Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Break!

In honor of spring break, we have compiled a week worth of vacation stories. We have the odd, the sinister and the embarrassing from many of our 2k8ers who all agree on one thing… vacations don’t always turn out like you think they will!

First off, we have Marissa Doyle, author of the Bewitching Season.

Marissa: When I was in my twenties, my mom and I did a self-guided tour of southern Spain and Portugal. We landed in Madrid, rented a car, and drove ourselves all over the place, stopping wherever we wanted. Some of it was sublime: driving from Lisbon back to Madrid in the middle of the night across a vast empty plain, where the stars were visible down to the horizon...wandering through the Alhambra...climbing to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar. And some of it was downright silly.

One of my favorite silly bits happened on our first day away from Madrid, en route to Valencia. We had stopped for a late lunch at this restaurant on the outskirts of Madrid. There were a fair number of cars, which we took for a good sign...but when we went inside, we saw that all the cars belonged to a group of rather sinister-looking middle-aged men all seated at one large table. The rest of the restaurant was empty. I was kind of in favor of moving on at that point (I mean, some of them were wearing pin-stripe suits, for heaven's sake), but mom was hungry and wanted to stay. Things got worse when the waiter seated us a scant two tables away from the group. They all eyed us from time to time, but seemed intent on their own affairs. The extent of my Spanish was asking where the bathroom was and how much things cost, so I had no clue what their business might be.

So we ate our lunch, but the room felt increasingly tense and expectant. To make matters worse, our waiter had vanished, so I couldn't ask for our bill so we could get the heck out of there. Just when I was about to go try to track him down, the door to the kitchen flew open, and two waiters marched out carrying an enormous birthday cake covered with candles, and all the men started smiling and singing "Happy Birthday to You"...in Spanish, of course! They even had the waiter bring us pieces of cake, which we dutifully ate, bowed and waved our thanks for, paid, and hit the road. After about forty-five minutes we agreed that it had all been quite funny.

That trip was full of funny moments.

Check back tomorrow when Elizabeth Bunce, author of A Curse Dark as Gold, will share her vacation story.

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