Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Absolutely beautiful flight. Amazing. We flew over the Swiss Alps, Versailles, and finally I glimpsed, for the first time, the Mediterranean Sea.

It looks JUST LIKE the pictures. Aqua and indigo contrasting with the current. Cliffs on one side, beaches on the other of many peninsulas.

As we descended, the beaches stretched out before us, bordered by the city and then the Pyrenees. Amazing.

Yada yada yada.

My thrill and enjoyment slowly slipped away.

I had been in charge of booking the flight and hotel. I did it at about, oh, 1 AM on Heritage Days weekend.

I had written down the hotel name and reservation number in my iPhone.

Confidently, I told Victor to tell the cabbie ('cause Victor speaks Spanish) "Coronado Hotel". Victor asked the cabbie if it was a nice hotel. The cabbie replied "Cheap". Victor gave me the, "You booked a whorehouse?" look. I protested, saying that it had fabulous reviews on TripAdvisor.

We arrived, and Victor looked around dubiously. I insisted, "All the hotels are small; that's how it is in Barcelona."

I presented the confirmation number to the casually dressed receptionist. She insisted that there was no reservation. I took out my computer to show her the screenshot of the reservation. She said no, and asked me to find the confirmation email. I asked her for the Internet password, which she provided, and tried to find my email confirmation.

Internal colorful language abounded.

I apologized to both Victor and the receptionist. I mined my email, but could find nothing. Victor was trying to calm me down, while saying that it was OK because this hotel was clearly questionable. Then he took his camera and photographed me in my frantic state.

Here we were, in Barcelona, with a hotel that wouldn't admit I had the reservation. In high tourist season.

The receptionist seemed to take pity on me, and asked to see my computer again. She said, "23", as in I'd made the reservation to start on July 23. It was July 22. She checked her computer again and indicated that they were booked. Of course, her English is challenged, my Spanish is useless, and Victor is the only one who has the full picture.

I start searching for other hotels. 550 Euros is the price on the first one that comes up. I am now officially dissolving. Victor is trying to be reassuring, but can't really hide his amusement.

She asks again, and looks at my computer

And he's just hoping we can get out of the hotel.

She says, "Hotel CONDADO," and points my screen. She indicates that we are at Hotel Coronado. Victor asks her to call us (a second) cab.

He says, "How did you get that mixed up? Why did you think it was Coronado?"

I'm mortified. Here is my boyfriend, who speaks Spanish as a first language, and his stupid gringa girlfriend screws up the names of the hotel.

"The explorer," I stammered. "Coronado, I taught about him." I was referring, of course, to Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, about whom I had taught fifth graders about 12 years ago. "What does Condado mean? Does it even mean anything?"

"Yes, it means 'county'."

We got into the second taxi, the cabbie says, "Yes, is a nice hotel".

We arrived, my reservation was still for the wrong three days, but we got their last room.

Crisis averted.

I'm very behind on blogging, but as Victor said, "We can see things or you can blog".

Within hours of the hotel debacle, we swam in the Mediterranean. This is apres swim.

1 comment:

  1. What a story! The mix ups and disasters are the things you remember with a smile later. I missed your blog this weekend but Victor was right, see now, blog later! Can't wait to hear more when you get home! Enjoy the rest of your stay!