Karie on Dec 24th 2007 08:34 pm
Scott & I figured that Christmas Eve would be a nice day to take mom and dad to Parc Güell, for some of the most interesting architecture and scenery in Barcelona. The park sits atop a hill, and there’s no easy way to get there (especially for our “Senior Citizen Tour Group”, as I lovingly refer to my parents).
Even the Metro doesn’t get you very close; however, we discovered that Bus 24 does! Brilliant! Mom and dad have not yet experienced this form of public transportation in Barcelona, so it will be like 2 adventures in 1. What we didn’t count on was the bus being a bigger adventure than the day’s planned activities.
Come to find out, the buses were striking this day, so only about 25% were in operation. This apparently makes for crowded buses, as determined citizens force their way onto a bus that you’re sure can’t hold one more person.
Mom and dad caught the bus near their hotel, and we later hopped on the same bus just outside our flat. My parents situated themselves near the rear door, in an effort to gasp for fresh air at every stop, and Scott & I were at the front of the bus.
About ½-way through our cozy ride, a distinguished looking man in the middle of the bus started causing quite a stir. He was yelling at another man in Spanish, and it took us a while to figure out that he was accusing that man of trying to pickpocket him.
Bad Guy plays dumb, while other incognito Bad Guys try to downplay the situation to take the heat off their buddy. Distinguished Looking Man didn’t let up… So, the bus driver pulls the bus over and locks the doors. This really starts to freak out the Bad Guys, who are now trapped until the Policia arrive. They want to make a run for it, but mom and dad are blocking the locked door. Hmm.
We didn’t know it at the time, but the same group had also tried to pickpocket my dad. A few minutes before Distinguished Looking Man’s outburst, Dad noticed that the button on his back pocket was undone, so he buttoned it, then it was undone, so he buttoned it… It took him a couple times to catch on, but he eventually moved his cards and money to his front shirt pocket.
Now, the Bad Guy reaching over him to try to pry the door open was in prime position to snatch and run on his way out the door. In his desperation, he was pushing my dad (who speaks no Spanish) a little too hard, so he looked at the man and firmly said “No!” (much the way he speaks to Beagle Bailey when she’s not following his instructions). Bad guy persisted, so dad repeats “No!”
This irritated Bad Guy, so he starts yelling all sorts of kind things in Spanish as he pokes my dad in the chest. Dad stands up straight, now a full head taller than Bad Guy, pokes him back and says (loud enough for all to hear), “You push me again, and you’re going to have problems. Do you understand me?!” (I think he did.) Meanwhile mom is nervously muttering, “Darrell, hush.”
Keep in mind that Scott and I are at the front of the bus and can’t see everything that’s going on, so this comment was our first clue that anyone other than Distinguished Looking Man had been put at risk here.
A few moments later, Bad Guys were able to pry the door open (breaking it) and squeeze themselves out. My dad’s new friend was the last one out, and he made sure to turn around and politely tell dad he was “#1” on his way out the door.
As all the passengers on the bus watch the Bad Guys escape down an alley, an elderly lady looks down and notices that my dad’s friend’s shoe had been caught in the door… “Un zapato! Un zapato! Hahaha!”
There was instantly camaraderie among the remaining passengers, and the bus was buzzing with conversation. Distinguished Looking Man gave my dad a pat on the back and a nod of approval for heroically scaring the Bad Guy out of his shoe. He is sure to get coal in his stocking.