Monday, June 7, 2010

EAT YER HEART OUT I;M IN CRETE




In at the deep end one might say. The bus station in Chania is definitely a workplace, not a spot where tourists are cosseted, bit their baguettes were fresh and the capuchino delicious. Greek artisans and American back packers drifted in and out. A Greek Orthodox priest presided at a table for one, his grey beard and black robes dominated the room.
The lady behind the ticket counter sold me a ticket to Kastelli, which is what people here call Kissamos, its full monicker is Kissamos Kastelli. She indicated the left luggage office, and I deposited my bags there with a nice Greek young man who refused to charge me because I was only leaving them for an hour.
Next task, I needed to buy a mobile phone to call Ian in Kissamos to tell him his next tenant had arrived. How do you find your way through a town where the footpaths are almost non existant, the traffic drives on the wrong side of the road and all the signs are in Greek? Easy, you read the signs, I walked around the streets outside the bus station searching for signs that said vodaphone, nokia, samsung and found a cosmote shop which sold an artay of mobile phones and which had a VISA sign on their door. It looked like a family business, father or elder brother sat behind the cash desk, pretty young sister, who spoke English kept out of sight until I proferred my card in payment. The young man who helped me choose a phone was in his early twenties and he spoke adequate English as long as we did not stray off the 'multi function, global roaming, call waiting'words that explained the technology. But he was incredibly patient as he taught me how to use the phone to make calls,
when I proferred my visa card in payment he referred it to big brother at the till, he summoned pretty sister, showing her the card and delivering Greek words at machine gun speed. Little brother asked for my passport which pretty sister photocopied,then brought the copy to me.
├Łou will write your father's name here.'she instructed, pointing to the photocopy of my passport. My father? He died fifty five years ago. no matter they wanted my father's name. I wrote it and stone face big brother picked up his telephone and sprayed whoever was on the other end with a fusillade of Greek. Only after he hung up and nodded did little brother insert the sim card in my phone. attach it to a pretty green neck ribbon and complete the transaction.
Back at the bus station I collected my bags and went looking for the Kissamos Kadterlli bus. I knew how it looked in Greek but none of the buses standing at the platform were going there. Finally the man in the enquiry booth pointed across the yard, behind another bus.
So I reached Kissamos, could not get the phone to work, and sat on a bench outside the museum to work out my next strategy for locating my landlord and more important the Villa Joanna where I would be living. A few minutes later my phone started playing Vivaldi very loudly. My efforts to use the phone had left my number on Ian's phone. He arrived five minutes later and here I am, settled in this lovely Cretan cottage.
More about this to-morrow. stay tuned.

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