Travel Mishaps in Madrid, Spain

I‘ve mentioned in past posts about my less than wonderful time in Madrid, Spain. I ended my 10 hours in Madrid at about 48 hours with no sleep, paranoid, an upset stomach, and massive levels of stress. There were many travel mishaps on the whole. So, I vowed (and stand by) to never put myself in such circumstances again. But there were a few things that could have made my experience just a little bit better. But it’s story time first – A post on Language Barriers will follow.

The Madrid airport security section is ridiculously confusing. There isn’t one way to go, it’s very easy to just…wander outside of the airport and have to try again, and there isn’t a whole lot of English happening. I do not expect people to speak English – however, in an airport I would expect help for *many* languages. I’m aware the US is perhaps the biggest example of not being terribly helpful in this venture, but the point still remains. Signs were not written in any language other than Spanish, for the most part. Including signs with value information and pictographs that were, well, easily misinterpreted. Sometimes there were hardly any words at all, merely symbols. Anywho.

It was the third time I was going through security. At this point, I felt as though they knew me. They certainly didn’t notice that I had brought through a half-full water bottle. But apparently they were not the only ones who were not paying attention. I was going through the motions, pulling out my five bins, sorting everything, taking off shoes, going through detectors, gathering back up, you know the drill. Third time’s the charm?

As I was headed down the stairs with another lady a man from the security team ran by and asked something in rapid fire Spanish. I was used to this. Despite being as pale as pale can be, I had already been frequently pegged as someone who spoke Spanish by many an old lady that day. I was too tired to think much of it but my spidy-senses tingled as the man left. I asked the woman who was going down the stairs next to me if she knew what he had said. She didn’t appear to speak Spanish terribly well but she said “Something about a computer?”

Ha, I thought to myself, I’ve got mine.

But the spidy senses continued to tingle as I wandered around just as lost as ever. Finally I gave in and decided that I already looked embarrassing enough and besides my 40lb backpack was literally tearing cuts into my shoulders. So, I unzipped, looked around and – Oh my lord my laptop wasn’t there.

I remind you that this point I was already a nervous wreck and I swear I was already seeing food and sleep deprived visions as the bad churros swam dizzyingly in my stomach. I panicked. Cue racing up those stairs, back to security. I’m amazed I didn’t throw up looking back. Apparently my overly frazzled apperence traversed language barriers as a very, very nice (the nicest person I met in Madrid other than my taxi driver by far) security man held up my beautiful-can’t-afford-another-one macbook. He gestured that I needed to type in my password to prove it was mine. Oh lord.

My hands were shaking, sweaty, and my thoughts were going a mile a minute. But I persevered, and managed it first try, albeit very slowly. The lovely security man was cheering me on with deep breathing exercises. As a side note, I really need to invest in the Spanish attitude a little more.

All’s Well That Ends Well?

Yes, this isn’t the most exciting story. Yeah, I “almost” lost my computer and managed to get 600 words out of it. But I cannot explain the irrational terror I felt and this is why I write this post – this is what happens when you travel and aren’t paying attention/are tired beyond belief. It could have been worse, but my lucky star pulled through. Make sure you sleep, eat, bring your medicine, and think about travel experiences after. All I remember about Madrid was feeling near the worst I’ve ever felt, and that isn’t a great way to remember a country.

Signing off from the macbook I just dropped and cracked the screen of two hours ago. Yay me. But somehow it’s still working.

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