Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Yo Soy Un Idiot

They've got a lot of diesel cars here in Spain, were you aware of this fact? The truth is they have so many diesel cars that they often rent diesel cars. In fact, even fine American car rental companies such as Avis rent these vehicles and it is wise, very wise indeed, to be aware of this. More in a moment.

Today, the P family took an excursion to the Rock of Gibraltar. Impressive in a way, but also a bit like going to Mackinaw (or do you say Mackinac?) Island in Michigan. Both have a false isolation built in, Mackinaw does not allow bikes, Gibraltar is run by the Brits. Both exist mainly for the purpose of tourism, and both it seems have been relatively successful in convincing otherwise intelligent folks to pay huge sums for the inconvenience of living there.

Still, we had a delightful time touring the island and enjoying a fine British pub meal for lunch. I treated myself to Bangers and Mash, which for those of you not in the know, is a couple sausages of dubious quality and a load of mashed potatoes. Mine came with some fabulously fresh peas and I washed it down with a pint of ale. My companions had their own take on British fare as Mrs. P ordered Quiche (Irish Cheddar Cheese), PD1 ordered a BLT wrap (Canadian Bacon) and PD2 ordered spaghetti (no excuse).

We then went for a good hike to burn off the calories, until the rains came and we had to retreat to the car. That is when the trouble started.

Driving back to our town I noticed the fuel gauge was getting precariously low and pulled over to the roadside for a quick (so I thought) fill-up. As I was marveling at the cost of gas which was about a buck a liter, I selected my grade and plunged the spout into my tank. After filling with nearly 37 liters of fuel, I withdrew the spout and closed the fuel door and headed in to pay.

"Wait", I thought. What was that I saw in the inside of the fuel door? Was the word "Diesel" printed there? No, couldn't be. Still, I thought, I'd better check. I opened the door, looked in and there to my horror was the word Diesel. For a moment I thought, "maybe it will run anyway?" Of course, I knew I was doomed to have to admit my failure not only to my family, but to the gas station folks and, of course, to the fine people at Avis.

And speaking of Avis, wow! I called Madrid, they transferred me immediately to the local folks who were at my location within one hour with a new car ready to go. They changed out car, handed me the keys and wished me well. The only problem is that the whole thing was too easy. Frankly, I think I deserved to be brow beaten for being so bloody stupid! But no, those Avis folks were just plain nice and now I sit here ridden with guilt. Nothing a little Spanish vino can't help though.

So that was our day. A wonderful trip, slightly marred by what frankly could have been a much worse wrong type of gas in the gas tank experience. Thank God I didn't start that baby up and head out onto the road. Tomorrow it's off to Jerez to see some fine local sherry producers, I'm really looking forward to that trip.

One more thing. As I headed down the entrance ramp and out onto the highway, the car was pretty silent as we all were just grateful to be back on our way. Suddenly, Mrs. P said, "I checked".

I said, "what?"

She said, "I checked".

"You checked what?"

"The car........it runs on gas".

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