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After two days of the shipboard torture fun (described here) in which I steadfastly refused all of Barb and the Hub’s entreaties to “go here”, we docked at Santander in Spain.

What fresh hell is this? Barb wants me to ignore a lifetime of proper behavior to piddle on a blue-painted Poop(less) Deck? As if! I’ll just hold on for two days until I can find a proper bit of grass to go as Mother Nature and all that’s holy intended. 

HOW TO MEET THE LOCALS (by Peri Taub, International Dog of Mystery)

Humans are always telling my person Barb how much they want to travel so they can meet interesting new people.*

*⇒[Nobody has ever accused Barb of being polite, so it completely amazes me she hasn’t replied (yet) with, “Maybe the interesting people don’t want to meet you?”

Instead Barb usually lists a bunch of stupid ways to meet strangers — ask them to play cards, join you for meals, take your picture, yadayada. But on the off-chance that “meet” isn’t code for “one-night-hookup”, I have two sure-fire suggestions.

  1. Bring along an adorable, friendly dog (preferably with a magnificent fur coat) that everyone will want to pat, praise, discuss, and feed treats.
  2. Drive the Classic to a foreign country.**

**⇒[WARNING: Solution #2 above might very well result in you being left in the back of the Classic while it gets towed to an undisclosed location. In a foreign country. Again.]

Thanks to my foolproof strategy, in just our first three days in Spain we met:

  • The people in the tiny town (five kilometers back toward where we started) where we pulled over the first time the temperature needle started to rise. They made us hamburgers and suggested we stay overnight.
  • The Russian tow-truck driver who rescued the Classic after it started chirping and drove it eight more kilometers back toward where we started. (I recognized the chirping from the time a few months earlier when it led to the new water pump and many, many interesting new acquaintances. There was no way, the Hub reassured Barb, that could be the problem again.)
  • Oscar and his parents at the garage, where they filled the radiator with fluid.
  • The friendly police officer two blocks away who pointed to said fluid gushing out of the car.
  • Oscar and his parents (again), when they taught us how to say bomba de agua rota (broken water pump) and arranged for us to stay at a charming hostal (lodging house) nearby. Barb and the Hub didn’t say much about the hostal’s food, but they really seemed to appreciate their local vino.

  • The new tow-truck driver who understood when Oscar and his parents taught Barb to say in terrible Spanish with an even worse accent: “¿En serio? Mi perro no puede viajar en su grúa?” (Seriously? My dog can’t ride in your tow-truck?) but still made me stay in the Classic as he towed it to the Classic-fixers—twenty-nine kilometers even further back toward Santander. At this rate, I’d be back refusing to pee on the blue deck before this holiday ever really got started.
  • The Classic-fixers who installed the new bomba de agua.
  • The Classic-fixers (again) when the Classic, armed with a new bomba de agua overheated before we made it out of town. This time we learned how to say necesita junta de válvula de motor nueva (needs new engine valve gasket). The Hub was actually a bit pleased it was NOT another broken water pump after all.
  • The lovely gentleman at the car rental shop who sent us off in a car with single-digit age and air-conditioning, and who taught Barb to say ¡Mejores amigos para siempre! (BFFs always!).

As I stretched out on the padded rear seat with my favorite blanket, chew toys, and a doggie biscuit, I was pretty sure this was exactly how to take a grownup summer holiday.

I was so very wrong, of course. But that’s another day’s story.