Posted by: jility | October 9, 2011

Sunrise – Sunset – Sunrise…

Barcelona Cruise Ships

It was still dark Saturday morning when we left the hotel for the Portland airport. As we were taking off, the sun too was beginning her ascent in the sky. By the time we took off from New York for Barcelona, the sky had turned a magnificent crimson as the last bit of daylight snuck away. The flight to Spain took eight LONG hours but I forgot all the pain as we descended over the Pyrenees Mountains.

The vision was amazing as the scattered little villages lit up like flak in the early predawn darkness. Small round and oblong clusters of light dotted the mountains like something the torchlights of Medieval Times. I so wanted to be transported to those tiny twinkling villages to explore ‘till my heart’s content. I expect I might have run into Shrek and Puss while walking form village to village.

Suddenly, the plane hit an air pocket and brought me back to the reality of the screaming kid and the cramped seating. I thought the flight from Portland to JFK was bad! The flight form JFK to Barcelona made our first leg of the trip look like a first class ride! The plane was a cattle car to match all cattle cars. At least we only had minor turbulence on the second leg of the marathon trip.

The ride on the first leg was as bumpy a ride as I have ever had (with the exception of the aforementioned trip from hell back in the 60s I blogged about yesterday). At least I was in my seat when it all started. Poor Ernie was in the head. He said he had just started to pee when the plane dropped like a rock, then bounced around like a ping pong ball in a lottery drawing! He went through the motions of what it was like as he tried his best to steady his joy stick enough to keep the stream going into the right place. He said it was like trying to wrestle a fire hose on a trampoline (well, I think he exaggerated a tad on that one but that is only an uneducated guess. At his age, maybe more like a leaky faucet). He went on to say he “pitied the fool who had to go in there next!”

Sir Cussalot and I tried to sleep on the plane to no avail. We watched movies, played Angry Birds and watched the plane on the screen as it made its way across the ocean towards Spain. We counted off each agonizing minute and mile as we slowly plugged along the 3,900 miles route. The 19 month old baby two rows up screamed most of the trip as the parents did nothing to ease her pain. I wanted to scream right along with her but abandoned that idea for fear of repercussions!

The horizon began to grow deep red as the sun made its way around from the other side of the world. The deep blue sky grew brighter and brighter until all signs of night were gone and we flew closer and closer to Barcelona.

Then I saw it! It was GRAND! I have wanted to see it my entire life and there it was right below me! The deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea has called me ever since I saw my first picture of the region MANY years ago and now, at 61, I was finally going to see it with my own eyes! It was a dream come true!

We were so tired, all I wanted to do was go to our rooms and sleep. Unfortunately, the ship wasn’t available to board until 2:30 and it was only 8:30 when we arrived at the baggage claim. Tired and cranky, Sir C was convinced that our luggage was still sitting in the Portland airport, waiting for somebody to put it on the conveyor belt. We waited a LONG ass time before our duffle bags finally tumbled down the moving ramp. We had two small bags as well but they didn’t show up with the other bags. Mr. Doom and Gloom was now sure they were never to be seen again. Just as he was about to give up, my little black bag rolled onto the conveyor belt. However, there was still no sign of Sir C’s small green bag.

Bert & Ernie collected all of their bags right off the bat but we stood around forever waiting for our other bag to drop onto the carousel. The longer the time went on, the more the pit in my stomach grew. Then, the carousel stopped altogether and I knew that was it, NO FREAKING BAG! There was a small green bag that circled the baggage claim over and over but Sir C was convinced that it belonged to somebody else. He asked me what color the tag was and I responded red. I saw him look closely at the tag as the bag went by for the umpteenth time but he shook his head no as if somebody else’s name was on that blue tag.

Finally, I got sick and tired of waiting and went in search of the lost luggage booth. I walked up to the man behind the counter, showed him my baggage claim stub and said, “LOST BAG.” He took the stub and headed off into the pile of unclaimed bags. Just as he disappeared around the corner, Ernie was walking briskly over towards me motioning that they had found the bag. YIPPEEEE!!!! Evidently, it WAS that same circling green bag Sir C had checked a hundred and fifty times. I blamed Sir C for being a dumb ass and he blamed me for telling him the tag was red. Whatever! We had our bag!

Off we went to find the shuttle to the ship but confusion abounded there as well. They had no record of us, yet we were on the list, then no record, then we were on the list. I felt like Linda Blair in the Exorcist! Finally, the girls said forget it, just get on the bus. So that is exactly what we did.

The bus was to take us on a three hour tour of Barcelona to fill time until our ship was ready for the 2:30 boarding. We saw the former Olympic buildings and some other interesting buildings. I was just too damn tired to really give a shit. I had been up for 24 hours straight and didn’t give a rats ass about much of anything except sleeping by that point. I have to say though, Barcelona is a very clean and nice city (except for the graffiti everywhere).

Barcelona. Interesting building. HMMMMM

Our final stop on the tour was a very old cathedral. I heard the guide say something about it being the only one in Barcelona (or Barthalona as he pronounced it). This tour guide was an interesting character. He was probably in his late 60s or early 70s (or perhaps he just looked like it) and he was very passionate about his city and his job. Whenever he wanted us to remember something, he would repeat it over and over and over and each time it got louder and slower and his mouth crept right up against the microphone, making his difficult to understand. He “splained” the city to us and after each tidbit, he would say “huh?” It was kinda like the Canadians and their “EH?” at the end of everything. He was quite entertaining and, although so tired I could barely think, I did manage to smile most of the trip as I listened to him “splainin“ the sights in broken English.

So, we pulled up to the cathedral but I was too damn tired to even get out of the bus. Ernie felt the same way. Mel took my phone and jumped off to take some photos. I knew we would be coming back to the city in a week for another, more in depth tour, so I wasn’t worried about missing anything.

