My Big Fat Greek Adventure: Part III

During one of our island hopping adventures, Rosimara and I ended up missing our ferry. We literally watched the boat leave the port, not realizing it was the one we were supposed to be on. Oops, guess the Greek sun is getting to us. After realizing what we had done, in a frenzy, we approached a man in what looked like a captain’s uniform and told him of our dilemma. “We just missed our boat and we need to get to Naxos!” we told him. “Well, there is a boat going there in 5 minutes. You can give me 19 Euros each and get on the boat”. Ok. Sounds good, we thought. So we gave him 19 euros cash each and walked onto the boat- no ticket in hand. Well, we made it to the next island no problem. This must be some sort of black market thing they have going on here, we thought. After all, it is Greece. So, a few days later, when Karen and I were traveling together, we ended up missing one of our boats as well. “Don’t worry about it”, I told my new friend. “There’s this black market thing that they do here. I bet if we tell the guy we missed our boat, and offer him cash, he’ll get us on.” “Are you sure?”, asked my dubious friend. “Oh yeah, we did it before. It won’t be a problem. Just watch!” So, we waited for all of the passengers to board. I then approached the uniformed man asking for tickets. “Oh, we don’t have tickets” I told him. “We were hoping we could buy them on the boat” (wink wink, hair twirl). “You don’t have tickets??”, asked boatman. “No”. Boatman and another plainclothes official began talking to each other in Greek. Love that! “Ok, you have no ticket?”, he repeated. “No” I told him, “The ticket agencies told us the boats were full but we really need to get over to Santorini. We were hoping that we could buy the ticket here”. (More Greek). “Ok, give me your passports”. Huh? “What are you going to do with our passports”, we asked. “Don’t worry about it. Get on the boat”. Don’t worry about it???? “What’s your name, sir?” I asked confidently. “What’s my name? You want to go to Santorini? You get on the boat”. Oy vey. What to do. After running through all the possible worst case scenarios- were they going to try to extort money from us, would they sell our passports, would they lock us up in a greek jail for trying to bribe an officer- we determined it wasn’t worth the risk. So we demanded our passports back and headed to Santorini the following day- legally. Lesson #11 learned on trip so far: Do not attempt to bribe officials in foreign countries. Lesson # 12: When bribing officials in foreign countries, DO NOT hand over your passport! More lessons to come…


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