Leather handicraft straight from the workshop on four wheels
Wandering through Iberian lands
26/09/2020 12:29 PM
Ghost buses, helplines where no one answers the phone, hitchhiking in Andalusian style - you wonder what it's like to live in the south of Spain? Read how my last Thursday was.
At 12:00 I had a meeting with a client in a city 20 km away from my house. As we live in a middle of the country side and the summer season is over, there are very few buses in the schedule, but theoretically, some are still available. However, in order to get to this meeting without delay, I had to leave the house at 9:00 am to reach the bus stop at 9:22, where according to the schedule on the website the bus was supposed to depart at 9:38. On the way, I called the helpline to confirm that the bus I had chosen was not a ghost bus. The lady who answered the phone had such a poor internet connection that it took 25 minutes to confirm that there was a bus at 9:38 am. We hung up just as I got to the bus stop full of people.
At 9:42 a bus arrived, however, going in the opposite direction, a nice driver said that my bus should have left by now. Unfortunately, it hasn’t, but one of the ladies who was in the queue informed me that she was going where I planned to get, but a week earlier and she assured me that the transport I was waiting for usually "llega con bastatne retraso" which means it "arrives with a considerable delay".
My brain, already used to the Spanish sense of time, has calculated the "considerable delay" into the 20-30 minute. So I decided to give the public transport services of Huelva a chance and sat down at the bus stop while waiting. In the meantime, I made two more calls to two other helplines to make sure my connection was real. The first phone call went smoothly, the lady muted me and in a few minutes managed to check the schedule but when I heard her voice again she sounded as if she was speaking from the depths of the ocean. The connection was so terrible that I hung up and tried again - this time the lady immediately said my bus left Isla at 10:00 and it will be there in a moment.
"Sorry but this bus should be here first and then arrive at 10:00 am, to Isla," I informed the nice lady on the phone. She, however, did not agree with me and for a moment insisted that what she was saying was right. I did not give up and asked her to check it. After a few seconds, she changed her mind and said that since we already have 10:20, she does not know why this bus I was waiting for did not come, because it cannot have such a delay and it probably will not come at all. She gave me another number of helpline but it unfortunately did not answer despite my strenuous attempts.
At 10:40 am I was still sitting at the bus stop, my meeting with the client was approaching fast, I couldn't cancel it and the next bus was supposed to be at 11:38, which meant that we would have arrived 15 minutes late. Anyway, I could not be sure that this bus would come since the previous one didn’t.
When I was analyzing what other possibilities I have, an elderly gentleman came to the stop and asked how to get to Isla. I quickly explained, and the man stopped after half a meter and asked if I needed a ride. Overall, I had a better chance of getting anywhere from the main station, so I jumped into a small passenger car without thinking. I told my chauffeur the story of my ghost bus and he really surprised me - "you know, I always buy tuna in Isla, but I can also buy it in A. and drop you off there, do you want?" You can probably guess what my reaction was - once again, the openness and helpfulness of the Spaniards from the south did not disappoint me. We had a nice chat and even COVID masks did not bother us. When we arrived to the final destination I realized that since the gentelman always buys tuna here or here, he probably knew the way from the very beginning and stopped only because he just wanted to help me out. Do you think it's possible? In my experience, absolutely!
You probably think the story ends here, but no! My day was full of bizarre situations. After the meeting, I went to the park, read a book and waited until 4:45 pm for my German lessons. At 4:20 pm I decided to check which classroom I have classes in and fortunately I took out my phone to read the e-mail because it turned out that the lesson starts at 4:15 pm, not 4:45 pm as I had thought before. I ran towards the school and enterned like a tornado into calssroom number 6 ... where classes in another language were held. So I went to the secretariat, where I was directed to the classroom number three. The group was introducing themselves, you know - the standard age, where I was born, and my hobbies. A bit out of breath and sweaty, I stuttered out my presentation. After about 20 minutes of classes, our teacher took out the book we are going to use this year and it turned out to be the same book I had finished the previous year. My surprised expression was hidden behind a cheap Chinese facemask but my eyebrows expressed enough to make the professor uncertain. "Because it's the third year," she said hesitantly, to which I replied, surprised, "but I'm in the fourth year now !?" I went back to the office to find out that my lessons take place at 4:15 pm in auditorium number 6 but on Mondays and Wednesdays, not Tuesdays and Thursdays. Could this day be crazier?
I took my backpack and went to the station to find any bus home. Google Maps was claiming that 912 (the one that didn't arrive in the morning) would take me where I wanted. But Google Maps was wrong because the driver said that the route is completely different and he does not go to that stop and he has no idea if I can get there with any other bus. He could only drive me to another town from which I still have about an hour walk home. I started to look for a phone and some change, analyzing all possible options I have, when some guy from the queue approached me, asking if I have enough money to buy my ticket and he offered he could buy me one if I need that. I just smiled once again, glad to live in this region of Andalusia and cursing my place of residence at the same time. I got home in one piece because I did not have to walk these 5 km - my friends gave me a lift.