Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
The AVE is the Spanish high-speed railway service that can travel at speeds up to 186 mph. We took it from Madrid to Barcelona and arrived in three hours even with a stop in Zargoza. It was very comfortable and we had an opportunity to see the Spanish countryside and catch up on some reading. I emphatically believe that we need this kind of service up and down the West Coast and with the commitment that President Obama has made to improve transportation infrastructure we may get it within the next generation. (These things take time)
We got off the train at the Barcelona station and caught a cab to the Born neighborhood, in the old part of Barcelona, where we had rented an apartment. During the ride I had the stomach wrenching realization that I had left my video camera on the seat of the train. I told Gene what had happened and he asked, “Are you sure?” I was positive. We decided that we would continue to the apartment and drop Gene off so that he could meet with the landlord and pick up the keys. I would take the cab back to the station and try to find the camera. I explained what we wanted to do to the cab driver and he said that he would wait for me while I went to the lost and found area inside the station. I kept thinking that I had no chance of recovering the camera and that my video making days were over. I was pretty miserable.
When I got back to the station, I jumped out of the cab and ran into the station looking for the lost and found office. I found it right away and was heading in when I was stopped by a couple of men that were blocking the doorway. “We are closed until 16:30”. It was 16:10. The cab was waiting and I thought that maybe I could ask someone to look in the train for the camera if it hadn’t pulled out of the station for it’s return trip. “I can’t wait, I left an expensive camera on the Madrid train that just arrived” I frantically explained. The men would not budge.
I ran up to a tourist information booth and explained my plight but they said the lost and found office was my only option. The cab was waiting and I was upset. I didn’t know what else to do so I went back to the office with the men standing in the doorway and I asked that they make an exception and let me in even though the office was officially closed. One of them looked at me and while shooing away others that were trying to get by, he ushered me in with the wave of a hand.
There was a woman sitting behind a counter looking intently at something in front of her, she did not look up when I stood in front of her. I waited a few seconds trying to be polite but finally saw that she was not going to acknowledge my presence. “Excuse me”, I said and she finally gave me her attention. I explained what had occurred and she listened, unmoved. I imagine she had heard my story many times that day. “Train ticket? “ she asked. Yes, I had the stub in my purse. “Video camera?” she asked. “Yes” I replied. She reached over to her right, and with one smooth movement held the camera up to me. “Is this it?” It was! I could not believe my fortune. I almost cried with relief. “A million thanks” I managed to say with a quivering voice. I must have looked very relieved because she actually smiled. Another crisis averted and I vow to keep a better eye on my belongings.