we could spend the night and then the next day we could find some other place to stay. While shopping, Isabel suddenly told us she had to leave because she needed to workout at the gym.
We soon discovered Isabel had lied to us. She did not go the gym, but went home and canceled our Airbnb contract with her. On arriving at her door step with our luggage still in the apartment about 7 p.m., she told us we had to leave. While Marlene and I felt what she did was arbitrary and unfair, Marlene attempted to find another place. After an hour with no success, Marlene and I decided we would insist we would be staying the night. When we confronted her about staying, she told us that our money would be refunded and therefore we must leave. I told her we were not leaving. She then telephoned Airbnb and we told her we were calling the police. She then said she would call the police and did. She also called two male friends, who arrived just before the police and disappeared when the police arrived. The police told us they could not do anything. After she spoke with Airbnb she became quiet and cooperative. The final arrangement was we could spend the night and would leave by noon the next day. The police made it clear we must be out by noon. Even this arrangement violated our original contract which stipulated 24-hour noticed was required.
We then went back to the supermarket, where we bought our next day’s breakfast, and purchased the fixings for a salad, some dealcoholized wine, and some bread. While preparing dinner I suggested to Marlene that we invite Isabel to eat our salad with us. I suggested this because I wanted to ease the tension between her and the two of us. While she refused our invitation, which did not surprise us, Isabel was more polite to us. We ate dinner, went to bed, and slept. The next morning, while much more expensive, we found a hotel near the center of Madrid, within walking distance of the Puerta del Sol. The hotel was the Hotel Regente, which I liked. The ride to the hotel was horrible for me and Marlene. I had to defecate while Marlene was driving. What should have taken no more than a half hour took close to two hours, because Marlene several times missed the turns the GPS told us to take. It was horrible for Marlene, because she had to drive in heavy downtown Madrid traffic down sometimes quite narrow streets. However, we did eventually arrive and while first two days in Madrid were awful, the remaining days there were quite nice and pleasant.

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