Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pirates of Paros

Brief lesson on English usage.
Arghh!!! Here be pirates matey! Arghh! I am so tired! See how flexible the word Arghh can be.

Well my brothers wedding went off without a hitch, well except for the fact that the photographer cancelled last minute and almost every relative and close friends were dragooned into being Photographer for a day (many thanks to Paul! who went above and beyond the call of duty with his excellent photography skills)

The only hitch occurred when it came time to leave the island of Paros, which is gorgeous and well worth the visit, especially if you love beaches and wind surfing. High winds throughout the Aegean meant that scheduled boat trips had to be cancelled for safety reasons. My brother became central control for all the guests as he was trying to get hourly updates as to when the boats would leave. Chaos quickly ensued as travel agencies started giving out their own advice.
Some were told that they could travel with the same ticket "after all" they said "Your boat (for which you have tickets) is trapped in Santorini, when it leaves it will pick you up as normal, but no new tickets can be issued"
Others however were told that they would have to purchase new tickets "after all you missed the boat, you need a new ticket with the new time"

All for naught however as when the boat did arrive the next day, All tickets were cancelled and new ones issued and sold within a couple of hours. To ensure a seat people were encouraged to upgrade to first class. The bride and groom were lucky, thanks to the sacrifice of the brides brother, and got tickets for the first boat out so that they could continue on their way to their shortened honeymoon.

Once on board, the situation in first class resembled "sardines in a can" as three tickets were sold for every seat. Stools were brought out for people to sit in the walkway. Meanwhile in Economy class, the situation resembled Cirque du Soleil, without the glamour as people were performing amazing feats of contortion to fit everyone in and ooze their way past if they wanted to make their way to the toilets or outside deck. Of course this was done to facilitate as many people as possible who had been stranded. I am sure it wasnt done for financial reasons.

Those left behind booked passage on the romantically named Roumilda which was to leave at 16:00. Little before 15:00 however, the brides brother discovered that an extra boat had been sent from Rafina to pick up the stranded. I informed my friends and quickly made my way to the nearest travel agents were i sought to purchase tickets. At first they denied that a boat was coming, once they realised that i knew and wasn't moving, they asked me various questions, "how did you know, Who are you? etc" Then when they saw i had tickets for the Roumilda they said that they couldn't issue me tickets as i already had tickets... I was too tired to move so when they saw that i would just sit there, they decided to sell me the tickets - at a small markup of course (28 euros is a bit off, 30 euros a ticket is a nice round number) , he leaned back, picked up 4 tickets which were lying their and handed them to me.

I shuffled my lifeless feet back to where my parents were eating, and as i sat down i received a call from the friends i had informed about the extra boat. They had been told that the extra boat would arrive in Rafina well after midnight as it would make many stops. Seeing as the Roumilda was scheduled to arrive at 22:00-23:00 they decided to stay with the Roumilda and advised me not to change the tickets.

At that moment, my parents asked me where the blood had gone from my face. I calmly hanged up the phone and told my parents that all was well. What was done was done, i would not go back to the travel agents again. As we got on the boat i noticed how few people were getting on, obviously everyone else had found out how late it would arrive, and i was with the luckless few who hadn't found out. I secretly asked the concierge what time the boat would arrive at Rafina and was shocked and relieved to find out that it would arrive at 22:00! Not the next day as my friends had been told! As the boat made its way through the rough waves, my heaving stomach was consoled by the fact the journey would be over soon.

Meanwhile the Roumilda was late in arriving. This elderly timepiece had obviously seen better days as it limped its way into Paros to pick up the hordes of stranded passages who couldn't find passage on any of the other boats. Survival of the fittest meant that the healthy and strong got seats, which is fine as it meant that old grannies got the seats over all the chain smoking, sun burnt people aged 20-50 (beware their pinches and elbows!) Its passengers suffered immensely from the sea as if Poseidon were re-enacting the trials of Odysseus. The Roumilda, after only a couple of break-downs limped into port well after 2:00 in the morning where it disgorged its dazed and bedraggled passengers.

But as my friend Paul told me, only in Greece, out of all the disorganisation, was a beacon of light as they sent an extra boat to pick up the stranded passengers to help them out. Anywhere else they would have just been told to wait in line for the next available boat once scheduled trips resumed.

Ahhh, isn't it great to be in lovely Athens again! As for me i am quite enraptured with the thought of a wedding in the mountains...

4 comments:

graffic said...

Wow!, that story is for a book :)

At least you're at home!

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Surviving Greece is a better heading for you blog..)))

CaliforniaKat said...

V, you poor thing! I was reading and reading and wondering when this Odyssey was going to end. Relax and see you when you recover

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

btw, can you put s shorter version of this on internations?
kindest