Did you ever walk into some important situation thinking, “I sure hope I don’t screw this up?”
And yes, I did screw it up. Royally.
I took the picture above to prove to a Spanish secret service officer that my camera wasn’t a gun. Moments later, when asked to empty my pockets, I realized that I’d brought my pocket knife to a meeting with the King and Queen of Spain.
Lots of things happened in short order after our mutual discovery that I’d broken a very serious rule. Things were said very quickly, and very loudly, but unfortunately, they spoke only Spanish, and what little bit of Spanish I know went out the window as soon as that secret service guy started waving my pocket knife in my face.
The only other English speakers in the area turned tail when the shakedown started. I can’t say that I blame them.
I finally managed to say, “Lo siento. Mi Espanol no es bueno.”
It seemed to help a little.
Eventually, an international incident was averted when they realized I was a jackass, not an assassin. I put the pocketknife in my car, and was allowed back in.
But this guy very noticeably stayed within arm’s reach of me at all times once the king and queen arrived.
“Dos fotos y your done,” he told me.
Nice guy that he was, he let me get off about 30 shots before I felt his hand on my shoulder.
This is the king. Forgive me for saying this, but I was a little disappointed that there was no crown.
These are the people he was there to meet — a group of Spanish citizens and nationals who live in the local area.
I include this picture, because as I was editing this afternoon, I realized that one guy was really giving me the stink eye when I took it.
One of the rules of meeting the king and queen is you are not supposed to extend your hand for a handshake until they do it to you. From this guy’s expression, I think he was worried about screwing up that rule.
That’s the queen on the left. As I took this photo, the secret service guy told me it was time to leave.
So I did. I went downstairs to find some of the non-Spanish spouses that has also been kicked out (only Spaniards were allowed into the meeting). Instead, I found our governor, Charles Crist, doing what governors do…
A guy with a disposable camera taps me on the shoulder, points to Crist and asks, “Is that the King?” I had to laugh.
“It depends on who you ask…”
As it turns out, the guy was from Louisiana, (on the left) he was in town on business and just happened to be staying at the same hotel as royalty. He wound furiously on his little disposable camera between shots of the Governor.
He did finally get his picture of the king though. And I got mine.
Not the best thing ever, but my favorite of the day. Makes me want to keep trying stuff like this. If it wasn’t for that piece of bamboo going down the middle of his nose, I would love it.