I went to Seville, Spain for an industrial trade conference on diesel generators I sold and serviced. The factory sponsored the event, paying for all expenses except travel to the venue. At conclusion of the conference, I detoured to Brest France, to their corporate headquarters, for a factory tour.

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7, April

Sevilla, Spain

Woke up this morning still reeling from the stomach flu, but got up anyway and showered. Didn't want to miss out on anything like yesterday.

I went down to breakfast and stared at the buffet for ten minutes. There are several tables laid out each morning with worldly abundances of food. This conference has three hundred and fifty attendees from over a hundred and fifty companies, representing ninety countries of the world. They have made every effort to address the unique cultural, diet, and other needs of everyone. Of course I have to be feeling ill and even though the food looked fabulous, I don't think it's time to be experimental. OK...a little bit of pate, and some French bread, "Caballero! Une espresso por favor".

I sat down at a partially filled table, and introduce myself to the others there. Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria, and Iran. "Gentlemen, I have this estate trust that is being held by the US government valued at over $1,000,000 and can't remove it from the states until the duties are paid." "I am looking for an investor to pay the $10,000 taxes and I will share 25% for the assistance". A roar of belly laughter lit up from the tables surrounding us! Those at my table looked at me with a very cold stare. (Maybe I should run?). One of them finally spoke, I think it was Tunisia, "Can I get paid in Euro instead of dollars US?". They all smiled and shook my hand. I’m glad humor is internationally understood.

After morning workshops, I grabbed a couple of bottles of spring water and went up to my room to lie down. I'll skip lunch and take a short nap, and meet downstairs in an hour for the afternoon activities. I awoke to an awful racket outside my window; I pulled the curtains back to be face to face with hundreds of swallows that were nesting in the spaces under the large hotel sign above my window. A pigeon was pacing back and forth on my window ledge. I think he mumbled something about "the damn tourist season". It's really a beautiful sight though. Oh shit!...tourists!...what time is it?

It was 1:30pm. I had slept through the alarm and missed the busses for the city tour. Oh well, I needed the rest anyway. I went on my own un-guided tour of old Sevilla. Made a light lunch of cured meats and bread and returned in back to my room where I freshened up with a steamed towel and got dressed for the dinner and conclusion meeting. We met for cocktails and tapas at poolside on the second floor sun deck. We were treated with mini bites of meager fish, batter fried prawns, chicken brochettes, Cadiz-style pickled dogfish, and Spanish omelettas squares. They served samples of local beers, and for the first time this trip tastes of sangria de Espana. We were given a very short but heartfelt conclusionary speech from our host, and then informed that there had been a taxi strike today, and that the company had chartered busses to get us to the train station or airport in the morning. Now this doesn't sound like much, but other companies could have just left us to our own devices for transportation, but the “famillie”, would not let this happen.

We were instructed to work our way down to the convention floor for dinner. We entered back into the hotel corridor and found all of the lights out. The hallways were lined with Moorish lanterns burning candles and incense. A path of rose petals lead us downstairs, two levels, to the convention floor. The main hall was completely lit only with candles, and the walls had been draped in red velvet curtains. The tables had huge fresh cut flower centerpieces with candelabras. They served us at the door with choices of Oloroso or dry Sanlucar Manzanilla sheries. We were then seated at assigned table settings. The first course was a celery flavored double consommé. This was followed by a prawn and shrimp cocktail with a raspberry sauce, and a "Kraliner" white wine. The entrée was beef scallopini with sherry sauce, mushrooms, and jabugo ham, with a side of garlic green beans, and an "Antano" red wine. Desert was a praline tart and Café (cava) "Freixenet Excellence". The tart had a company logo, hand cast in chocolate speared on top.

We adjourned to the Corona for aperitifs, and live music from a duo who did various renditions of cultural dance songs. When they broke into a Spanish translation of "Achy, Breaky, Heart, I had to make my exit. The cigarette smoke level was choking me out anyway. I went outside to clear my lungs and found Mrs. And Mr. Virginia doing the same. They were feeling as weighted down as I was from the dinner and invited me along to stroll the avenue. We walked about a kilometer east until we came across a line of people waiting to be allowed into a flamenco club. When I went up to the bouncer to ask the admission price (in my best attempt at Spanish), he waived us right in, “no charge” he beamed with a smile.

We danced and sang and drank (something resembling a whisky) and only spent about EU 9.00. The music was spellbinding and the locals were most hospitable. When my feet were numb from the stomping, and my hands were stinging from clapping tiempo, we left our new friends and walked back to the hotel. It was then that I realized it was 3:00am. I have to be on the bus to the airport by 9:00!

I have to get at least some sleep, so Buenas tardes! Tomorrow, Paris, then Brest France!

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