Madrid, Spain – March 13, 2010

Leslie and I were up today at 05:00.  She, Hillary, and I were in the car by 07:00.  I drove them to the Feria de Madrid.  That is where they were both helping at the Kermes put on by the Damas Diplomáticas (Diplomatic Ladies). Queen Sofía of Spain is usually heavily involved in the Kermes each year.  The event is a big fundraiser for the queen.  This year all of the profits are to go to Haiti for earthquake relief.

I dropped the women off at about 07:30.  They were there to help set up the American Embassy booth.  This is a sort of international bazaar.  There were about 60 countries involved.  Leslie told me she had heard that the people working the booth actually get to meet Queen Sofía.

After I dropped them off, I drove back home.  Tyler and I sat around the house until about 11:00.  Then we left to go back to the convention center.  As I was driving on the highway, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a cop car with its lights flashing.  At first, I thought I was going to be pulled over.  Then I noticed more cars and police motorcycles behind the police car.  I moved over one lane and they all drove by quite fast.  Prior to that sobering sight in my rearview mirror, I had noticed at every onramp to the highway there was a Guardia Civil officer standing there.  After the motorcade went by, each Guardia Civil let the queued up traffic use the onramp again.  I told Tyler I thought that was probably Queen Sofía motorcade.

As we arrived at the convention center the motorcade, which had used a different exit, was just arriving too.  We had to wait until she went in before we could go in and park our car.  After we parked, Tyler and I could not enter the building until the event opened at 12:30.  So we sat there and waited on a bench.  We saw where the motorcade was parked.  We also saw a sniper on the building across from the convention center.

Finally, at 12:30, Tyler and I went in and found Leslie and Hillary.  They were both very excited.  They had both actually gotten to meet and shake the hand of the Queen Sofía of Spain.  While Tyler and I were there, Queen Sofía was still there too.  I was able to get a photo, although it was not very good.  Who would have ever thought any of us would get to see, let alone meet, royalty from any country!

The toward the Feria de Madrid.
Leslie and Hillary working at the U.S. Embassy booth. Standing to Hillary’s right is the ambassador’s wife, Susan Solomont.
My rather grainy photo of Queen Sofía.
An “action” shot of work at the booth.
Tyler posing with some people he met at the event.
Leslie and Hillary stopping for a snack at one of the booths.
The embassy photo of Leslie meeting Queen Sofía.
The embassy photo of Hillary meeting Queen Sofía.

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