SPAIN II

3/16/2022    

When the short bus pulled up to the hotel entrance, Joe Jansen was ready for his very first tour of a country devoid of his own ride and his own agenda. Traveling abroad for over a decade, Joe had never signed on for a 2-week escorted tour on a bus with other tourists. The closest he ever came was a personalized 1-week trip in an Asian country with a driver and an interpreter. Prior to that, it was always by rental cars and solo choices. In order to avoid a lot of wrong decisions in 2 different countries with strange languages, Joe elected to do a totally engineered trip with bus drivers, interpreters, and prearranged rooms. Joe was getting old and didn’t need spontaneous stupidity to upset his declining patience. As Joe climbed aboard, the driver loaded his bag, and off they went. The short bus made 6 stops and ended up with 10 diverse people. The 2nd stop brought aboard the only other single person who was a female, a Chilean teacher named Catherine. Lucky for Joe she taught English. Next stop brought on 2–50-year-old Argentina sisters that spoke only Spanish. They spoke it very well because they never shut up. 4th pause was a married couple from Columbia who were lawyers. Next stop was a brother and sister from Brasilia and, finally, to round out the team, were 2 friends from work who called Mexico City “home”. In a short while, the bus driver headed south, and the group left on a journey of unspecified immensity. It didn’t take Joe too long to figure out what brought these people to overlap in each other’s worlds. If you come from Latin America, your ancestry lies in Spain or Portugal. Like an American searching their roots, most will venture into Northern European countries to seek their ancestry. For most South Americans, their cultural ties are located in the Iberian Peninsula. So, with 9 seekers aboard, 1 bus driver, 1 translator that spoke 3 languages, and 1 American continent chaser, they departed and cleared their brains for some interesting memories.

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