Author: Steven Trebus
Anxious, hungry, and tired. A thousand different feelings coursed through my body as I stepped off the plane and into Madrid’s International Airport at 10 o’clock in the morning. Finally arriving at our destination after a 12 hour plane ride, my Intercultural Student Experiences (ISE) group stepped off the plane in bright spirits.
The next week with the group became a whirlwind of excitement and bonding like I had never experienced before, which proved my previous notion; traveling in a group is the best way to travel. I met new people, bonded, and felt like I had known them for years. Of course, it does help to have a great group of people, which this group fortunately had. During our brief time in Segovia, my friend, Matt Dawson, and I had an experience we have hence named “The Bathroom Bonanza.”
One of the few rules our group leaders imparted to us was to go anywhere in a group of at least two, which also meant the bathroom. While peering around Segovia’s equivalent of a town square, Matt cordially shuffled up to me and asked, “Steve, will you be my bathroom buddy?” I, of course, obliged and nodded my head yes. (Who could possibly refuse a request like that?)
Matt and I walked into a little hole-in-the-wall cafÃ©, which had no customers, even at lunch time. Matt asked, “Donde esta al bano?” The cashier followed up through a hand gesture pointing us to the upstairs. As most of the bathrooms in Spain fit one person and the party whose urge is the worst ought to go first, Matt climbed the stairs. A small shriek erupted, followed by a blushing Matt rushing down the stairs; a woman occupied the only bathroom.
Our next and last attempt came down to a ritzy looking cafÃ© farther down the walk. Matt began to stride in, when I tepidly told him, “Don’t. They’ll want us to eat here. I am not paying 10+ euros for a bathroom.” Of course, Matt ignored me and walked in anyway. The same process from the last cafÃ© ensued; Matt asked, “Donde esta al bano?” and the waiter pointed to a bathroom, only this time it looked larger than a one person commode.
I followed Matt into the bathroom and as the door closed laughter erupted from the waiters outside; the bathroom possessed one stall and we both had to go number two. Matt jumped into the stall and began to fire off his missile. (Kindest way I could phrase it.) Minutes ticked by as I stood outside, doing the “potty dance,” while Matt tried to go. Finally, my urge to go overcame me, and I yelled at Matt, causing him to exit and allow me my time. After I finished up my business, I opened the bathroom door and triumphantly walked out into tumultuous laughter and stares.
This marks my first lesson for first-time travelers to Segovia, moreover Spain. If you have to do the buddy system, check it at the door of the bathroom. Spain’s bathrooms are built for one, not two.