Like most kids, I had* an unwavering faith in my parent’s ability to do and solve anything. It didn’t matter if I was playing our backyard or half way across the world- I knew my parents could always help me out. I knew this because they have routinely dealt with the consequences of my frequent wanders. (As you may recall my trip to Bangkok was quite entertaining for me, not my Mom. But none of them were as spectacular as my trip to:
Almuñecar, Spain 2000
I was on an eighth grade field trip to Spain with nine of my classmates and our three teachers. We had taken a day trip to Almuñecar, a small hillside village filled with pueblos blancos (white houses), cobbled streets and the most pristine white sand beaches. Our teacher’s goal was to immerse us in the quaint rural dialectic. My classmates and I were more interested swimming in 80 degree water. Somehow it worked.
We had just wrapped up our beach picnic and were heading back up to the bus, when my friend Angie and I decided to stop and get some more of the exquisite bread. Okay I wanted bread, and I made Angie accompany me. We stopped in one of the pueblos blancos and exercised our best Spanish skills to get three loaves. Proud of ourselves, we emerged from the shop only to find that our group had disappeared. Now when I say Almuñecar is a small hillside village—I mean it was a small hillside village. There were a maximum of two** main streets that ran parallel to each other. Even the ancient days before cell phone GPS, I was confident that were could make it up to bus, with or without our teachers. And if we didn’t find them, the beaches were spectacular and we knew enough Spanish to get bread. We looked around the nearest shops to make sure they weren’t nearby, and then decided to head back to the bus stop. On our way, we ran into our other classmate, Eric, who had similarly taken a detour, and the three of us headed back to the carpark.
The problem was when we arrived, the bus wasn’t there. I was just turning back to head to the beach, when Angie and Eric started to cry. Apparently the prospect of living in Almuñecar and not having daily Dunkin Donuts trips was too much for them. Bummed that they were ruining my beach paradise, I decided that I couldn’t do anything until the two crybabies were consoled. So I did what any 14 year old would do.
I called my Mom.
I found the nearest pay phone, pulled out the calling card number that my parents had dutifully given to me, and made the transnational call.
“How’s it going Mummy?”
“Bun is that someone crying in the background?”
“Yah, Angie and Eric are here and they are crying.”
“Bun. Why are they crying?”
“Well were were at the beach today. SOO pretty- lots of cobblestones and white house. We had a picnic and swim at the beach, and then when were heading back to the Bus, Angie and I decided to stop and get bread. On the way, we found Eric who got left behind somehow. Anyways, we got the bread, and realized that the group wasn’t around. So I decided we should head straight to where the bus dropped us off, and now we’re by ourselves. I had to call you since these two wouldn’t just go back to the beach with me.”
To my mom’s credit, she took a deep breath, asked me to repeat the story and told me to hold tight while she figured out what to do. Somewhere in the second rendition, where she asked me to specifically give her details like “What town we were in? Was there any police stations we could wait in while she figured out what to do?” our group found us. Apparently they had stopped one of the eclectic craft shops across from the bread shops and we didn’t see them in our rush to get the bus. So I gave my mom a quick scare, my two teachers several heart attacks, but I got my bread.
Postscript: I actually got more than bread. Moreover, in between the time we left the beach and arrived at my hotel. My mother called my father, who was in China on a business trip, to tell him that we had been lost for approximately 7 minutes. He made a quick call to the office in Madrid, and by the time I reached my hotel, the office had sent over a huge basket filled with Spanish chocolates, fruits and sparkling apple cider. Maybe this is why I continue to wander today?
*To be honest, I still feel this way even in my mid- 20s.
** Looking back Almuñecar may have been a significantly larger city then my quaint recollection. I’m choosing to repeat this with my non-google influenced memories of this trip.
*** My mom’s nickname for me. It’s pronounced “Boone”.
****Unfortunately I don’t have any photos because this was in the days of disposable cameras. So this is from Pinterest. It’s still pretty.