29 Jan 2020, 6:37pm

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Chronicles of Spain, 1966 Car Trip

Chronicles of Spain, 1966 Car Trip

(bodhisattva connotes a being who is ‘bound for enlightenment’; a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened.)


Car Trip


Three other girls and I decided to rent a Citreon during a summer break from college Classes at the Universadid de Valladolid, Spain. We nicknamed our little car Estropizio (say: ess-tro-peeth-ee-oh), because, it was such a little disaster right from the get-go.

Everyone seemed happy enough to let me do most of the driving, while who-ever sat in the passenger seat became the navigator. Now a days, we’d have used a GPS, but, in 1966, we were on a hard copy map.

At one point during our trek south, she directed me to “turn right”, so, I did. We promptly became lost in a maze of dusty roads in a small, seemingly abandoned village.

When I spotted a young, poorly dressed boy on a rickety bicycle, I stopped the car and called him over to ask if he knew how to get us to the main, paved road.  He obliged us by riding his bike in front of us until we were at the main highway.

I beckoned him over to my window and thanked him, handing him a shiny, American quarter for his help. His dirty face lit up with a smile that went all the way up into his wide eyes, showing wonderfully white teeth with one front tooth missing.

Many miles on down the lonely highway, we saw a hitch-hiker wanting to go our way. We talked about stopping for him or continue on. He looked to be about our age, relatively clean, and rather cute. We stopped.

He managed to squeeze his lanky frame into the backseat between the two girls who were already there. He only spoke Spanish, so, we peppered him with all sorts of questions in our poor Spanish. It was more than he bargained for, and before long, he asked to be let out along the roadside. Adios, Muchacho!

In retrospect, I don’t know if our village guide smiled because he knew the value of the quarter or because it was so shiny. My mother, however, would have been horrified to know I’d ignored all her “stranger danger” lectures and picked up a hitch-hiker. So, I didn’t tell her.


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