My sister and I recently returned to Connecticut from a trip to Barcelona. I’ll tell you about our trip in a post to come. Today I want to tell you about leaving.
“Get to the airport two hours before boarding,” American Airlines’ website said.
“Get to the airport three hours before boarding,” our Spanish guide said.
Since our flight was at 9:30 am, being at the airport three hours prior meant getting there by 6:30 am, and working backwards, we’d have to be up at 5:30 am and ready to jump in a cab by 6:00 am. We’re not morning people. We compromised and decided to be at the airport 2 1/2 hours before boarding.
Don’t be fooled, the Barcelona-El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport is NOT JFK! From the moment we entered the tiny-by-comparison airport we were on a line. Every traveler on any airline was on the same line. The hotel we stayed at had packed us a boxed breakfast. We ate standing on line. We inched forward. There were only maybe 10 agents opened at that hour. We tried to check in using the computer kiosks but that was only trouble as my sister still hadn’t gotten a seat assignment.
Finally, we reached an agent. I gave the young man my passport.
“Marilyn,” he said, “like Monroe.”
“Yes,” I beamed, tossing my blond hair seductively.
“Where do you live?” he asked. I think he was truly interested in an international traveler’s life story.
“Connecticut,” I answered.
“What do you do in your free time?” he wondered.
Knowing that there was a horde of people behind me, I tried to make my responses short.
I said, “I do crossword puzzles.”
Without a change of expression and in his lovely Spanish accent, he asked, “And where do you find these crossword puzzles?”
I said, “The newspapers.”
“And what are crossword puzzles?” he wanted to know.
Now I’m in trouble, I thought. I have to explain this quickly and succinctly. Using my hands to demonstrate the grid, I said, “You fill in words going across and down by answering clues.” Oh, so succinct.
He smiled and said, “Oh, have a nice trip” and handed me back my passport and boarding pass.
As I rejoined my sister, I told her what transpired and wondered, “Do they even have crossword puzzles in Spain? I’d like to see that.”
We got on another line for security and raced to our gate just in time to sit down for a second and get up and on another line to board.