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Published: April 24th 2010
Sunday, April 18
Cyntia and I woke early to continue doing research. We were on the computer until we had to check out at 11:00am. We then found an internet cafe and continued searching. Could we rebook our flight for free? Could we take a train? Could we take a bus? We must have looked up every possible way to get from here to there, and we decided that the train would be our best bet. We went to the station, and it was PACKED with people. We took a number in the line, and since there were 75 people in front of us, we knew it would be a while...so we went and had lunch (do you have to ask what we had? Tapas!).
So back in line, there were only 20 or so in front of us, but then they suddenly closed the kiosk. We asked why and they had that the French had just announced a train strike. GREAT. Perfect timing. The TGV is famous for going on strike (it's very French of them), and they seemed to have picked the moment when people needed the trains more than ever to strike and make
inside the trainstation
their point to the company owners. So because of their frivolous egotism, many people (including us) we going to be displaced for a few days. We looking into the buses to Paris (23 hours of travel, yikes!) but they were all full. We then looked at taking the train to Barcelona (which is closer to the border) and trying to get a bus from there. Eventually, Cyntia and I just decided to wait it out in Madrid. At least here we knew Payardo, and we could probably stay with him.
With the whole day gone, we went to get settled in for the night. Payardo had told us when we first met him at the station that we could stay with him, though we could only cancel the hostel for the second night. So Cyntia went with him, and I opted to take a room with PJ at the place he was already staying. We said our goodnights and then PJ and I went to scope out some Indian food!
The place we found was PERFECT. For 20 euro each we basically got a feast. First there was pappadum (crackers) with four different sauces, which were all delicious,
though I gravitated towards the spiciest one. Then we had samosas and vegetable pakora. Then there was basmati rice, vegetable curry, palak paneer, chicken tikki, lamb curry and naan! And THEN there was the dessert. We chose to have mango lassi (a yogurt drink with mango. And THEN there was the coffee or tea, and we both had tea. With delicious food and stimulating conversation, we passed the evening well.
Back at the hostel it was shower time. We were both really tired and grungy, so for the two of us to take a shower, the water was probably on for about 30 minutes (which granted, is a little long for Europe). Suddenly, there was a banging on the door. We ignored it at first. The banging continued. And continued. I told PJ to turn the water off. We opened the door and this lady started screaming at us in Spanish. I let PJ do the talking, but I gathered that she was accusing us of running the water for "tres horas" and that it was unacceptable. PJ was calm but unconcerned and eventually she went away. I thought it was really rude, and not a good way to
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treat customers. If she thought the water was running for too long, she could have been more polite about it. But this place wasn't a typical hostel. The family lived there, too, and so it was more like letting a room in someone's house.
Rude Spanish lady or no, we didn't have to be anywhere too early tomorrow morning, so I was looking forward to getting a good night's sleep!
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