I closed my eyes for a minute and opened to see Jane (aka Bert) jump off the bus too. Ernie and I sat and listened to the SAME FREAKING KID WHO HAD BEEN TWO SEATS UP ON THE FLIGHT SCREAMING, WAS NOW SCREAMING ON THE BUS AS WELL! There must have been a dozen busses picking up cruisers from the airport and they managed to not only grab the same bus we did, but SIT RIGHT ACROSS FROM US! CRAP! LUCKY US!

About 10 minutes later, people began to file back on the tour bus. One by one, the seats filled but no Jane. Sir C had long returned but Bert was nowhere to be found. Sir C had not seen her, nor had anyone else for that matter. The guide got back on the bus and asked if everyone was there. Ernie pointed to the empty seat next to him so the guide got off the bus to look around for her. Several minutes went by and still no Bert! It was so unlike her! We always boo the people who are late getting back on the bus so it was a shocker that she would not show up on time.

Several minutes turned into five minutes, then ten. By now, we had stopped making jokes about her being late and began to worry. Ernie got off the bus to look around and Sir C followed to help. They looked in some stores and in the cathedral but no Jane. Sir C walked around the block and down some alleys. No Jane. Now it was going on fifteen minutes and the worry was morphing into panic. The people on the bus we saying things like, “She probably lost track of time.” or “She probably thought she missed the bus when the driver moved it.” (possible but not probable) or “Maybe she got lost.”

Now Jane has been my friend for nearly forty years. I have never known her to be absent minded or irresponsible. Every possibility ran through my mind from kidnapping to murder. What would we do if something really really bad happened to her? What about poor Ernie? He would have to do all the mowing by himself! Would we finish the cruise or fly home? CRAP! I really wanted to see the Mediterranean too! GODAMMIT! She better not have gone and gotten herself stolen!

Twenty minutes went by and now I could see Sir C out the bus window looking very very concerned. Now you have to realize that this is a man who doesn’t panic (well, except for that time he ran out of air while SCUBA diving at night in Hawaii in ridiculous surge while watching the manta rays feed). He has a patented move he does when he thinks something horrible has happened or when something horrible HAS happened; he throws up his arms in total despair and makes an “all hope is lost” face. I have only seen him do that a few times and each time the end results were tragic.

Now I was beginning to panic (and I never panic). It had been more than a half hour since her disappearance, I had visions of her bound and gagged, waiting for ransom to be paid or worse. I was on the verge of tears when one of the men on the bus started cracking sick jokes about her being gone. Normally MY routine, but it wasn’t so funny this time and I wanted to get up and go beat the shit out of him. HOW DARE HE MAKE LIGHT OF THIS!!! My oldest friend in the world could be dead and that ass wipe was making FU@&!NG JOKES?

The Scene of the “Crime”

Ernie came back on the bus, grabbed Jane’s purse and coat she had left behind and exited the bus, saying he was going to wait for her in case she returned. A few seconds later, Sir C peaked his head in the bus and said he was staying with Ernie and that I should take care of all the bags. I started to ask how the hell I was supposed to do that but shut up and said OK.

The driver and tour guide boarded the bus and we headed off to the ship. My mind raced a million miles an hour as we drove towards the harbor. It was about a three mile trip so I had plenty of time to run some pretty gruesome scenarios through my CSI  and Criminal Minds saturated brain. I had her dead and buried as we drove down the long bridge to the ship. As tears began to well in my very sad eyes, I spotted Bert standing at the guard gate, arms waving as she gestured her tale of woe to the guard.

“THERE SHE IS!!!” I screamed in joy. I was a long way away and, even though I could only see her from the back, I KNEW it was her. The bus erupted in applause! The relief I felt was overwhelming and now I really wanted to cry!

She was trying to talk her way into the ship area but she had no passport! She had left everything behind when she left the bus. The bus driver told the guard she was with the group and to let her in. The rest is a blur but I hugged her (and I HATE hugging!). Now we had to get word to the guys.

Evidently, when the driver had moved the bus to the other side of a row of busses, Jane had not seen it and assumed we had left her so she walked (well mostly ran really) all the way to the ship! WTF? She beat us there! She said she stopped to ask policemen directions along the way and they had been very helpful.

The guide, a super nice guy, made some phone calls to other busses that were behind us. He described Sir C and Ernie and told the driver to let them know Jane had been found and she was fine. It took a good hour before the bus made it back to the cathedral to collect the guys but I can only imagine the relief they felt on hearing the news!

Bert was convinced that Ernie was going to be furious with her and Ernie said to Mel that it would be HIS fault and he would get bitched out for not going with her when she got off the bus. The reunion was moving and nobody got blamed (for now :). I have a feeling that we will have a lot of fun with this all week long now that everything turned out OK.

We have sure started out this trip with a bang!

Now off to sleep. We have been up for more than 31 hours straight!


  1. Hi Mel & Helen,

    I’m enjoying reading the “blog” ! Only, one episode, so far ? Yesterday’s; was definitely entertaining, but, not one which I would want to experience !

    Helen, I know exactly, the “I give up” expression, of Mel’s, to which you refer ! I, too, have only seen it two or three times, but, it is so definite . . . so final, you might as well park the bus, or whatever , , ,

    Ron King

  2. Love the hilarious update Helen! You and Mel should get your eyes checked….maybe you couldn’t find your bag because you have red/green color deficiencies?? And thanks for mentally bitch slapping/punching that guy who was joking around that Mom could have been lost; I’m relieved nothing serious happened. Oh, and I now have an image of Dad pissing all over the airplane lavatory…

  3. Loved it!!! Barthelona will be fun when you get a good look at Gaudi’s Cathedral without jet lag! Wait till you see the market there! Enjoy the tapas!

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