My Big Fat Greek Adventure: Part II

After one of the most uncomfortable 8 hour overnight bus rides of my life, we arrived in Athens, where we spent only a couple of hours (which was more than enough) and then took another overnight ferry to Ios. There were, however, no cattle aboard this vessel- at least that we were aware. We arrived at the port of Ios around 5am, with no accomodations booked- just a hope to find a room in a decent place- and if we were lucky, one with good indoor plumbing. To my surprise, I learned that the plumbing is actually pretty behind the times here in Greece, and all of the water on the islands is salt water- coming directly from the sea. This means that you cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet. This also means that the bathrooms are rather stinky! We ended up getting lucky and booking a room at Francesco’s, supposedly one of the best hostels on the island. After attempting to go out and have a good time, exhausted and burnt out from the craziness of Pink Palace, Rosimara and I finally decided to go to the store, buy some chocolate nutella and breadsticks and chow down on the porch of our hostel, overlooking the ocean. It was the perfect night! The next day we headed over to Naxos, another island, once again with no accomodations booked, but our hopes high. As we disembarked the ship, we were suddenly ambushed by a swarm of hotel workers each competing to sell us a room in their establishment. “You want room lady? How much you pay?” “No, don’t go with her, her room smelly, come with me, I give you good price, 20 Euros”. “I do better. 15 Euros and free breakfast….” Overwhelmed and not knowing what to do, I looked over at Rosimara for help and noticed her talking to a little old Greek lady wearing a housedress and a baseball cap. It turned out that “Mama”, as she called herself was offering a room in her house/pension, for only 10 Euros each! Unheard of. She even offered us 10 Euros as collaterol, saying that if we didn’t like the room, we could leave and keep the 10 Euros. Endeared by this sweet looking old lady, we decided to go with Mama. How bad could it be? Another lesson I’m learning on this trip is that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. As we hiked to Mama’s pension, which was ‘only 5 minutes away’ (everything in Europe is ‘only 5 minutes away’), we noticed Mama stopping at several fruit stands and taking veggies, without paying for them. She explained that the stores leave out the rotten vegetables that they can no longer sell and that she was bringing some home for her chicken. Chicken??! Oh sh*t, where was she taking us? “Do you live on a farm?”, I asked her. She didn’t understand. Ok, just go with it (another motto we would repeat over and over again throughout the trip). When we finally arrived at the pension which, to our relief, was not a farm, we met Marios, a plump Bulgarian man with 3 teeth, much resembling Egor. Egor explained that he was living and working at the ‘pension’ and that he would be the go-to person if we needed anything, as Mama did not live on the premise. (Presumably, neither did her chicken). Since Mara had been feeling sick for the past week, we queried about a nearby medical center. “Oh, I can show you where the hospital is later tonight when I get off work at 11pm, and I can even take you around town then too”, offered Egor. Rosimara, looking at me with one eye blinking (did she have something in her eye, I wondered), replied, ‘Oh, my brother is coming to the island with his friends and may be meeting up with us later on.” Ah, I get it. Wink wink! Apparently Egor didn’t get it, since at precisely 11pm, there was a knock on our bedroom door. “Ok, I’m back, I can take you around town now and show you where the hospital is”. Egor. “Oh, thanks but we already found the hospital, but thanks anyway good night”. 10 minutes later, another knock. “YES??!!!”, I yelled, not hiding my exasperation. “Oh, its me again. I just wanted to let you girls know that I’m making a pot of coffee if you want to come up and have some”. Um, no thanks. I waited until I heard Egor walk upstairs, locked the door and then attempted to take a shower, which would be an adventure in and of itself. First, there was no hot water. Then, the handheld hose suddenly became possessed,jumped out of my hand and began violently shaking and gushing water. As I screamed, Rosimara called out to see if I was okay. Yup, its all good. Everything’s under control. Lemonade, I told myself, Lemonade! The next morning, another knock on the door. This time it was ‘Mama’ bringing us a plate of freshly cooked ..I don’t know what. Not wanting to be rude, we followed her upstairs to the kitchen where she served us each a plate of the mystery mush. Rosimara, looking as if she might vomit, politely excused herself, taking the plate with her. When she returned- with an empty plate- she explained to ‘Mama’ (who was deaf in one ear) that her phone had been ringing so she ran downstairs to get it, and while doing so, finished the ‘delicious breakfast’. Brilliant! Suddenly, for once, more concerned for my own well-being than ‘Mama’s’ feelings, I told her that I did not feel well and couldn’t eat a thing. “No problem”, said Mama, “I give to chicken”! That afternoon we hightailed it out of Mama’s place and caught a ferry to Mykonos, where I, Ms. City Girl, actally camped! In a tent! With bugs and stuff. Renee, you may be right. The city girl in me may be slowly slowly going, going… I have to admit that sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sounds of wild animals and fresh air was quite an experience. Of course later on when I would open my backpack only to find a giant bug living in one of my dresses, I would realize that the city girl in me still in fact lives on. (p.s. speaking of which, I miss my heels!!)


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