Here’s a quick selection of some of the shots I took whilst travelling this summer. Hopefully once I’ve got some spare time, i’ll be able to sit down, work through everything and actually put up a properly structured post. But in the mean-time, have some photos!
I know most of our trip is going to be on ferries, but when you get told the one you’ll be travelling with is brand new you can’t help but get a little excited. As we were boarding the vessel we were greeted by stewards in perfect white uniforms, a soft carpet underfoot, gleaming windows and a general feeling of “swishness”. After getting ourselves familiar with the ferry (see Sim’s Guide To Ferries), it was quickly made clear that we would be part of a very strict regime whilst on Superfast II.
“We’re going to have to leave now”. Those words are never good. I had gone indoors to find Sim when he popped his head out of a small room behind me and uttered these heart sinking words. “What? Why?” I asked. After getting lucky and mostly avoiding two strikes in the last week, it seems our luck had just run out. It turns out that they would be striking tomorrow (29th June) again over pay and work conditions. On one side of the fence is those saying they can’t just sit back and do nothing, however on the other is the fact that Greece actually has no money to give their workers. Having spent very little time in Greece all I can say is that they’re bloody inconvenient! As an outsider, it doesn’t really seem like they have much to gain from striking against an already broken country.
After doing a lap of the town walls in the horrible little hire car looking for the way in, we eventually parked up on some random roadside and disembarked from the bogeymobile. It turns out the Greeks never built towns with them being easy to find your way around in mind. We were in this labyrinth of a town called Mesta in part to get to see a traditional Greek town, but mostly to meet up with Vassilis. Originally an IT man from Athens, he decided to throw in his day job to move to the tiny town on Mesta with only 300 other occupants in order to set up an eco-tourism company. His company, Masticulture, specialises in spreading the knowledge of traditional greek culture, and in specific, Mastic.
Nothing against women in the over 40’s category, but there are some clothes they should wear, and some they shouldn’t. Its the same for both sexes and any age group, some you should, some you shouldn’t. All four of these ladies were most definitley in the “shouldn’t” team. Although that wasn’t what I noticed first. First you heard a constant irritating babbling noise, that sounded like a typewriter being kicked down the stairs, which slowly broke into Californian English as they closed in on the waiting room. One by one all four women walked through the door. Pink track suit bottoms, baby blue tight tops, bright white trainers and some very loud make-up with an attitude to match. The typical Valley Girl twenty years on.
As they walked into the waiting room, a mexican wave of head turning ran through the room as everyone there spun round to find out the source of the racket and to find out who else we would be sharing our ferry with. As I looked from person to person, the expression on each told me the same thing. At that one point, I think most of the occupants of the room were considering throwing them overboard as a reasonable course of action already.
Thankfully, after five minutes of hearing all about their various man problems and their bickering and bitchy comments to eachother, the security gate was opened. As we qued up to get our passports stamped, a sound much like a Stukka dive bomber came from the imigration control desk as all of the American women let out a sound that can’t really be written…but i’ll give it a bash. It was sort of like a “Baaawwwww” noise, but let out in one of the most horrific manners imaginable. I’ve never seen a reaction like that to being told that a passport stamp isn’t needed.
Whilst stood waiting for our turn, a couple behind us decided that this was their chance to reinstate some sort of reasonable view of the Americans. Turns out they were from the North West of the States and just felt it was important to let us know not all Americans are like the four Californians. A nice relief, and somewhat nice that they felt the need to tell us this under the worry that four of a nation of 400 million would tarnish our whole view of Americans.
It’s always quite worrying when the imigration officer makes a tutting noise as he looks at your passport and it takes that little bit longer to process. I was half expecting to be told that I’m wanted in various countries for a nice selection of crimes. Finally it all went through and I found out to no suprise that I wasn’t an international fugitive. I’m not sure if we needed it, or if it was to rub it in, but he then went ahead and stamped our passports! This was spoken about at great lengths with a raised voice and a feeling of glee when in close proximity of the Californians.
After getting our drinks from the waiter, he asked us what we wanted to eat. “Do you have a menu?” “No no. No menu” And with that he simply walked away, leaving us somewhat bewildered. From one side, I suddenly heard a flitter of English being spoken. I leaned over to one of the group speaking English “Excuse me, how do we actually order in this place?” “Ahh, welcome to the mystery restraunt. It took us a while to figure out too. You basically make it up” she replied. Exciting stuff! Plenty of pointing, nodding and broken English to be used here.
For once, there was something brilliant about the particular airline I was flying with. As I boarded the plane I was offered any seat I wanted. “Brilliant” I thought as my built in guidance systems kicked in, straight to the window wing seats! For some reason I’ve always loved to watch the wings of a plane bounce up and down as it flies. It’s almost as if I’m daring them to fall off. Not only was I given a choice of any seat I wanted, but the flight was also very quiet. An advantage of flying at silly o’clock in the morning I suppose.