Saturday, July 24, 2010

Knowing me, knowing you, there is nothing we can do...

27 miles long and 8 miles wide. That's the size of Samos, a Greek Island in the North Aegean. Where we tumbled off the ferry and through a tiny Customs and Immigration office out onto the waterfront of the town of Samos or maybe it was Vathy, we're not sure since. They've grown into one another, or something. I am sure it makes sense to the Greeks, and that's what counts.

White buildings, red roofs, beautiful blue waters, olive and cypress trees.

Definitely Greece.

Luggage pulled behind us, bumping over the sidewalks, the first order of business was to find an ATM, get some Euros, and acquire some breakfast (that by this time was better referred to as lunch). We'd had a snack on board, but were pretty hungry. (Did you even know you can get a mass-produced chocolate croissant wrapped like a Twinkie? Not the best version of French pastry I've ever tasted. That and a small bag of chips. Real breakfast of champions. material, there. )

We sat down to omelets and pizza at a sidewalk cafe. The ubiquitous cats wound figure eights around us, begging for a handout. The kids and I find them irresistible, despite warnings in the guidebook that they should be treated as pests and a hazard. Mike has no trouble seeing them as pests and a hazard, and was vindicated in that belief when Bethy was bitten and scratched by this small but apparently cranky feline:

Bethy was shocked and cried more than the injury warranted. Mike tried but failed not to pull an "I told you so". I hope the cat felt bad.

But, being a cat, I doubt it. I slipped some food to the other cats and shunned this one. So there, mister cat.

I asked our waiter about how things were in Athens, there having been rioting only a few weeks before, and the Greek economy looking pretty poorly. He flushed and went from mild-mannered waiter to agitated Greek faster than you can say ya sou! After a small rant about tourism and, I believe, against the big city Grecians, he abruptly strode away to the kitchen.

When he returned he was utterly calm. Apparently all was well again, but I resolved not to ask such questions again. A band went by, why I'm not sure, but we jumped up and watched appreciatively, and the kids were swooped away by the restaurant owner, who spoke no English whatsoever which didn't deter him in the least from giving them a tour of the restaurant and some chocolate.

Off to find a taxi, we were directed to the station where the drivers stood gabbing with one another, fingering and flipping their worry beads. One kindly separated himself from the group and between gesturing and a few words named a reasonable price to drive us to our hotel. We piled in.

The road wound up the hills, past churches and tiny roadside church shrines, through a town with room in the narrow street for only one car at a time, the driver tooting his horn at each blind curb and driving well. We saw a little boy goofing off and jump from a wall that was awfully high for him. Our driver slowed and watched through the side view mirror until he was sure the boy was all right, then kept going.

It felt really good to be in a place like that.

We loved the lemon trees, heavy with their bright fruit, we loved the horn tooting, and we loved the signs in Greek, picking out the letters we know. I was a bit disappointed, though that the STOP signs were in English. One can't have everything.

Our hotel, Kerveli Village Hotel, is supposedly the first place the rising sun hits Greece every morning. This was a delightfully romantic notion and tipped the scales in it's favor when I was choosing our place. We walked in and announced ourselves and the tall, flamboyant girl behind the desk looked vaguely unsettled and said she had to check something in the office. "Just a minute, just a minute!" she trumpeted to us approximately every 2 minutes. We started not to believe her, but eventually it turned out that there was some sort of problem with our reservation.

Yes, wrong day again.

Gnashing my teeth, I went to our carefully planned calendar and checked the dates. The first part of our trip was on side one of the paper and the second part was on side 2. And, there, at the end of last week of side was the 8th of the month. And on side 2 the first day of the week was also designated as the 8th, putting us a day behind.

People like me should be banned from ever using Microsoft Excel. Obviously.

Only one thing to do in such a situation.

Fortunately the staff were accommodating despite my idiocy, and promised to have a room ready for us while we ran up a bar tab.

The peaceful surroundings, the view over the sea, with our kids wearing themselves out on the playground and the cool libations soon had us like putty, which was perfect.

Which was good, because then, in a fit of "what else did I screw up?" I checked our plane tickets from Samos to Athens and found that they were for today as well. Hey, that one wasn't me, for once. Call to the travel agent and he promised to fix his mistake. Another cocktail, feet up, warm sun and cool breezes, it all worked out.

These things usually do.


Amarant said...

Love Greece! I would love to go there one day

*Paula* said...

Again, your travels sound delightful. It's so great that you are taking advantage of your time over there.

Julia said...

When are you going to post all your stop signs from different countries? I still like the Arabic one that looks like people in a boat.

AKBrady said...

Yep. They do work out so much better with a cold beverage. Nice work.