Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seats Facing Forward: Taking the Train to Malaga

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TRAIN STATION, SEVILLA.  COLD JERRY (TEMP BELOW 50)

Heading out of Sevilla Tuesday morning, we had a warm, friendly, and helpful ticket agent.  I explained to him in Spanish that we needed two seats to Malaga that faced forward… two seats that looked toward the front of the train… two seats that looked in the direction we would travel… two seats that looked straight ahead.

Jerry even acted out getting motion sick, which included an Oscar-deserving pantomime of projectile vomiting.  It was quite a performance.  The agent laughed and laughed, understood each explanation I gave, and — when I told him that Jerry’s pantomime was the extent of his Spanish language skills, the agent said his accent was perfect.

HEADING SOUTH... OLIVES AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE...  JERRY HATES OLIVES.

Hallelujah!  We had seats that faced forward for our two-hour and twenty-eight minute train ride.  (To catch the express train that only took one hour and forty minutes would have meant getting up before 8:30 a.m.  We haven't seen 8:30 a.m. in a while now.)

So, we happily got on the train and found our seats.  But, they appeared to us to be facing the wrong direction.  I asked the woman who sat down directly behind us which way the train would be headed.  Her response was that it would head the opposite direction to what we thought, which meant our seats did in fact face the right direction.  I was confused.  The first stops were the same as the first two stops on our trip to Jerez, and I could have sworn that train went in the other direction.  Oh well.  We relaxed and settled in.

ON THE TRAIN.  A HALF HOUR NORTH OF MALAGA.  BREATHTAKING.

Then the woman behind us started coughing.  And coughing.  And blowing her nose.  And coughing.  And wheezing.  And coughing.

We both curled into balls trying to block the spray of germs with our tall backrests.  For 10 minutes we cringed every time she coughed.  I laughed, groaned, and whispered to Jerry about her cold germs.  He said, “I’m worried about getting TB!”  This was serious.

ABOUT 20 MINUTES NORTH OF MALAGA.

The train took off.  In the opposite direction...  Since it was empty, we got up and changed our seats to ones facing forward.  That also got us away from The Germ.

The Germ laughed about how the train was going in the direction opposite the one she thought it would go. She also changed her seat to face the direction we were headed.  Now she was sitting across the aisle and again behind us.  She continued to cough.  We changed our seats again.

OLD MALAGA.  NORTH-ISH FROM OUR HOTEL TERRACE.

We listened to The Germ hack for the rest of the ride, but we had four rows and an aisle between us.  We think we may have evaded the TB for now.


SOUTH-ISH FROM OUR HOTEL TERRACE.  THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA.

CONCLUSION:
I have no idea how one reserves a seat on a train and ensures it faces the right direction.
      
STREET-WALKING MALAGA.  THE CATHEDRAL AT NIGHT.

Coming soon... 
More about our visit to Malaga.  Our brief exploration.  Our 4-star hotel.  Our amazing dinner at a flamenco restaurant... on a night they don't have flamenco.

3 comments:

  1. You'll figure the trains out before long. On one train between Paris and where we live, there is a stop in Orléans. The station there is like a Paris station, i.e. the train pulls in, then decouples from the engine while a new engine is added to the rear. Then the train takes off out of the station in the opposite direction. For half the trip you face one way, for the second half you're going in the opposite direction.

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  2. @wcs: Thanks for the reassurance... that Jerry will probably never get to face in the right direction for an entire trip!

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  3. Christmas gift idea for Jerry: a rowboat!

    Great story and pics. Thanks.

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