Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Hola mi amigos!
How many of you have ever endured the agony of being within touching distance of the last bus to your desired destination, but could only watch helplessly as it drove off?
OK, some of you might have. But how many of you has this happened to in a foreign country, where you are surrounded by persons with whom you do not share the same language and your only other option to your destination is by train.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it?
Well, that is exactly what my journey to the Montjuic Olympic Stadium turned out to be yesterday. A disaster. Well, with a sprinkling of sunshine, but that's for later.
I went to bed at 12:30 a.m. yesterday morning (Monday 5:30 p.m. Jamaica time) exhausted, having not slept a full day. I set my phone to alarm at 5 a.m., so I could get ready in time to catch the 8 a.m. bus to the stadium, although Jamaica's first athlete was not due to run before 10:40 a.m.
I wanted to get an early start. Well, so much for that as when I hauled myself out of bed, it was some minutes to eight. I don't know what happened to the alarm. I decided to catch the 9 a.m. bus (which was the last one for the morning), but between ironing, having breakfast and showering (I really need to cut down on the time I spend in the shower), it was exactly 9 a.m. when I exited my hotel room.
The bus was parked right in front of the hotel, but as I dashed through the door, bouncing a man out of the way in the process, the bus started pulling out, and down the road it went. I stood at the kerb looking as my world came to an end. Well, that's how I felt.
I went back inside the hotel, intertwined the little Spanish I knew with English and explained the situation but what I got were directions to the train station just around the corner.
So, off I went into the big, bad, unknown. I got there and everything was a blur, with persons only able to tell me in English that they do not speak English.
I saw a dark-skinned woman and approached her. It turned out she had missed her ride as well and was as mystified as I was, so we decided to tag-team the problem. I figured out how to change the instructions on the ticket machine to English and she, how to insert the coins.
Going well so far, right? All that changed when we exited the train and realised there was no stadium in sight. I found out her name was Shameika McField and she is a coach at a university in the United States (US).
So as I worked on the diplomatic relations between Jamaica and the US, we realised that we were lost.
We asked two policias for directions, who informed us that we would have to board another train, as the stadium was not in the area we were.
Exact change was needed to purchase the tickets, which I did not have, but Meika (yes, it's now Meika for me) was kind enough to allow me to use her 10-day ticket.
When the train stopped on this occasion, we were very familiar with our location, as the darn thing had taken us back to our hotel.
We were about to head inside the hotel and ask for help when I noticed an area we had not seen the first time round. So we went there and found a train waiting, which we boarded in faith. We were lucky this time, as it stopped at the foot of a hill approximately 15 minutes' walk from the stadium.
As long as I am here, I will never miss the media bus again, breakfast or no breakfast; shower or no shower.