Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 49: The Most Shocking Vending Machine of All!

Dscn3593bSeptember 29: I woke up and, once again, got a relatively late start. I’d saw pilgrims walking past me with their headlamps in the dark, pausing briefly where I left my note for Karolina in the trail, then the bobbing lights continued on. Apparently, none of them were Karolina. Before leaving, I picked up the note off the trail and pocketed it.

That morning, the trail wound through the good-sized town of Ponferrada. The walk into town wasn’t particularly noteworthy or pleasant—at least not until I reached near the core of the town, turned a corner, and saw a magnificent castle with a drawbridge and everything! The Castillo de los Templarios. I took photos of it, then walked up to the entrance booth spontaneously to find out how much it would cost to get in. Six euros. “Any pilgrim discounts?” I asked the young, clean-cut man manning the entrance booth. He shook his head sadly. Well, six euros wasn’t really all that much, and I decided to do it anyhow. I’ve been kind of cheap so far on this trip, avoiding sights that cost money to enter, but when was I ever going to be back here again? Part of the reason I wanted to do this trail was for the history along this ancient pilgrimage route, and there had to be a lot of history at this castle! The man at the entrance booth said I could put my pack behind his kiosk so I wouldn’t have to carry it around the castle, and added my pack to several that were already there.

Then I explored the castle for the next hour or two, taking lots of photos and reading all of the displays which they conveniently had listed in Spanish and in English. Not much to report except that I’m glad I paid the six euros. It was a nice chance from just walking all day long. A distraction from my main job every day. =)

On my way out of Ponferrada, I stopped at a grocery store to resupply, then I sat down at a bench outside of it to rest a bit and eat some of my newfound snack food and a big bottle of Coke. I’d been sitting there for about ten minutes when an old lady walked up to me and asked me, “Are you a pilgrim on your way to Santiago?” (In Spanish, of course.)

I answered, “Yes, I am.” She then excitedly stammered out more Spanish, but too quickly for me to follow along, then grabbed my hand, opened it, and put in it a two euro coin. I tried to explain that I didn’t need the money, but she would have none of it and insisted I keep it, so I did. I was rather amused at the whole incident. She knew I wasn’t homeless or anything. I’m not sure if she expected me to spend it on anything in particular, but I went along and pocketed the money for later use.

Dscn3600bLate in the afternoon, the trail passed through the town of Camponaraya, when a noticed a few vending machines against some buildings on the right side of the sidewalk, and a cold drink did sound very good good at the time. Not to mention that I had a new two-euro coin burning a hole in my pocket. =) So I looked at the options in the first vending machine, moved over to the next one and perused the options at that one, then moved over to the last one and noticed one of the slots had handcuffs in them. That’s a weird thing to find in a vending machine, I thought.

I was a little slow to figure out the whole handcuff thing—until I noticed some condoms were also for sale at the vending machine. The handcuffs were sex toys! It should have been obvious as soon as I saw the handcuffs—the picture on the packaging had a very “filled-out” woman on it without any clothing at all. I had also failed to read the smaller text at the bottom of the package that said, “with two keys for the adventurous types!” (Said it in English, no less!)

Dscn3601bOh, how funny…. I looked around the vending machine some more and quickly realized that the top three rows of the vending machine were all filled with various sex toys: Dice you roll that tell you what to “do” to a partner, vibrators, and some sort of egg shaped device labeled “Masturbador para hombres.” I had no idea what that was used for, or how it was supposed to be used, and I wasn’t sure I even wanted to know. And for those who like to smoke after sex, there was even a device for smoking weed.

But the item that ultimately got my attention the most, the one that had me standing on the sidewalk with my hand over my mouth and saying, “OH MY GOD!!!!” was Storming Stella: “The sassy sheep likes it hard and takes it deep!” It was a 12” blow-up toy with a “rear love hole.” I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was around, a little embarrassed at what I was seeing. But nobody was around. I looked at the sheep again and noticed the packaging marked it as part of a “miniature series”—and I couldn’t help but wonder what other animals were part of this particular series. Other farm animals? Or would they also have included pets like dogs or cats? But then, I had to admit to myself, I probably really didn’t want to know. Whatever they were, they didn’t make it into this vending machine.

How could this stuff just be sitting in plain view for the entire world to see? How does a parent explain to their five year old walking by that the blow up sheep is not a toy appropriate for them? Good grief.

Just below the handcuffs were gummi bears. Sex toy? Or candy? Hmm…. hard call…. ;o)

I took photos—how could I not take photos?!—giggling to myself. Ultimately, I went back to a previous vending machine—the one with cold drinks—and bought a bottle of Coke with the two-euro coin the old lady in Ponferrada gave me.

I set up camp outside of town, surrounded by vineyards. It had been awhile since I’d seen vineyards—the Meseta mostly just grew various types of grain crops—and watched the sun set.




Castillo de los Templarios—my castle detour. For six euros, it was worth it! =)

The castle did have a “moat,” but it was dry!


Looking down at the entrance from the ramparts.

Some pilgrims walk past the castle down below.
(I have no idea who these people are—just that they’re
obviously pilgrims following the trail.)

The clock tower in Ponferrada.

A roundabout on my way out of Ponferrada.

A small church on the way out of Ponferrada.

Flowers in bloom along the trail.

House decorations along the trail.


The top three rows of this vending machine held
quite a surprise!

Yeah, I know, you can’t see much in that last photo.
So that’s why I took closeups! =)

The dice of love… The one on the left has “cuello” (neck) and
”orejas” (ears). The one on the right has “tocar” (to touch)
and “chupar”—which I later had to look up in my
Spanish-English dictionary since it wasn’t a work I knew.
It means “to suck.”

I was a little slow picking up the fact that these cuffs
weren’t for cops! =)

And (to me, at least), the most shocking of all the shocking
items in the vending machine! Just 5 euros, folks! =)

This was actually the least shocking thing I
saw in Camponaraya. =)

Just in case you needed a sign.

Crossing a bridge over a busy highway.


Sue KuKu said...

I would have done the same thing -- been shocked out loud regarding the sheep, then taken pictures of everything!!

strollerfreak - Mel said...

LOL...interesting vending machine! I knew what chupar was though, my nephews call their pacifiers "chupas". ;-)

clueless said...

LOL!! This reminds me of the book we saw in an airport in Denmark (or was it Sweden) called Penis Pokey. It was made of thick pages and large bold graphics like a child's book, though the size of the hole in the pokey (through which you poked get the idea) was definitely adult sized. And it was on a table in front of the store, and I thought of kids walking by going "mommy, why is there a hole in this book?" You can find the book on Amazon if you want a laugh! The book showed up under the Christmas tree later that year, it is definitely a hoot!