Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer.

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Spain is Lost

By Milt Abel | November 20, 2011

| November 20, 2011

I joked in a Facebook post  ‘I’m headed to Spain to establish a Native America Casino,’  -consider it a sort of revenge. Because Spain had brought Imperialism to America, and not too smoothly pulled the country out from underneath their feet, it would only seem fair that Native Americans should get a chance to return the favor. Take Spain away from the Spaniards, a quarter at a time.

During my run (11/9 – 11/20) on the Holland America Maasdam we visited Almeria, Spain. This port contained a great fortress and governor’s residence, Alcazaba, that had its first construction in 994 and had been rebuilt and added to over the centuries, forming three distinct sections and styles to explore. And this historic site, high atop a promontory, was within walking distance of where the ship had docked.

Here’s a photo taken in the most recent addition, still centuries old, showing one of the many Spanish canons that overlooked the hill’s approach on all sides.

It was interesting to see the funneled opening that allow marksman and archers to pivot about on the secure inside while allowing the minimum of exposure to attackers. The day I was there the fortress managed to become overrun; with tourists from the ship. Locals didn’t seem bothered that me and my shipmates had seized the castle, They knew we would give up the caste in time for our dinner buffet.

Later in the morning I walked to the center of Almeria looking for a McDonald’s. I was told by a guide at the pier that the restaurant chain was a good place to get free wifi. I got a little lost trying to find the McPlace the guide had pointed to on my map, so I started showing the map to locals. In my broken Spanish I would point to where I thought I was, and then point to the nearest corner and ask ‘Es aqui, si?” But they were unable to make out references, printed in Spanish, of their own town! They couldn’t read a map. Over and over again, I approached people and I knew I wasn’t far from my guessed point on the map, but they couldn’t help, were lost in any reference to the paper map I kept stabbing with my finger. I realized that afternoon how Columbus could have been so far off; thinking the Caribbean was India, because he was from Spain. The Ponce de Leon story about looking for the fountain of Youth was indeed just that; a story. The dude was lost. So was Columbus. So was I.

The Maasdam’s next stop was Barcelona and my day’s adventure there was to walk to Sagrada Familia Church designed by Antoni Gaudi. Do yourself a favor if you’re ever in Barcelona, go to that church, it is a surreal experience. The architecture is different from anything else you’ve ever seen, yet functional, you feel like you’ve wandered onto the set of the first Sigourney Weaver Alien movie -the stuff designed by H R Giger. The scope (it’s huge) and it’s being like nothing you’ve ever seen before, will make you woozy.  And how often does a building do that? -that’s got good ventilation.

Here’s a photo of me standing in front of one of its four totally unique sides.

Over my travels, and helping as labor with my wife’s former landscaping business, I have learned a small amount of Spanish. Enough to get me in trouble, literally, but I think I’ve told that story in this travel blog before. I mention my weak proficency because  as little as I understand of Spanish, my understanding of Italian makes me look fluent.

I left the Maasdam earlier this morning to fly out of Leonadi DaVinci Airport, Rome’s airport, and I rode for an hour with a driver who wouldn’t let my not understanding a word of his was saying (he spoke no English) keep him from talking to me the entire trip. He could have been complain about his sex change operation, or that he was going to boil and eat all my house pets, I hadn’t a clue. I just kept nodding and looking in the sky for planes -because that would mean we were near the airport and the static could soon end.

I’ve been traveling too much. It wasn’t until I got inside the airport I knew I had been there before, -actually spent a good part of a day there waiting for a flight. That’s scary, not remembering you’ve been somewhere as significant as Rome’s airport.  I suppose it wasn’t remembered because I wasn’t excited about visiting it this time. It made me feel lost, Spanish almost.

Topics: comedy, cruise ship, humor, travel | No Comments »

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