The best advice I was given before coming to Spain was that I should always say yes to adventure. I was also warned to stay away from strange boys that I don’t know that well, thanks to my father. So far I have said yes to some great adventures that lead to even better stories and friendship.
When I was in Madrid I made friends with people from my hostel. Some were in a similar program as I and others were traveling to other countries. The last night I was there a few of us ended up going to a local store and buying 40s for, I’m not lying, 1 euro. That’s 40 ounces of beer for less than $2 when converted. We ended up just hanging out at the hostel for a while talking and exchanging stories around 12 a.m we decided to go to a few bars. From there we ended up staying out till 3 a.m and when we returned another girl and I ended up staying up and talking to the front desk people until 5 a.m. It’s a very vague and short story about my time in Madrid but the point is that you should always say yes to hanging out with new people.
Now, as I said before everyone had told me not to go anywhere with strange boys or people I don’t know that well. Everyone referred me to the movie “Taken” saying that I would be the one dumb enough to get into a taxi with a stranger and have him know where I live. I like to believe that I am quite smarter than that and would never share a taxi with a stranger. But apparently, I’d get into a car with a guy I’ve known for about two weeks to go to a campground for a few hours to drink.
Let me give a backstory because I know how sketchy that sounds. So, I met this guy in a bar and although we don’t speak the same language he seems decent enough to exchange phone numbers with. Now I’ve been blowing him off for a while because he seems like the f**kboy type that I’m used to back in the States. The night this adventure took place I would like to address the fact that I was on my way to a church to practice Spanish with other non-native speakers and meet new people. Since my apartment STILL doesn’t have wifi (it’s been a month now) I had to go to the center to try and use free wifi. As fate would have it, as I am walking to I so happen to pass said boy and his friends who are outside of a bar drinking.
I can’t escape that, he’s already seen and called me over. I tried to explain that I was on my way to church to practice Spanish but I needed to find out where the church was. All his friends laughed and were like you can practice with us! They weren’t wrong I totally could because only one of them barely spoke English, and it was enough to say “I don’t speak English that good.” Before I knew it they sat a beer in front of me and started about whatever it is drunk Spanish boys talk about. Since I was the only female, they tried to get me to invite my roommates to hang-out with them but my they’re smarter than me and said no. We met up with a few more of his friends at a different bar and they started talking about going to el campo for a party. It ended up being the place where Ruben, the boy I met, worked— the twist was that it was 30 minutes away by car.
Immediately my father’s advice came into my head and I knew I had to say no. I can’t go with a bunch of boys I just met to some campground to drink more. That’s an awful idea! As soon as I said I can’t go they started to persuade that I should. I said I didn’t want to stay the night there and that I don’t want to be stranded. He promised me that they were only going to be there until his shift was over at 11 and they would return to Soria. The guy who was driving said he wasn’t going to be drinking either. What really persuaded me was that Ruben promised me that if we didn’t leave by 11, I wouldn’t have to talk to him ever again. So with that little of information, I said, “why not.”
After 20 minutes I found myself in a campground walking to Rubens work. To be fair the campground was more for tourists and it was filled with bungalows and RVs. It wasn’t as sketchy as I thought it would be. His friends had worked at the same restaurant during the summer so they already knew the cooks and we ended up getting free beer and pizza. While Ruben was working his friends and I got to know each other better and we all had the same taste in music. Rap. One of his friends liked American rap more than Spanish rap and we ended up going back and forth between who was a better a rapper and why. They even had a mini rap battle in Spanish which was actually really good.
As Ruben promised, we were leaving at 11:04 pm. He reassured me that he wasn’t a bad guy and would stick to his word. When we got back to Soria we went to his families grocery store and they were drinking, playing music, and playing dominos. They were all really welcoming and generous. Between the five of us, we finished a bottle of whiskey around 2 a.m and went to this club call Vankal. It’s a cool place because it’s in like this old cellar and they play decent music compared to most places. The only downside is that you’re allowed to smoke inside and there’s no ventilation— by the end of the night you wind up smelling like a walking cigarette.
We stayed there dancing until 5 a.m because Spaniards don’t believe in sleep, and Ruben had to be back at work by 11 a.m. The point of this long story is that while I could’ve said no and gone home, I would’ve missed out on one the best nights I’ve had in Soria. I’m not going to say in all of Spain because Madrid was crazy fun. Saying yes is the best thing I could’ve done. I understand I should always take precautions but “yes” is the opening to a great adventure.