I’ll be honest, when I am extremely exhausted AND hungry, I become rather “hangry” (but who doesn’t?). Take both of those and add being completely lost and not being able to speak the local language and well… Let’s just say its not fun.
That’s exactly what happened to me when I got off of the plane and to say the least, I wanted to find a corner and cry. Fortunately, I was traveling with another student in the program. And I was in luck… She speaks Spanish.
I’ve heard mixed things about having to know Spanish in Spain. Some say I’ll be fine with English and my limited knowledge of Spanish because they speak English there. Others say I’ll learn Spanish quickly because I will definitely need it. I would say that for the most part I would’ve been fine with my basic Spanish knowledge, however I would have been screwed if I were to handle the situation that Gladys and I were in solo.
First of all, we couldn’t find the baggage claim even though the flight attendant gave directions in three languages. Those languages happened to be Spanish, Dutch, and what I assumed was French or German (those are nothing alike but please forgive me, I was half asleep at this point). We meandered around looking for our specific baggage claim but “Brussels” was nowhere to be found. We finally asked for help and were sent on a wild goose chase around the airport to “Lounge 6”.
We got to the lounge and there were sliding doors with human stick figures drawn on them and red X’s crossing them out. Well what can this possibly mean being the only possible entrance! No humans allowed? Limbs will be lost if you stand in the door? It ended up being the entrance and I still don’t know what the signs mean. When we finally found the “Brussels” baggage claim, it was closed. Awesome. We then had to head over to the “lost baggage” counter and finally found our bags. Now to find the shuttle.
We asked the tourist info for help on this one. He kept looking at me and talking as if I would understand him or something (nope). Turns out the hotel shuttle isn’t frequent and we have to call for it and ask someone to come. There was a payphone around the corner. Payphone. With coins. Coins that we did not have. Gladys and I spent about an hour (or what felt like an hour) trying to find different ways to find change since there were no currency converters around. We finally found a vending machine and got a Kit Kat and some coins. We waited even longer for the shuttle. When the shuttle finally dropped us off at a cute little hotel, we both showered and crashed at about 6pm. I was done with that day.