I parked the car in the first parking space I could find. I think better on foot, plus I didn’t want to end up parked in the back of someone’s trunk. I randomly walked down a side street. There happened to be a hotel on this very block, but to my dismay, it was closed until March 2005. My prospects weren’t looking good. Determined or desperate, depending on your point of view, I continued on probably much like a man stranded in the desert looking for water.
And then finally, like an oasis, I saw a hotel. And the lights were on! I rubbed my eyes a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t a weird reflection of sunlight. No, there were definitely lights on.
There was an older gentleman sitting behind the reception desk. I asked him if he had any rooms available.
And the cost?
The man introduced himself as Antonio. As I later found out, he is one of the proprietors of the hotel.
Antonio was quite please to see from my passport that I was from New Jersey. My being there sparked an old memory of an adventure he had 20 years ago while visiting a friend in New York. The short version of his story is that his rental car broke down in New York, but the service man the company sent to retrieve the car was a man from New Jersey. The guy was only meant to collect the car, leaving Antonio to travel to Manhattan to get another car. Antonio convinced the man to drive him to Manhattan. The man was happy to do so even though it was against company policy and he could get in trouble for doing it.
The oddity for Antonio was that this man, even though he lived so close to Manhattan, had never actually been there. Even stranger than that, the man thought that Mallorca was an island in the Pacific Ocean. The connection…the spark for Antonio was this fellow was black, like me, and about the age I am now…so it was like I had stepped back out of time to say hi to an old friend.
Antonio didn’t ask me to pay upfront or put a down payment or credit card imprint. It turns out later that this is a sign of trust and friendship.
I thanked Antonio and retired to my room.