10 June 2010

It always rains in Spain

...especially when Mother Nature knows you've rented a car in a foreign country. Here's the story:

The flight from Atlanta to Paris was a piece of cake, and I didn't have any troubles in de Gaulle, which is more confusing than Chinese Algebra. The final leg of the journey from de Gaulle to Vigo, Spain was a sleepy blur; something had to be too good to be true. It was.

Since Pontevedra (the race site) was only 20km from Vigo, I decided to rent a car in case I wanted to do some exploring after the race. I found a great deal on a sexy little red Citroen, and I was excited to hit the Autopista del Atlantico, which is the main road from Vigo to Pontevedra. The Autopista is a coastal highway, virtually identical to the Pacific Coast Highway, and Galicia (the name of the region in Spain where I am) is identical to the Pacific Northwest. Imagine San Francisco and the Oregon coast rolled into one. Except the signs are in Spanish.

So I'm scooting along the Autopista towards my would-be destination, when the road starts vibrating. "That's not the road vibrating," is what I said to myself. Luckily, the issue was the driver's side rear wheel. Not so luckily, the tire decided to detach itself from the wheel. Fortunately, I speak Spanish, so I was able to call the rental car agency and arrange for a tow truck. I was sitting on the shoulder of the road for about an hour waiting for a mandated tow truck, as my contract stipulated. All the aforementioned took place in the rain, which only added to the not-so-fortuitous ambiance. Since the issue was not simply a puncture flat, I deemed the car unsafe to drive, so I turn around and head back to the airport in Vigo to exchange the car...or so I thought. For no apparent reason I take a detour and get lost. No, I don't need directions. I know where I am. No I don't.

I happen to roll down my window and ask a caballero (Spanish for "man" "dude" "bud" "sir") for directions. This caballero was a priest. I couldn't make this story up if I tried. I find the airport, then try to exchange the car, but they had none. So, I resorted to taking a ride in a taxi to Pontevedra. My journey is complete...or so I thought. I had arrangements to stay at a hotel I found on the internet. Suffice it to say, the hotel was not as grand as its description. I then decided to call the host hotel for the race, and they were kind enough to offer me a great deal for a single room. I take one final taxi ride to my current residence where I am typing this blog post. After my journey I had a great meal of fish and veggies, spoke to my sweetie, then hit the hay, hard. Today, I have had a nice swim, run, and brief accidental self guided tour of Pontevedra. 

The race, which is the Pontevedra ITU Premium European Cup, takes place on Saturday at 6:30 P.M. I've never had a race at that time of day, so I'm excited to sleep in, have a relaxing morning, then hopefully light the road (and water) on fire.

I apologize for not having written a Memphis in May triathlon post. I think I may do that just now, but I wanted to share my travel story while it was fresh on my mind. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned.

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