7 hours in a Spainish Prison.

Trip Start Jun 01, 2002
Trip End Sep 11, 2007

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Flag of Spain  ,
Saturday, May 3, 2003

Travel Tip #58: Ordering a meal in the US of A, the following rules apply.
Small = Non Existant; Regular = Large ; Large = Massive ; Massive = Stanard"

Time to move onto the next destination, a day of doing nothing but sitting in the sun in the afternoon and then a quick meal with the "olds" and final farewells - then I am off.

Now like most people I have done my odd illegal thing here and there and I guess you learn by your mistakes and all - but I am not sure what I did when I went from Barcelona to Madrid to deserve imprisonment like this. Where was the embassy when I needed them!

As I mentioned in my previous tale, I bought a ticket to Madrid on the National Rail system and becuase of the volume I had to "upgrade" too a sleeper cabin. Now when I think sleeper cabin I think nice little woodgrain cabin, with seat come bed and nice fresh sheets etc. This is not what Spain believe the words sleeper cabin means: "Sleeper Cabin" in spain means

7ft by 12ft Prison Cell. I kid you not, the look on my face must have said a million things and the most prominent was "are you fucking kidding me??!" As the train pulled up and I worked out which carriage I was on, I boarded and found my way to my 'sleeper cabin" - as I "squeezed" passed every other person in Barcelona - I found my cabin and looked inside. 2 sets of buunk beds with 3 beds in each set were set on each wall - with a 1/2 metere gab between them. Between each actually bed was about 1 metre, which means you could not actually sit up - or actually raise your head at all! Oh and the fresh sheets were non exisentant, what past as sheets were something that I am sure your grandmother has in her linen cupboard from 1876.

So after the inital shock, I jumped or should I say scaled my way onto the top bunk - 12 ft is a long way up in cramp conditions. As the 5 other elderly Spanish men (No English them, no Spanish me), jumped into there prison beds, the tempature began to rise quite quickly. Never fear, there is a switch for air con - ummm negative. A switch but no air con!! So here I am in my cell, with my bread and water with 5 other criminals sweating it out as the train starts to depart the station. Could it get worse!

Of course it can, because the train rattles and shakes it is hard to get to sleep, but what put the icing on the cake was the the 50 year old man on bunk 3 who decided that 50 years of eating Tapas, sardines, deli sausage and anchovies, it was time to let it all out!!! And he did in about 4 different volumes over a period of 2 hours! Perhaps the actual Spanish prisons are better than this. As you can imagine, did not really sleep much - the main reason was I was actually scared that the train would stop quickly and I would roll off my 12 ft high bunk and with no parachute or saftey line I would break my back or die!! (ok bit of the top but hey - I am telling the story here.!)

So as the train rolls into the Madrid Train station, the competition of who can get off the train the fastest is implemented with 1000 Spainards all pushing and pulling out of their cells - do not blame them one bit. I actually waited until the cell was empty so I could take a photo - had to laugh when the actual cell would not fit into the view finder of my camera. What is even funnier is that at the time I booked my tickets, I bought my parents tickets for their trip - alas not sleeper but actually seats. Cannot wait to hear about that episode!

So I exit the train station and onto the Metro to the airport. Have approx 3.5 hours to get to the airport and check in! As I had already been to Madrid before, I decided that a quick exit was in order and what suprised me the most was even though it was 7 months ago that I visted for 48 hours, I still had a clear memory of where everything was. Kinda weird I thought.

Into the airport to get my flight to Chicago Town. As I am standing there to check in - it hit me like a rotten old fish in the face. The Amercian Accent, it was everywhere. The drooling of words and the whining voices I was surronded, there was no escape - and I was still in Spain. (apologies to any USA people reading this).

Onto the plane and into economy (cattle class), my ability to get/flirt or dance my way to an upgrade failed miserably.! Two seats to myself though and off we went. I bid a final farewell to Sunny Spain and made a promise to myself that I shall return!

Did not reallly appreciate the actually distance from Spain to USA. And as I left at about 11:50am and would arrive at 2:30pm the same day, I really did not appreicate how exhausting 16 hours of constant travel (and no sleep) will have on me. Each time I looked out the window the sun was still up - yet my body was telling me it was night and my stomach was telling me I need dinner!!

Flight lands into Chicago with a bump and the rain pelting down. So here I am in my seat, shorts and T-Shirt and looking out the window and seeing a hurricane like envirnoment outside. They call this the "Windy City" perhaps the Cyclonic City....

So this is Chicago hey? The city of Broadway plays, the city of gangsters and mobsters (lucily I left my Violin case in London) and the city of Sports!

After wondering around aimlessly for about 40 minutes in the rain and cold, I got to the hostel that I picked out and asked for two nights accom. "That will be $69 USD, Thanks" - What??? This is a Hostel not the Hilton right? This hostel was nice but not for that kind of cash, but turns out it is a cheap place to stay in Chicago!! So I cough my money over the "Hostel Hilton". To be honest I just want to sleep.

As jet lag has kicked in I am determine to stay awake until a reasonable hour, thinking 10pm at least - at 7:05pm I crashed!! Nothing could have woken me up.... well except for my body clock.

Wide awake at 4:30am and going stir crazy trying to get back to sleep, so off I go into Chicago city at 4:30am (not the brightest idea, I have had latley) but all is ok as I dodged the bums and the traffic in the streets. What to do? Guess the only thing to do is go by the lake of Michigan and watch the sun rise! Not a bad way to start a new desitination I guess.

Ok must make a move, will let you know how Chicago goes in the next tale - until then take care

Jay "The Godfather" Cormack
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