we're sorry but nobody is home. please leave a message 6.10.2005

Well howdy from el pueblo de Toledo, Espana.

First, the bad stuff. Traveling from the United States took forever--roughly 20 hours of sitting in (alternately) cars, airports, planes, more airports, and standing in line at "Control de Pasaporte" where a seemingly unfriendly man scowed at my wife's and my passports, and decided against his better judgement to allow us into the country of Spain. But, if his expression was any sign, he was letting us off easy this time, and don't expect to get a chance to enter the country again next time looking like we did.

Then to the baggage claim area--only to have just one of our bags show up. Mine. My wife's bag--well, after waiting about an hour, then the ramp stopped moving, then a guy gathered up all of the remaining bags, and there we were standing, missing a bag.

Along with a few dozen other folks.

So we all, in bits and pieces, wound up in the far corner at Iberia's baggage claim/missing luggage area, where we managed through fits of my crappy espanol and their much better english to sort a claim. After waiting in line for something like an hour. And then to the rental car--which I asked to extend an additional day, only to learn that we had stood in line for so long waiting for baggage claim that the 13 days we had rented the car for will cover the period nicely. (Apparently we had rented 13 days with the proviso we return the car in less than 13 times 24 hours--an hour over that would turn into 14 days, and we were spending about 13 days, two hours in Spain. And two of those were in passport control, baggage check, and filing a lost baggage claim form.)

By the way, the hour filing the claim was well worth it: we got to tell the airline which hotel we were staying in. Without that information the would have had to ship the bag back to Los Angeles. But with that information--the good news is just as we were coming back from shopping this morning (it's now Friday around 2:00pm local time as I type this), the bag showed up at hour hotel, and housekeeping placed it in our room.

While looking for clothes shops last night, my wife and I did manage to scope out the shopping districts in Toledo. ("You are lost in a twisty, winding maze without a clue where you are. Behind you there is a noise. Maybe it's a Grue, waiting to eat you.")

By the way, while shopping in Toledo, you'll notice (as we did) that every damned shop here has swords. Every gift shop has swords. There are sword specialty stores. We're talking alleys full of sword stores. Hell, it seems like they carry swords at the McDonalds here. (Yes, there is a McDonalds. For Deb and I, it's a landmark; it's in the Zocodover Plaza, at the head of Commerce street.) But what is most interesting in Toledo is the art of making hand-crafted plates of hammered steel, bathed in acid and covered with very fine designs of hammered 24 caret gold, 18 caret gold and silver, all done by hand. (The 24 caret gold tarnishes to a light green, giving a three-dimensional effect.) We bought two of them.

I've got pictures; as soon as I get a chance I'll post a few. But until then, adios y hasta luego!

posted by William Woody at 5:09 AM

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A moderate conservative living in the left coast, surrounded by the sureal, wonders if there is a sane life living amongst those who have lost touch with reality.

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