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Published: March 8th 2022
So, Spain did not pan out quite the way we had hoped.
Her second day there, Maggie and four of her friends went to a restaurant to grab dinner. One of them stayed at the table with all their things while the others went up to order food. A Spanish man came to the table, speaking broken English, and yelled at Maggie's friend to hurry up and go up and get her food. Startled and confused, her friend came to join the group. By the time they got back to the table, everyone's things were gone. Clearly, it had been a scam. Thankfully, Maggie had her wallet and phone with her, but her passport (as well as 2 other girls') had been in her bag. They called the police and filed a report at the scene, and were told they needed to go to the station to file another report about their missing passports.
The restaurant felt so badly about what had happened they gave them all free food, which they ate before heading to the police station. While there, Maggie became nauseous and ended up throwing up in the restroom. Her symptoms worsened, and they took a cab back to their hostel, where Maggie spent over an hour in that bathroom before becoming too ill to be able to walk on her own. Luckily, her quick thinking and very compassionate friends had the good sense to get her back to the medical clinic on the ship, where they determined she had a serious case of food poisoning.
She spent about 24 hours on the ship recovering from food poisoning, and then was awoken early one morning and told to report to the reception desk. After rolling over and going back to sleep, a phone call and a knock on the cabin door later, she managed to drag herself to reception where she was informed the police had recovered her bag, passport intact! They had actually recovered all the bags, and all the passports, though all phones, cash and credit cards were gone.
Feeling bouyed once again, Maggie and her friends resumed their original plan and rented a car the next day to drive to the Pyrenees for an overnight excursion. They had a good day driving through small towns in the mountains, though Maggie did not feel quite right most of the day. As the day progressed, so did her symptoms. That evening at the hotel they had booked she gave herself a home COVID test, and...you guessed it....positive. She had just spent 8 hours in a rental car with 3 of her closest friends. Needless to say she was beside herself, and feeling quite poorly. Once again her friends stepped up. They left the hotel that night and drove the 90 minutes back to Barcelona with the windows down (in the freezing cold) and blaring "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor to try to lift Maggie's spirits.
She began her quarantine on the ship the next day, and was told she would be moved to a hotel in Barcelona in 2 days to spend her quarantining time in port and catch up with the ship in Portugal. After about 36 hours her fever broke and, while still feeling like she had a bad cold, was actually looking forward to getting off the ship and spending some time on her own with unlimited wifi (meaning streaming) and just a break from the entire saga. She had her bags packed and ready to go, confirmed with the Dean the morning she was supposed to disembark that she'd be leaving that afternoon around 2:00pm, and then called us in a panic as the ship pulled away from port with her still on it.
Long story short, another cruise ship had taken the bulk of the government approved quarantine rooms in Barcelona and the ship had to make choices about who to disembark and who to keep on board, which they did, with no communication to Maggie. Making matters worse was that her cabin phone only worked sporadically, and she was not able to call out to ask for help or find out what was going on. This was, beyond a doubt, the lowest point for her. She was inconsolable. Thankfully I was able to contact the woman in Colorado about the situation, and finally some of the ship staff connected with her to talk through what had happened and reassure her that the numerous screw-ups that had led to this situation would be remedied.
She ended up spending 10 days in quarantine, testing positive after the initial 7-day period which meant extending her quarantine another 3 days. For the most part she did okay - lots of coloring, some Survivor episodes, tons of movies, and a lot of texting with friends on the ship. She finally, finally got off the ship yesterday in Lisbon, Portugal, having missed the Gibraltar port altogether.
She loves Lisbon, and is back on top of the world out sightseeing with her friends. Her next field class (she did a puppet one in Barcelona somewhere in the midst of all that other drama) is to go out clubbing with her International Music professor to get exposed to contemporary Portuguese music. She is also concocting some kind of plan to buy a rare Hermes bag when they are in France. She's happy once again, and her resiliency seems to know no bounds.
All we can do is pray that the worst is behind us and that the rest of the trip is enjoyable and far less traumatic than the last few weeks have been. Will try to add pictures and post more often now that ports are back in the picture. Onward.
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