The conference I was attending in Malaga, unsurprisingly, threw their closing party the evening before I was due to fly back to London. This combination normally works well, you come home late, pass out, wake up and take a cab to the airport a few hours before your flight leaves. This doesn’t work so well when your departure airport is a once a day 3 hour coach ride away, leaving at 10 AM.
That specific night-before I was spectacularly drunk on enormous shots of tequila from a specially opened tourist dive in Torremolinos. The other conference attendees, of whom I only knew a handful for more than 3 days, managed to get me back to the hostel we were staying in (so I’ve been told), and into my bed. What I clearly didn’t manage to do was set an alarm giving me enough time to wash, pack my bag, and comfortably make it to the bus station to catch the service to Gibraltar, which if I missed, would also mean missing my flight. Miraculously I woke up 30 minutes before the bus was due to depart and in my still drunken haze threw all of my possessions into the suddenly very useful conference bag and ran outside to catch a cab.
The Spanish bus service is somewhat unusual when it comes to European transportation, their main ticket offices don’t take credit cards. Being my usual credit happy self I had been planning to buy the ticket on my card and think about the cost when the bill arrived, and so 5 minutes before departure I was sent on a hunt for a cash machine. Even my best hand gestures could not demonstrate a cash machine and so I resorted to the English tradition of speaking loudly and clearly “WHERE IS THE CASH MACHINE?” I felt incredibly stupid and arrogant when the security guard I was exploding at pointed behind me.
Cash in hand I ran straight to the departure gate (which I had the presence of mind to check whilst waiting inline for the fruitless ticket office), and convinced the driver to sell me a ticket. OK, I didn’t have to convince him, he saw the state I was in, was probably scared half to death, and just handed over the precious ticket.
Gibraltar, the little piece of England in the Med, was worth every panicked breath of the morning. Whilst watching the human like behaviour of the apes is incredible, and the view from the rock to die for, the most pleasure to be had was seeing real British traffic lights, sign posts, and pound notes! Whilst I love traveling, there is nothing quite like that coming home feeling, and that is exactly the what I felt handing my passport to the British Boarder Agency and walking into Gibraltar.