Stuck in a Spanish Bathroom
When I was 16 I stayed with a family in Spain for two weeks. It was a great experience and I’m glad for it, although the living situation wasn’t always comfortable. Their eldest son was about my age, and had spent two weeks with my family in the U.S. before we both went over to Spain to stay with his family. He was spoiled and childish, obsessed with World of Warcraft – let’s just say that spending four consecutive weeks with him was not pleasant.
I did, however, get along very well with his parents. The father was one of my dad’s good friends from work, and I had known him for a while. He and his wife were so welcoming and hospitable. We spent the first week in their apartment in Benidorm and the second in their house in Laredo, outside of Bilbao.
Benidorm is on the Mediterranean and I absolutely loved swimming there. If you stood still for a minute you could see huge purple fish swimming around your feet.
One of my funniest (and most embarrassing) memories from the trip occurred in Aqualandia, a water park there in Benidorm. I had gone to the bathroom and was trying to leave the stall when I realized the door was broken. I was stuck.
I hadn’t had any trouble getting into the stall, but there was a doorknob on the inside that I suppose wasn’t connected properly, and therefore wouldn’t open the door even when turned. I tried pulling on the top and bottom of the door to no avail. I considered crawling under, but I was in a bathing suit and didn’t want to rub my bare stomach all over the wet, dirty bathroom floor.
Finally, I stood on the toilet and looked out. A couple women gave me confused looks and I stood there for a minute trying to remember my Spanish.
I made eye contact with someone “Um, ayudame?” I asked.
She looked at me, not all that convinced that I was sane.
“La puerta,” I said. I didn’t know how to say “stuck,” however, which was turning out to be an issue.
She stared at me for a second before walking away.
Oh God, I thought, I’m going to be trapped in this stall forever all because I never learned how to say “stuck” in Spanish.
I had learned the word for “broken” at this point in my Spanish education but couldn’t remember that under pressure.
Finally, after repeated entreaties of “Por favor, ayudame,” hoping I wasn’t being rude by using the informal command but unable to remember the formal one (my Spanish suffers greatly when I’m stressed), someone walked up to the door and gave it a little push.
It swung right open, leaving me even more embarrassed than I had been while poking my head over the stall.
Naturally, I couldn’t think of any way to explain and weakly said “la puerta….” a couple times before washing my hands and getting out of there as quickly as possible.
The Laredo part of my trip consisted mostly of hanging out with a bunch of people my age who spoke too quickly for me to keep up and referred to me as “la americana” as if I didn’t have a name. Luckily, the scenery (though not my photo quality, sorry) was incredible enough to make up for that: