| By late afternoon, we had a car, packs loaded, and had made a run for food supplies. Now back to the internet cafe to send out an email S.O.S. in a last ditch attempt to remedy our equipment problem.
All stations (about 18 at this cafe) were occupado—we were told five minute wait. Then the connection went down. 15 min. later, just as I set out to check another cafe, the connection was back up and we were on. "Dear Dad..."
Fortunately, my dad is thorough and very capable at this sort of thing (and I think he even enjoys it as much as I do!). We spent an hour surfing B&H, cameraworld, and the like in search of a source for the part, and FedEx for info about where we could have it shipped. We came up empty on all fronts.
So we let an email message fly to my dad telling him what we needed and what we´d learned. Basically, we were asking him to acquire the part and then FedEx it to Madrid telling us where to pick it up all within one week´s time.
We let it rip and then tried once again to put the whole affair out of our minds. A quick sandwich—our first food of the day—and we were off, heading north up the coast.
That was Monday. Wednesday evening, we arrived in San Sebastian on the northern coast and scored a pleasant room with balcony in the old quarter. A flyer there advertised a local internet cafe. We didn´t rush right over, nor did we go the first thing the next day (that time was used for a much needed visit to a laundromat). I guess we had done a good job of putting this thing out of our minds.
By the afternoon, we were ready to see what news awaited us via email. We didn´t even talk about what we might expect; just an open wait-and-see attitude.
The cafe was empty when we arrived. I logged on to my email account and we scanned the subject lines. A series of messages from my dad with titles such as "Adapter", "Adapter arrived" and "Shipping of adapter". We were thrilled and astounded that he already had the part and had worked out all the details of shipping (including customs issues). He had even found a personal contact in Madrid—a former exchange student who lived with friends of my parents—to whom the package could be sent. He had exchanged email with this woman and copied us with all the particulars.
We took down the info, sent a reply expressing our glee and then turned to other email. Before concluding our 1-hour session, we received another message from Dad saying he had just returned from the FedEx office and the package was on its way to meet us in Madrid.
Four days later, we rolled into Madrid. It was one week to the day from when we had sent the S.O.S. message. We returned the car, got a room and called Fe, the ex-exchange student. The package had arrived!
Early that evening, back in our room, we trepiditiously checked out the drive. All was well—our broken link had been mended.
The last time I travelled for an extended time, none of this would have been possible. At least not without a series of expensive phone calls. Then again, it wouldn´t have been necessary because there was no world wide web—no immediacy of communication. I sent letters and postcards and no one—not even me—saw any of the photos I took until after I returned home many months later. How much of this new technology feeds on itself?