Guardian angels in heavy weather
The twentyfifth of January was a Sunday. Ai. On Monday I was supposed to be in the hospital of Cádiz for a practicum at eight in the morning. I calculated: that'ss half past nine Spanish time, nine o’clock Andalusian time, and half past nine Cádiz-time. I wouldn’t make it if I’d leave in the morning. So I told Pájaro that I would go by bike, and that I’d drive back home at night after our “concert” in the eco-pizzeria in Tarifa.
On my way to Tarifa I got an indeterminate feeling that appeared to be anxiety. That’s exceptional: all genes involved in recognition of danger and worry all seem to be recessive in my case. And when it eventually happens that even I can’t deny an alarming situation, I usually think that it’s too late to worry anymore anyway and that things “naturally” will end up to be ok again then. That prevents a lot of stress (at least for me, not necessarily for people around me), but my guardian angels must use their superpowers regularly to compensate my lack of fight-or-flight reaction.
The undefined feeling got to me when I had driven for about an hour towards Tarifa. It was a great chain of beautiful roads for a motorcyclist; a way through the mountains, green hills, yellow fields with here and there a village or the edge of a forest. Bends, steep mountainsides and deep valleys with sometimes a guard rail. Nice! Now. But tonight? Hm. And the wind was quite strong too: I had to hold on tight to my steeringwheel and at times my guitar suddenly pulled heavily on my shoulders. Well, we’ll see. My guardian angels prepared for the way back already.
After a nice concert in the restaurant, a biological justified pizza and two cups of coffee that I drank as liquid alertness, it was time for me to go. “The wind is strong now, you know? It’s about force-nine!” Hmmhmmm. Sure, Spaniards. With their mosquitos and elephants. (In Dutch, we have this metaphor “to turn a mosquito into an elephant” for exaggerations). Mosquitos y elefantes. I don’t think that that’s a metaphor here. But I’ll be careful.
Tarifa, the walhalla of wind- and kitesurfers. The huge plain besides it, with noting but windmills. The worried guy with his force-nine. Only when I had driven for ten minutes, I realized what all these things meant together and I quietly wished that the coffee had kept my guardian angels awake as well. The force-nine hadn’t been an exaggeration, and I was driving on two wheels right through an enormous wind farm in the middle of the night with a guitar on my back, on a dark road that would go on for kilometers, while I couldn’t remember anymore how many bends I should expect and where to expect hem. Above the mountains in the distance, the lightning seemed to become more and more active every minute. Believe it or not: even my recessive genes were activated.
The wind gusts were as powerful as unexpected. Without a warning I was swept to the other lane from time to time. In an attempt not to be blown off the road on the left side, I fought the wind with might and main until all of a sudden it ceased and I almost ended up in the road verge on the right. Now and then a car passed by and then I wished that the wind gusts would stay away for a moment, just like I did when the head lights of an oncoming car appeared. At least let it be a car and not a truck. Funny how your head works sometimes. As if being hit by a car would hurt less.
Should I stop? I should lay my bike down somewhere on the side of the road then. I could spend the night there, I considered. No. Or I could try to get a ride and leave my Honda behind, lying on it’s side just somewhere in the middle of this huge wind farm. No. Oh! Wind gust. Would anyone find me before dawn if I would be blown off the road here now? Hmm. Just when I asked myself if this would be a good moment to panic, I heard my traumatology-professor say: “Panic is men’s biggest enemy.” I decided that I couldn’t really cope with an additonal enemy at this very moment, and all at once the thoughts in my head became very clear. I split up the irreconcilable distance in little parts, like I did when I went running. The next curve. The next oncoming car. Survived. The next ten seconds. Good. I actually started to relax a little and I tried “the next verse”, but that was interrupted with brute power by “the next wind gust”. Ho. Ok, no songs anymore. The next car passing by. Survived. And after the longest 22 kilometers in the world, forty minutes later I saw the first exit: Facinas. At that moment I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place than that. Facinas.
Still a little shaky I followed the signs indicating “police”, hoping that I could spend the night there. It was half past one. The gate was closed and there was no door bell. I stopped the very first car at the village’s only intersection: hotels or hostels? Yeah, do you see that house over there? That’s actually a hostel, eventhough it doesn’t show. Actually, there’s still light behind the window, so you could just ring the bell and ask if they’ve got room. I was ready to believe anything.
“Si?”. After a little thumping a wrinkeled face with grey hair had appeared, and now an old lady was looking suspiciously through the bars of her half open window. She carefully checked the female visitor with a strange accent who stood there in her motorgear at half past one at night in Facinas. If this is hostel? “Si…” She still has room. Once I’ve payed (That should be done beforehand she says detemined, so I had to go to an ATM first), she gives me two keys through the window: one for the front door and one for my room. In no time I’ve made myself comfortable in bed. Pffff. Tomorrow I’ll let my guardian angels take the day off, and I’ll go back to Cádiz by bus. This week I’ll try not to do any crazy stuff anymore.
I missed my practicum, I think just before I turn off the light. Funny how your head works sometimes. Goodnight, Facinas. You are the most wonderful village in the world …