Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Checking out, what a morning!

Continued from Alone in the night, in the pouring rain

After a tropical storm, the tropical heat.

In spite of going to bed late, I was up at 7am. I didn't expect anyone else to be up at that hour. Booted up my PC and as I'd expected, the wifi hadn't been turned on. I knew it wasn't on a programmed switch, that it was a manual operation - the last staff member to use the network turns the router off, and the first person to wake up turns it on again (when they're ready and if they remember).

So I transferred some of the previous night's photos, deleted some (read my story in the last post), and continued mucking around. Every 5 minutes or so, I peeped out the door to check the breakfast situation. By 8am I was getting nervous. We were leaving today, but I had to go and get the car which I'd contracted to rent before we had left home. It was some way from town, by the looks of it.

The absence of electromagnetic waves must really keep these people deep in slumberland. I hadn't thought it necessary to book an early breakfast. 8am isn't considered early in most places. 8.15, nothing. 8.30, NOTHING! This is getting ridiculous!

I can't remember what time they eventually brought out some stuff. Little by little. Isabella's husband - I presumed - was the first up. And at 9.15am, the router still hadn't been turned on!

I can't remember either at what time I set out of the room. I'd booked the car for 9am. Fat hopes!

I got to the bus stop (an easy find after the previous night's experience ;) ) only to find that the bus (No. 24) passes every 30 minutes and one had just gone by. Fantastic. After a moment's hesitation, I decided to walk. Google Map estimated the walk to be 30 minutes - better to do some exercise than to stand around wasting time.

Away I went. Boy, no wonder the estimate was 30 minutes. It was uphill at least half the way! So, you wanted some exercise, eh?

Thanks to the map, I didn't get too lost. Most people I asked didn't know where the place was. Plaza Irun was the wrong name to use. I should have said Centro Comercial Arcco - they were more familiar with that name.

Anyway, I located EUROPCAR - they offered the best deal I could find - completed all the formalities, and went down to the basement car park. That was about the only inconvenience. No-one brought me to it, to check that everything was ok, and to explain the basics. The car was a Renault Megane, practically brand new. Chocolate brown. Nice. Controls were all the wrong way round for me, haha, eg, the windshield wipers were on the right, as so was the car adjustment lever, etc.

Renault Megane, snapped with the phone camera
Good enough to eat
Renault Megane, start-stop model
One of the best I've hired
It took me a while to find out the fundamentals. Like I mean, where the hell is the handbrake??? LOL I think it's about time I got myself a new car.

Eventually, I made my way back. By the time I arrived, traffic was horrendous. It was Monday. Lorries everywhere. There was a metre-zone in front of Isabella's, but it was now full. I had to go around the block several times before I found a space....to double park!

Thankfully, the family had packed almost everything. It wasn't a smooth transition though. I had to go up to make sure I hadn't left anything behind, of course. Camera, lenses, cables...that sort of stuff... Murphy's Law struck again. No sooner had I reached the room when someone was saying he had to get out. When I looked out the window, it was the lorry behind the Renault - for goodness sake, he was as double-parked as I was! Why couldn't he just reverse to get out??? No comprendo. Beats me. Murphy just wanted to ruffle me up.

And then there was Isabella kind of pushing, saying things like check-out time was more than an hour ago, that they had to get the room ready for the next guests blah blah blah. Honestly, I don't know how I managed to just ignore her. Probably because I was more interested in getting out than she could imagine.

I could have said well, if you had wanted me to leave on time, you should have bloody well laid out the breakfast at a frigging normal time, shouldn't you?

The car hire details:

Fecha de recogida: 04/08/2014
Fecha de devolución: 12/08/2014

Grupo de coches: SE LEON 1.2 TSI 105CV START STOP o similar

Divisa: 288,94 EUR

Like I said, the best deal I could find for that time and for that condition - returning the car to a different location carries a supplement for a lot of other companies.

Just a footnote: I wonder why it's so expensive to add a second driver. It's really ridiculous. I think it's about time car and insurance companies realise that it is, in fact, safer to have two drivers than one. There were many times I had to slap my own face just to stay awake. There were many times I was tempted to close my eyes for a second... And it wasn't as though I drove for many hours at a stretch. I stopped often. But it wasn't uncommon for me to find that five minutes after resuming from a stoppage, I felt sleepy again! Straight roads are the best cure for insomnia, I tell you, which is one of the reasons why I avoid motorways wherever possible!