Crazy day Wednesday. Pack pack pack run around doing last minute everythings. Suddenly in car with Larry going to airport. Magnificent sunset. Soooo tired. Middle seat reprieve at last possible second – last row window seat only one other seat in row. Youngish high energy edgy intriguing 40ish guy. Shorts, T, dark, longish hair. Full arm tatoos only. British passport. American accent but softened. Not quite. French? Spanish? Not quite. Seats not so comfy. We’re not sleeping, start to talk. He lives in Brighton, England, runs Italian (?!? – no) restaurant. Visiting aunt who runs a resort in Alaska. Great time in Alaska. Caught shark! Hiked glacier! Beautiful! Love aunt. Like sister. All lived together when he was young in Seattle. Graduated high school in 86. He always consider Seattle home. In all his travels when anyone ask, he calls Seattle home. Father American, mother not. His bio father dead. Moved to Seattle when small with new father and mom. Just visited Seattle first time in 23 years. Disconcerted, upset. Changed beyond recognition Did you move to Brighton from Seattle? I ask. No, nightmare. Summer after high school goes to visit mom’s relatives in Iran (!). 1986 Iran/Iraq war. Won’t let him out of country. Finally exempted from military service cuz only surviving child. He frantically tries every thing to leave. No luck. After 12 unbelievable years finally able to get exit visa from Iran, but can no longer get into US. Is able to move to England and get UK passport. ” Iran is beautiful. If you went there they would love you and be so gracious to you. They love Americans. But it was a nightmare to get stuck there!” Plane lands Heathrow. He’s off like a shot.
Plane very late to Madrid. Sounded like they tore it apart and put it back together underneath us as we were sitting at the gate waiting to leave. Full plane. Half businessmen in dark suits and ties and half a Japanese tour group in gauze masks.
Taxi to hotel (got to hotel so minimal Spanish worked, but French words I would never remember if I needed them in France popping up right and left.) Small hotel, no English speaking night staff, missing reservations. After 11pm. Very kind. Have room. Love the name – Hotel Caballero Errante. (Like everything else in this quarter the shady plaza for breakfast is torn up and under construction) Luckily excellent Arabic Restaurant in teeny lobby is NOT under construction and emits heady aromas. Fantastc (veggie) couscous. By the time I’m done it is Friday the 18th.
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