Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meh! Who Really Needs Underwear Anyway??

When you have to ask, “Can you tell that I’m not wearing any underwear?” you’re either on the cusp of a salacious scandal, dealing with an unforeseen wardrobe crisis, or were just completely and unequivocally unaware as you got dressed that morning. If Ms. Britney Jean Spears would have thought to ask that question back in 2007, the infamous vag shot may have never graced newsstands around the world.

Unfortunately, I found myself asking this question in the midst of an unforeseen wardrobe crisis of my own.  My luggage, still MIA, had forced me to re-wear the few items I had in my carryon over and over again.   Upon arriving at my final destination, I discovered the onsite washer and dryer.   Relieved and determined, I gathered the few precious items that were not being held hostage by the air travel gods, and headed downstairs. Given how the preceding several days had gone, it should have come as no surprise that all of the wording on the washer’s knobs, dials, and buttons were in Greek.

I wasn’t initially concerned. After all, this wasn’t my first rodeo… I had a lot of laundry miles under my belt, how different could it really be??  The short answer is: very different.    Realizing my clothing items were that of a delicate nature and would require a gentle cycle, I decided that maybe it did matter which settings were selected.    So I did what any American girl would do, I busted out my iPhone and Googled the make/model of this particular Whirlpool contraption, and started looking for an English version online.    After what is sure to be a significant data roaming charge on my next bill, I was unsuccessful at locating an English model.   So I spun the wheel, and just guessed.    Guessing was a risky wager, by putting all my chips into the pot, I was giving “the house” a chance to take everything.

Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. 

The crazed washer devoured my clothes like a ravenous wolf, tearing holes in the fragile light cotton shirts, stretching the elastic out of Lululemon’s finest, turning Hanky Panky panties into something that would more accurately be described as Hanky Skanky, shrinking full-length pajama pants into capris, and suffice it to say that Victoria and her “secret” were reduced to nothing more than a wire and fabric.

 I kid you not, that bloody machine held my clothes hostage for 90 minutes, refusing to open (the down side of a front loading machine).   I was about to yank the entire thing out of the wall, when finally some combination of frantic button pushing made it stop and start to drain, eventually releasing the remains of my war-torn clothes.   As I gathered the tattered remnants, I decided I should still hang them to dry; after all, respect was due. These items had served me well.  With a tear in my eye and a somber heart, I one by one hung my battered clothes on the line, then quietly watched as the wind blew through their broken threads.

As I regrouped and consulted my options, I considered heading into town and buying replacement clothing. However, the naïve optimist in me prevailed.  I’m still holding out hope that my suitcase and its contents will arrive shortly.  

In the mean time, I have found activities that don’t require clothing or underwear. Who needs such things when a swimsuit will do? Enjoy these pics!! 

The crystal clear waters of Elafonisi beach are worth the trip alone.  
This is a picture of Elafonisi island from the main beach.
You can wade in the crystal clear waters out to this island
 it never gets deeper than about 3-4 feet.  
Once you're on the "island" you can find a remote section of beach
 and feel like you're the only person on the planet.
Nature enjoying nature

Because of development restrictions and environmental protections
placed by the European Union there are no large resorts.  
Just a handful of restaurants and rooms to rent.

The main beach at Elafonisi has everything you'll need
(showers, food & drinks, souvenirs, cabanas and chairs)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

C'est la vie or Aasí es la vida or Such is life

If you overheard my attempt to give the taxi driver directions, or place my “no-fish” order at the tapas restaurant, you would never guess that I have actually taken a collective 4 years of Spanish between high school and college.  You might not have guessed, but my instructors probably would have denied it altogether, after all, my conversation style was often referred to as lazy (or would they say perezosa?). My instructor often felt the need to remind me that smiling, pointing, and choking up a few poorly pronounced words would never successfully get me anything other than a toilet, beer, household items or to the beach and/or hospital.

To add to the, “You Should Have Taken the Foreign Language Requirements More Seriously” case, is the conversation I just had with a man sitting across from me on the train (I use the word conversation VERY loosely).  He pointed to me with a smile, and started to hurl Spanish words at me in rapid-fire fashion, as if he had a word quota to meet before the next stop.  I smiled and explain that my Spanish was rather poor (something along the lines of “habla poco español”).  He laughed and pointed to my chest and repeated himself.  To be honest, some of the words didn’t even sound familiar. His vocabulary was far beyond what the average English speaker would have learned from Dora or Diego, and I was completely lost. Finally, he reached across the aisle, and grabbed the cord to my headphones that were draped around my neck and pulled the earpiece out of my drink.   Apparently he was trying to communicate, “Hey moron, your headphones are soaking in liquid.”    I may have passed classroom Spanish with flying colors, but clearly I am completely inept in real world electronic-preserving Spanish.

Since I hadn’t planned on spending more than just a day or so in Spain, I didn't brushed up on my Spanish ahead of time.  But here I am…

Sometimes well-laid plans are executed without the slightest hitch, other times they simply unravel at the seams and you are forced to re-plot the course.  Or, as in my case, perhaps your plans were not thought out at all…
Regardless, here I sit on a Madrid-bound train, in 5-day-old jeans, with none of my luggage (it didn’t make my flight), drinking vodka from a mini bottle.

As thoughts roll through my head, the countryside rolls on by. Gazing through the sunflower fields of southern Spain, I remember that this very scenery perfectly matches a poster I had framed in my bedroom when I was young.   I am delighted to know that the breathtaking sunflower fields of Spain are real, and not just a fictional print created on a computer by some schmoe at Ikea.

The last time I was in Spain I was with my older brother, Matt, and that trip was impromptu as well.  We were planning to spend a few days in Barcelona and then soak up the sun on the island of Ibiza.  However, due to a crazy storm that swept across that entire eastside of the region, we hopped a plane to Malta and retraced history, only returning to Spain when the storm had subsided. (Hello! We’re from the Pacific Northwest; we are not about to spend our time in Europe soggy.) My current adventure in Spain is proving to be just as capricious.

Thank God I thought to throw a pair of flip-flops and a swimsuit in my computer bag, otherwise I might have gotten desperate and slaughtered my Hudson skinnies with a pair of cuticle scissors and a razor.   When you’re without essentials, and are forced to go primitive, the simplest discovery of a forgotten resource can seem ridiculously luxurious.  You might imagine then the sheer joy that shot across my sangria soaked lips yesterday the moment I discovered a little tube of eye cream my friend Jayme had given me last week hiding in my purse (big hug to you girl).  Umm, hello, Jackpot!! Now I had lip-gloss and eye cream!  What more does a girl need? Shoot, if I could track down some mascara I would practically be female again!

Here are some pictures of my wanderings through Spain, the products of my extended layover.

                Church of Nuestra Señora de La O                       Castillo de Luna  (Castle of the Moon)           
                      (Our lady of the O Church)                                  Thirteen century – Rota, Spain
                   Sixteenth century - Rota, Spain
                                                                                                                      Jardines del Buen Retiro
                                                                                              350 acres park / botanical gardens 
                                                                                            Madrid, Spain

                                       The Plaza Mayor

                               Bronze statue of King Philip III                                The Plaza Mayor

                                            Mercado de San Miguel - Best Market EVER!!