Antwon, The Little French Wonton:

We awoke to the sound of other pilgrims packing their bags to hit the road. As other people drank their coffees, Aria and I did a morning yoga routine to stretch out our sore muscles. We forgot to stretch yesterday and that was a huge mistake. I felt like I’d never stretched before in my life as every angle I twisted my body caused me excruciating pain. The Camino grandma tried to have us out the door by 6:00am, but we weren’t having it. She left without us in a fury, and didn’t even say goodbye.

Antione the Frenchman, from now on referred to as Antwon, was having a very rough morning. Not only had he forgotten his towel on the Camino, he also had only 200 euros to get him through the trip, no shampoo, and worst of all–temporal mandibular joint disorder, or lock-jaw. Everyone had left the albergue without him so we decided that he needed our company. He sat at the table tugging on his earlobes and saying “owieee owieeee.” We felt bad for the boy and lectured him on his diet, and coffee-drinking habits. He couldn’t even open his mouth to eat the slice of bread we donated to his hunger-cause.

He had washed his clothing in the sink the night before, but forgot to take the garments inside over night. The weather was not in his favor and the torrential downpour that happened all night long prevented his clothes from drying. We helped him tie his laundry to his backpack and dragged him out the door with us. I noticed there was a large white cloth hanging over his bag and noted out-loud, “Oh good! Antwon found a towel!” Aria then whispered to me, “No Alena, that’s his scarf…” We laughed hysterically about my misconception. He looked like a homeless man with his socks and patterned undies tied to his backpack, but at least he had his scarf.

The three of us ascended a 200-step staircase during the first kilometer of our journey. We were panting, profusely sweating, and Antwon’s grandpa pants were slowly creeping up higher and higher with every step. At summit, Antwon’s jaw unlocked and he jumped and shouted for joy, “ay ay ay ay ay ay ay,” as we watched the sunrise over ocean. We took the scenic route along the coast, and today’s journey was only around 23km long. Antwon’s feet were really hurting him, and he made it very clear to everyone around. Every step of the way he was complaining about his blisters and his poor baby toes. At one point, he started limping and saying that his feet were bleeding. We started calling him “Antwon the Little French Wonton” because he was extremely delicate.

We designated ourselves a band name, “The Scarf Boyz,” and started rapping about our trip thus far. Antwon was hilarious and his English was superb despite his obvious accent. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life before we met Antwon. I’m also not sure if he was trying to be funny, whether his accent was funny, whether the fact that we couldn’t understand each other was funny/awkward, or whether he was genuinely a hilarious dude. Speaking of dude, he was very fond of the word. He requested that we teach him all the American swear words, so of course, we politely did as we were asked. “Douchebag… This one is amazing for me, I love this one,” he noted.

Along our coastal walk, we ran into some bulls that were randomly running along the paved path. I stood near the fence in case any of them got any ideas about charging at us. Their horns were as long as my arms, and I swear they kept looking me in the eye. We stopped to take our boots off, rest our feet, and air the dogs out. A vehicle containing four Spanish boys rolled up to the intersection we were sitting by. Without pulling over, the driver parked his car, pulled out a bottle of red wine, uncorked it in the driver’s seat and shot us a wink. He brought us the wine, toasted to beautiful women and told us to drink. It would have been pretty smooth had a cop not witnessed his actions. Poor boy.

In Castro-Urdiales, we walked into town to find some dinner, talcum powder and foot-cream for the little French princess. He ran across a busy street with a red walk-sign and said, “I don’t do waiting.” There was an ice cream shop with a constant line of at least 30 people out their door. Like the other sheeple, I decided there must have been a good reason to wait in line. Burnt cream, coffee and rum flavored ice creams were an absolute necessity. It was divine, but Antwon tasted mine, spit it out and proclaimed, “Do you have no tongue?!” We talked about his future wife, Lady Gaga, and he incessantly repeated her line, “but I still have my Bedazzler.” Everything in life just seems funnier when you have a French accent.

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