.
.
   CHAPTER II

"Which deals with our
imaginative hero's first
sally from home..."
                     Don Quixote
Say what you want about he
Guggenheim and the Prado,
but the Museo del Jambon
(Museum of Ham)  is museum
you can really sink your teeth
into.  (Sorry.)
So there was always a
Don Quixote-esque
subplot to this trip.  As
you may know, my goal
is to get to all of the
continents before I'm
50.  Before this trip, I
had only Africa and
Antarctica to go.

The idea was to say I'd
been to Africa, but not
actually spend too much
time there.  So, I'd go to
Spain, and take the day
trip to Morocco.

I was sharing the idea
with Sally, who foolishly
said, "Hey, that sounds
like fun!"
SALLY AND MATT GO TO SPAIN AND MOROCCO
May 2003
This is a statue of Don
Quixote in Madrid.  The
guidebook said that the only
interesting thing about the
statue was the "humorous
poses that tourists struck
while hanging off of it."  I did
my best.
 
Why surely, you didn't think I was
going to go to Spain and miss an
opportunity for a Hemingway
connection, did you?

Here's a bust of Papa outside the
bullring in Pamplona...
and some idiot pretending to be
running with the bulls.
Sally and I both loved Bilbao and the
Museo Guggenheim.  Here, Sally is
petting "Puppy", a 40-foot West Highland
Terrier sculpted from blooming flowers,
which guards the entrance to the
museum.
Always one to crave attention, I've
thrown myself on top of a statue of a
dying Ignatius Loyola at this birthplace
in the Basque region.
You can ask Sally to show
you her poster from the
bullfight, just don't ask her
what she remembers about
the fight.  Here she is before
the fight--in the great seats
we had near the President's
box at the bullring.
A word to the wise:  If you take the bus trip to Toledo that
includes lunch at a restaurant that looks like the one I'm
standing in front of to the left... run.

They spilled the soup course in Sally's lap, the chicken
was almost raw (which
probably explains why I
wasn't much interested
in eating for the next two
days.

We didn't stick around to
see what they might do for
dessert.
Here are photos of Sally in Tangiers
(standing in front of a mosque) and on the
way back to Algeciras, with Gibraltar in the
background.
One of the most fun things we did on the trip was just to
hang out on the famed Ramblas in Barcelona.  (Here it is
after a shower, with the statue of Christopher Columbus
in the background.)  One Saturday evening, we were
sitting there minding our own business, when we were
set upon by a bachelor party from Zurich.

(By the way, if you're planning a bachelor party, there's no better place in the
world to have it than on Las Ramblas.  The most popular motif for such a party
seems to be to dress the bride or groom as a cow and turn him or her loose to
wander the street.)

So anyway, these six guys from Zurich made the groom shave his own legs and
wear a sign around his neck, offering free leg shaves to women.  The guys
photographed him shaving each "customer", put the Polaroid in a book and let
each lady sign her photo.  Each lady also got a red heart-shaped balloon and the
opportunity to cut a swatch out of the guy's shirt.  Our hero, whose name was
Denis, had to get twenty ladies to consent to this opportunity.
And he did.  It took about two hours and a lot of "moral support" from Sally, me
and three sales guys from Oregon, but he finally did i.  It was hilarious.
TEN OTHER FUN THINGS WE DID ON THE TRIP:

1. Played bingo  (Try it in a foreign language--like Basque.)
2. Watched the Eurovision Concert.  (We rooted for Beth, the Spanish entry.
     We liked her because Sally had actually bought one of her CD's to listen
     to in the car--which we did--a lot.
3. Sipped green tea while a guy named Hassan tried to sell us rugs in Morocco.
4. Overtipped.
5.  Went to see "Chicago"--in Spanish.
6.   Watched jewelry being made in Toledo, then bought some of it.
7.  Ate tapas--but not nearly enough.
8.  Spent a morning at the Prado--then drove to Granada (200 miles away)  to
     see the Alhambra--then drove to Gibraltar.  Sound easy?  Try it sometime.
9.  Performed our own impromptu Sardana (dance) in the Square in Barcelona
      when the "regulars' wimped out because it was raining.
10.  On our last night in Spain, we went to see Rothio at the Palau de la Musica
      in Barcelona.  Who is Rothio?  I'm not sure.  She's sort of a cross between
      Maria Callas and Edye Gorme.  I guess she's the Madonna of the flamenco
      set, and we were privileged to be among her loyal fans who attended the
      concert, which was held a fabulous music hall which had been designed by
      the architect Gaudi..  (Here's a tip:  If you're planning to attend a concert in
      Spain, buy the cheapest ticket.  As soon as the lights go down, there's a
      mad rush for the better seats.)