Small Bills, Please

August 2, 2014, 17:44, over the Gulf of Mexico

Yesterday, we had the great opportunity to see what happens when travel goes about haywire. We were waiting to get off the ship, when the overhead announcer said that there was a taxi strike going on in Barcelona all day. For those who have never been there, the port is a good 45 minute walk, minimum, from the Rambla Catalunya, where we were staying. This was not going to be fun, in 85 degree hear with 60% humidity, dragging three suitcases and our carry on bags.

A bus was our best bet.

Or so we thought.

In Europe, it was difficult for us to use our credit cards. I’m not sure why, really, but maybe it’s because they are still se what stuck in the 18th Century, but everyone really preferred cash. That’s great, except when you have none. Or when all that you have is larger bills, like 50 €.

We noticed a few tacos hanging about when we exited the terminal, but since they had announced a “strike” we didn’t really know if they were really running or faking us out. Either way, the bus route seemed to be the best option.

We stood in line with 200 of our new BFFs to get on the bus. All we had was about 3 € in change and a 50 € bill. The lady in front of me paid with a 20 € bill and got change. When we got up to the line, the asshole (yes, he was a complete asshole) bus driver told us he didn’t do change at all. I looked at him and told him that he just made change so that was not the truth. He just gave me a dirty look.

So we had to get off the bus.

A little part of me wanted to just stay and MAKE him get me off the bus. Jerk. I asked if anyone had change. No one seemed to have any. So off the bus we went.

So we went back to the terminal area to get change.

There was literally nowhere to get change but on the ship.

This is where I literally lost my marbles. I held up the 50 € bill and shouted that I would happily trade it to anyone who could give me enough money for a bus ticket. Several people just stared at the crazy American who didn’t apparently understand European money.

Well here in the good old US of A, we make change. As they said on Saturday Night Live, “It’s what we do.”

With no takers and no helpers I was ready to just start walking. Or crying. Or both.

Then am angel came up to us. She was German and spoke good English. She asked what we needed. I told her we needed change. She gave us change and then have me a hug. Then I cried.

We went back to the bus stop. The nice lady bus driver made change for others, and she have us 1 € back from the 5 that I gave her.

I am very thankful for her today, just as I was yesterday. I hope she and her family has a great time, wherever they may be today. She was my savior when I really needed one.

The moral here is not only take Euros, but ask for small bills – not larger than 20€ bills really. You will need them for bus fare and almost anything else you want to buy.

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