Monday, 16 February 2009
Chaos and companionship
In the middle of a shopping centre in San Sebastian, just inside Spain. Writing my first on-the-road entry standing up at the information desk where a very nice lady has connected me to the wi-fi system, We keep being interrupted by English folk of all accents asking where they can change £s into €s, and disbelieving that there isn't anywhere. Why don't they have €s? Because we haven't stopped driving, or waiting to start driving since we left Hyde Park. Today at 6pm we are less than one third of the way through the days itinerary, which was listed as 151 miles from Bordeaux to madrid. It was only this morning that anyone realised that that was distance only to San Sebastian, where we arrived at 5pm, too late for the official reception that awaited us, and with no sign of the official organiser. That's the same organiser who was too busy to listen to people tell him that Spain is more than 100 miles wide.
There are 110 lorries in this convoy, and only 2 weeks to organise it, is the constant cry, but George Galloway arrived punctually in his Mercedes in the Car Park here about an hour ago! Is that why the schedule had us arrive here so late, and ignore the drive through the night that we must now do to get to our Madrid beds, before taking off again in the morning for Algeciras.
Methinks that there must be a people's revolution to take control back into the hands of those who actually do the work!!
But team 11, the greatest team in the convoy, is learning to cope with the slings and arrows of this outrageous fortune, and building bonhomie despite the setbacks, the rescuing of broken vehicles and the chaos of the organisation. We will get to Gaza because we want to, despite all.
I'll introduce you to team 11 at my next pit stop, and especially to the drivers of the Pea, our big green Gaza machine, but right now they're calling me to get in and go to Madrid. I loved san Sebastian, or anyway its shopping centre, and the refusal of the people to speak any language but their own language Basque, and their politeness to lots of strange men in long beards and robes, with oily hands. Aiiie, life can only get better....