The people I meet on this journey come into my life in fleeting moments, but become lasting memories. There were two people like that today, not counting the street dancer.
I wanted to check out the Cathedral, to see the beauty that has been promised by several people, but also to find the place where I would catch a bus to Alhambra on Saturday morning.
On the way there, I passed several venders of interest. First the darling little elderly lady, wearing a cotton dress and an apron, selling flowers on the corner. It is my bet that she’s been successful at that corner business for years. She caught me taking her photo a couple of times and even mugged a bit for the shot.
There were several stalls, each with fifty or more baskets of tea, herbs and spices. One basket had cannabis root. I asked the vendor about that, and he says it’s not to smoke, it’s to drink and it would help you sleep.
Further on, an accordionist played and another man sat next to him moving his arms around and jiving as best he could while seated on the stone walkway.
A fellow with an impressive movie camera was recording the music. It was too good of an opportunity to miss, so I got my recording working, as well.
When the bearded guy on the ground saw me filming, his arms moved faster, then he jumped up, pushed his cane away and began flaying his arms around, slapping his leg and his shoe, snapping his fingers, clapping his hands. His long white beard went one way and his head went the other. He performed for the camera and even did a bit of ‘dirty dancing’ for my benefit. Then, the poor old guy got tired and sat down. It wasn’t a cold day, but it looked as though he had on several layers of sweaters and jackets. He must have turned up the heat inside of all that clothing.
The accordionist didn’t stop, he continued to smile, enjoying the moment. I put some coins – probably about $2 in the hat and walked on.
The Cathedral was closed until 4 p.m., just like nearly everything in Spain closes until the magic hour of 4 or 5 p.m. when stores open again and people move about on the street until late at night.
I saw the Hop on Hop Off bus and went up to talk with the woman who seemed to be in charge. She told me how much it cost and that the ticket would be good for two days, I said thanks, but no thanks. But then, I turned around and said, “ok, why not?”
There is nothing but time in my day, and those buses take you all over town, so it was the thing to do at that time.
The lady and I got into a conversation about traveling, jobs and going after what you want in life. She is a teacher, on leave from teaching due to economics in Spain and is happy with the job working for the bus company, selling tickets and answering questions all day from people like me. She is fluent in English. “I want to do something different. I wish I could get a job teaching in California either English or Spanish for a school year,” she told me.
We talked for quite awhile until the bus came and more people lined up behind me with questions.
She told the bus driver to take good care of me, and she handed me a map of Granada. I can’t help it: I looked at it and announced, “Oh, I’m in Spain?” Well, talk about breaking the ice with people, that did it.
I got my seat, plugged in the ear phones and followed the automatic guide and the map. There was a young woman from China sitting close to me, while others were up above on the seats upstairs.
She moved to another seat where she could see better and smiled at me. I did the same. We began to talk, and when we got to Alhambra she walked there with me. We couldn’t get in without a ticket and the only way to get one is to be there at 7 a.m.
We stuck together the rest of the trip and laughed a lot.
“You are like a naughty little girl,” she told me when I snapped a photo of a lady who’s hairdo reminded me of a rooster. It was maroon-orange and stuck out all over her head.
Well, encouragement like that just turns me loose.
Isn’t it fun to meet someone and immediately start laughing. We were two little girls in grade school.
She is from China attending college but doesn’t like it. She told me the professor she has for English is boring. Her English is very good, and her Spanish is even better. She wants to change schools.
“Why aren’t you in school today?”
“I don’t want to go.”
“It’s too boring. I want to change schools.”
“Oh, so your taking a day off, then?”
“Yes, something like that.”
Then the bus arrived again from where we had stopped and continued until we reached the Carthusian – a former community of monks. The bus driver told us the last bus would arrive at 5:10 p.m. and it was 4:50 then. So we walked up the steps to get inside but was informed there would be a fee to pay, and since we didn’t have enough time we decided to just go back and wait for the bus.
“Oh, no, the bus is here already.”
“Can you get down there and tell him to wait for me?”
She took off down the steps and over the rough stone walkway, got on the bus and waited for me.
The bus was ten minutes early and was ready to leave when she got there.
I told her it was important to trust yourself and not rely on what anyone says, that I had missed a bus one time because of wrong information.
On the way back to where our trip originated, she admitted to have been on the round trip that day three times, and had even slept on the bus. Not only that, it was the third day she made the same trip.
“Do you know about the local buses? You can get one and take it around the city as well?”
“Yes, I’ve been on all of the city buses.”
When we parted she gave me a hug. “That was fun. I hope to see you again, sometime.”
I sensed a lonely young lady.