January 26, 2014 1 Comment
Christmas is in two days. Yet, today I walked the streets of Rota, Spain in nothing more than a Bluth Frozen Banana Stand t-shirt. In Chuck Taylors rather than winter boots, I glided over delicate sand rather than slushy snow. Yes, I am deeply in love with the weather around here. In fact, I am in love with most everything around here. We will soon pick up the keys to our new home. We decided to stay on base, and possibly miss out on the actually “living in Spain” experience. But, our thought process is that we can still enjoy the atmosphere, travel every which way we please, and still have a house just off the Bay of Cadiz. And we just couldn’t pass off such an amazing house with just so much room, a courtyard, a backyard the size of half a football field, and being a block and half away from the kids’s school. Convenience is of the utmost importance when it comes to housing arrangements. But, I have digressed from the original sequence of events. Lets go back a little.
We arrived on the flight line of Rota Naval Station at 0730L. The sun was just beginning to rise, but the air was so delightfully warm. Of course, for the locals it was probably colder than Bill O’Reilly’s heart, but for a bunch of travelers recently leaving the US around Christmas time, it was absolutely delightful. The plane ride form Norfolk, Virginia to Rota was mostly uneventful. Best of all, it was 2 hours shorter than we had originally thought it was going to be. I only had to eat one shitty meal of “beef” and re-watch that stupid ass movie where Clive Owen manages to sleep with every woman he comes across because of his accent and his past profession as a bad ass soccer player. Between small bits of sleep, a few trips sneaking off to the lavatory to puff on my e-cig, and taming a few kids, the six hours flew by like nothing.
Of course, we landed at such an inconvenient time as the day was just beginning. The time difference is only 6 hours from the east coast in which we just left, so it was though we literally flew throughout the entire night. But with little to no sleep, and only one glass of wine. But, we pushed through. Throughout the week, the family as really learned that jet lag is a son of a bitch. For the first three days it was impossible to keep them up beyond 6:00 p,m. I hate to toot my own horn, but I’ve done this shit a few times. Although I did learn that going 17 hours in to the future to Korea was much easier than going 9 in to Spain. But, here we are almost a week later and all is well. We have also learned about the power of kindness and the wonderful benefits of military living. Sure, the downsides might outweigh the good at times. Isolation is always a motherfucker. But, I will be damned if the benefits don’t come out in all of the greatest ways. Let me explain.
When you move from one base to another, you are usually assigned a sponsor from your work center. Somebody who has been at your new location for a good amount of time, and has been assigned to help get you settled in. I have had the great fortune of having an amazing sponsor who coordinated our temporary housing, found us a batch of loaner dishes, cookware, and bedding to use while we await the shipment of our old life currently floating across the Atlantic. He has also driven myself and my family around to wherever we please, including a night out at a wonderful Spanish & Italian buffett in the city of Jerez. It has been so amazing to have this dude showing me around where to go, and even letting us steal his fancy Volvo to take the family out on my own. And to top it all off, another fine gentlemen I will be working with for a while has actually offered up his little Ford Fiesta for us to use until the Subaru comes off the boat in a month or so. Yes, if I can say one thing about military living it would be this: we take care of our own. Sure many of vets get the shaft once they get out except for the two or three days a month most of you choose to acknowledge us. But when we are in, we are a family. I am not the most patriotic, flag-waving American you will ever know, but I do believe in the idea of being kind to one another, and the U.S. military definitely knows how to take care of its people. Well, most of the time, but we won’t get in to all of that just yet.
Back to Spain….. our home! Recently we managed to sneak a peak at the city of Rota. The streets are lined with old Spanish style (obviously) buildings that generally seem to sport American themed eateries and shops catering to the American lifestyle. The setting is similar to any area directly off of a military installation. Not exactly as insanely Americanized as Songtan, South Korea, but still rather estranged from its beginnings. Needless to say, we are going to have to venture off much further from the base to experience the real Spain. And you can bet your sweet hipster asses that we will definitely be doing just that. But, even with all of its Americanization and filth, Rota is still a wonderful little place. Why? The motherfucking Bay of Cadiz, man!! We managed to reach the beach that is considered to be subpar to several of the other beaches in the area, and yet, it was absolutely beautiful. The sun was setting on this little tourist trap, yet the air was delightful and I couldn’t have been happier. If the city of Rota is the lesser of the places to visit in the area, I am going to love it here.
But alas, we really haven’t gotten to travel around much in the 5 days we have been here. And honestly, we are not too worried about it. Our main goal is to gain a bit of normalcy that we have not had in over a year. We have been living in a home without wifi for almost a week, and apparently one of those bearded rednecks from Duck Dynasty said something very homophobic and the internet seems surprised. Actually I’m pretty happy we haven’t gotten to be a part of that. I don’t think worrying about something stupid that reality TV star says is “normalcy”. But, there are things we are looking forward to in the moment that don’t involve travel. Like regular ass household goods. Our car. Internet for other reasons than just social media (but yes, we do miss Facebook). But, we stay positive that within a month from this day, we should have everything together, I will be settled in at work, and we will begin traveling around Spain and eventually as much of Europe as possible. Melissa is deadset on a Christmas in Paris, and I guess I am at risk of serious personal injury if I don’t oblige.
I even managed to find a book entitled Forty Day Trips from Rota by Melinda Ronka that details some amazing single day activities to do in southern Spain. And with so much just outside our back door, I am certain this is going to be an experience that will be forever engrained in our lives. But, until we get our housing situation in order, a car to get us around, and that beloved normalcy in the background of our lives, we may not get out as quickly as we would like to. But rest assure that by the winter of 2016, we will have seen a whole bunch of great shit that I will pass along to you all right here at the Trainwreck’d Society Travelogue. Until then, buenos noches, and snoogans to all!