Europe | Spain – Rota and southern Spain
I was sitting in a restaurant having dinner with Crystal in Sevilla when a young american, Rusty, busted us for having Sex and the City talk, we didnt realize he spoke english. Ooops, we were caught giving up girl secrets. We went out for drinks at a bar along the river until late. Rusty is a pilot (Captain Goon, he flies C-5s) in the US Air Force stationed in southern Spain to support the war in Iraq. And, he is probably the last true gentleman around. I ended up meeting him later that week in a small hilltown, Arcos de la Fronterra, as he had time off and hanging out with an American girl I imagine beat hanging out with military men. My life is funny these days, it is so unpredictable from one day to the next. The day we met up at the hilltop church in Arcos, I had my backpack, Crystal had gone in a different direction to Ronda and I was on the road again solo. I had no clue where I would spend the night nor was I particularly worried about it. I would end up where I would end up.
I decided to go to Rota as Rusty was staying in a suite on the beach with an extra bed. This part of my trip has been completely unexpected and eye opening. I am learning about our US military while traveling abroad of all things, I am spending time on base in Rota doing everything from laundry, working out, eating at Subway’s, and hitting golfballs at the driving range. This is the last place I imagined myself to be. I am realizing how many preconceived ideas I have about people in the military. While there are a few Trainwrecks around, Ive been nothing but impressed by the others. They are smart, nice, and down to earth. Rusty has created a community of sorts with the group of military folks staying at the hotel. At 9 pm, they meet at the pool for wine. Around 10 or even later, they head out to dinner starting with the killer spanish olives that all of us love. Drinks are afterwards at the local bars where one finds tons of military guys doing what they do best, drinking til the wee hours of the night. I was thrilled when we returned one late night out and he took me out on the beach with the night vision goggles to test them out.
While they play hard, the military personnel are away from their families and friends. It could be worse, they could be in the desert like many others. They are commited, they have a job to do – they work hard so I can enjoy freedom and peace at home. I have a newfound respect for the military. For these folks, Rota, Spain is a GOOD deal and they all know it. I will drink to that!