Sunday, May 11, 2014


So what to do? They told me at the front desk the room numbers for my two colleagues, no joy at those numbers. So emails off to officialdom, an out-of-office with a referral email, referral email sent, email to one of the colleagues, fingers crossed, try the room again, Bingo, it's Dave! And what do you know, he still has a rental car, is willing to hit the airport, has an idea what went wrong. At the airport, the security guard I dismissed would probably have eventually yielded pertinent info, but that's much more efficient with someone with some conversational Spanish and knowledge of the system. Turns out they like putting bags from US transfers in a Customs Area, but, hmm, how do you know that... suitcase in hand, finally ready to crash about 26 hours after getting up for SFO.

(Conventional wisdom for jetlaggers is that you "synchronize" as quickly as possible, once you've arrived at a morning, stay up all that day until somewhere near the locals' bedtime. I decided my variant would be a combination of my "cheat" at the Yotel early in the "adopted" day, and an enforced awakening 7 or 8 hours after whenever I get to bed, which in this case was around midnight. So far, it seems like it might work to get ready for my first "work in Spain" day.)

I had done a little virtual touring in the Torellano area, where my hotel is, before coming, so I already knew that Torellano was not exactly a suburb of Alicante, but rather a very rectangular and self-contained town of perhaps a dozen blocks square plunked down in a desert (from the air, it looks not a little like California, but valley towns like, say, Coalinga, tend to have expansion areas and are not symmetric, nor of even density.) My hotel is on one corner of the rectangle looking out at sere fields and low hills (probably established as airport right-of-way some while ago), a factory, and an orchard or two. (Pictured is the view from my hotel window, looking toward the airport.)

If you proceed down to the bottom of the rectangle from the hotel, you will land inexorably next to the train station, an unattended building or two with machines to sell tickets, and a couple of abandoned buildings with several coats of graffiti. With a few seconds of help from a couple - the guy had seriously, at minimum, six inches of wedge capping his forehead, he would have fit right in in '59 - and a couple of euro, I dialed in my ticket, and sat on the bench watching swallows duck in and out of nests in the shadow of the tile roofs of the forgotten structures.

A cultured famale voice advised us in Spanish from a speaker that the cercania, or local train, would be arriving in about ten minutes, and arrive it did, far from full. Two stops, ten minutes, and some seriously competitive graffiti (reminiscent of the CalTrain approaching San Francisco) later - Alicante Terminal, looking every bit a modern train terminal serving a city of some hundreds of thousands.

And coming out of the entrance of said terminal, you can already see the potent local landmark, the Castillo de Santa Barbara, at a distance - and really, I am certainly one to just head for the heights without any ado.

Still to come: the tunnel of elevation, the rampart, Paella Plaza, and Jaime's Guidance.

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