Greece for the Day




Yesterday we boarded a ferry for Samos, a Greek island about 1 1/2 hours away from Kudashi, where we are staying.

So, we deduced that sitting up top was too sunny and hot so we installed ourselves inside the ferry for the voyage. Our seat selection positioned us to watch the drama at the bathroom door. The W.C. was located directed across from the concession so the man that sold the tea and water also took care of the W.C. Ugh. Anyway, the people who boarded must have all waited to expel breakfast until they boarded because quite a queue formed around the W.C. door. The W.C. was marked for women but that meant nothing. Men were happy to be in line. And each person took longer than the last to vacate the W.C. so the natives got restless. Finally a man reappeared from the W.C. and then no one could enter. Banging on the door ensued until the man behind the concession bar interceded with a key in hand and opened the door. Apparently there was quite a mess. A few desperate people entered and then turned around and left while shaking their head. A big burly man appear and went in and fixed the toilet then the concession man hosed the thing down before going back to tea brewing. It was a scream. From that point on the concession man monitored the usage by keeping the key and making people ask for entry.

Samos was beautiful. We had a few hours to kill so we roamed the streets until lunch time and then we found a lovely garden cafe that was really hopping. Once seated we noticed that there were a lot of Greek Orthodox priests in attendance under the big tent. Then I noticed a woman approach one of the priests and she kissed his ring. Then the priest at the end of the table whose ring got kissed stood up and all the people under the tent stood up. He must have been the grand pooh pa because he was carrying an elaborate stick and because, well, they all stood up for his departure. Looked like Congress when the President enters the chamber. People clambered to talk to him. Before he stood up he was seated with anyone and everyone who was a big deal in the military…generals/admirals and the like. As tourists, we had hit pay dirt. VIP table is the one on the left.

 

 
After splitting a Greek salad and some tea, we found a museum and spent quite some time viewing all kinds of artifacts from before Christ. This little town on this island of about 35,000 people had a really great archeological museum that they had not figured out how to cool. It was very hot inside, especially upstairs. This required a cold beer so we installed ourselves in a cafe near the water and drank. Then we roamed some more and then we had ice cream. Then we went back to the dock, boarded the ferry and returned to Turkey. The Rayman was glad he did it because he proclaimed he wouldn’t fight me if I ever wanted to do a Greek island someday. He approved.

 

 
On the way back to the hotel, we managed to get gouged by a taxi driver who wanted to take us to the airport tomorrow. Fat chance. We tried to take a dip in the pool but the pool was closed for the day…it was about 7:30 p.m. Funny rules. And then we cleaned up and went out to dinner at the same cafe we had eaten the previous two nights. We were family. Everyone in the place ran up to greet us and shake our hands…could we have been gouged there too? Probably but what the hey. It was delicious. Skewed calamari grilled again. We were addicted. We concluded our dinner close to 11 p.m. Here is the Rayman in Greece.
Greek habitat.
Octopus drying in a wire cage. Didn’t smell.

 

Huge radish in my salad above, calamari below.

 
And here we are. Our last day in Turkey. Our plane doesn’t leave Izmir until 8 p.m. and we have not idea how to fill the day schlepping luggage around. Decided to negotiate with the front desk for a late check out. We have to get a ride to airport (1 hour away). And then away we go to Istanbul. We actually tried to rent a car…too expensive because of drop off fees. We’re hopeless at squabbling so we keep paying too much and the same would be true for the ride back to the airport. But pay we must if we want to get back to istanbul for our flight to NYC on Sunday.

So this is the time where reflection becomes necessary. As with every trip we learn something. Here’s what we have learned.

1. Never do business with a travel company that is not U.S. based. Suffice it to say…OneNation travel will be receiving a long letter.

2. Be the first one off the ferry. The line for customs is likely in the sun and it takes FOREVER to get through. The 1%ers don’t put up with this. The plebes do.

3. If you don’t haggle, you’ll be sorry. We’ve been sorry too much.

4. Bed bug bites don’t necessarily itch.

5. Actually, avoid tours. Too structured, the guides are hard to understand because of accents and they cost more.

6. Avoid selling your house and then going on vacation.

7. Avoid destinations that get hot in the summer in the summer.

Things we observed include the following.

Turks drive with their horns. Tooting, tooting, tooting all the time. That’s because they drive to just almost kill pedestrians or hit other cars. It’s their blood sport.

Turks litter everywhere they go. Plastic bottles can be found everywhere on the streets along wit cigarette butts. They love to smoke. They smoke cigarettes, cigar, hukahs. They smoke indoors, outdoors. They smoke constantly. Boy, do they smoke.

Turks don’t care for Greece. Greece was playing German in the semi-finals soccer and we asked our waiter who he was rooting for and he replied, “Germany”. Oh, and the lady, Mrs. Merkel was on hand for the game. When we asked why, he replied, “I don’t like Greece.” Later Rayman reminded me that Greece after WWI took over Turkey…that didn’t go so well and the Turks revolted and got their country back and I guess relations have been rocky ever since.

The Turks don’t go overboard with safety. Trails without railings abound. Jumping off bridges allowed. They don’t stop motorists and give tickets as far as we could tell. And their building codes leave something to be desired.

Turks are often multi-lingual. We even heard one young hustler at a market speaking Japanese. They are industrious and hard working. They seem to all get along. If there is a lot of homelessness, we didn’t see it. The Turkish people are friendly and approachable and helpful.

Turkish religious women are hard to look at because it is so hot and they are so overdressed and in black. They rarely smile. The head scarf only crowd has more fun that the orthodox set but I’m thinking that is a universal truth.

So, I think I will leave it at that unless, of course, some funny thing happens on the way to the forum.

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