Hitchiking on a fish truck to get back home - Saturday, September 7, 1991

Saturday, September 7, 1991

We finally boarded the ferry and we quickly fell asleep. We arrived at Refina and Anne and I, two gay guys she met, four British, three other Americans were stranded along with one Greek woman. It was almost 0400 and the people at the ticket office had lied to all of us. There were no taxis and the place was deserted. We went to this food stand and asked this kid to call a cab for all of us. He said it was pretty much impossible to get a cab to go to the airport at 0400. The cab drivers don’t want to drive that far. Everyone was complaining because the people at the ticket office had lied about the cabs, the travel time and easy access to the airport.

The Greek woman even tried calling a cab, but she seemed to strike a nerve because she was screaming at the guy and told us she couldn’t believe her people have done this to visitors of her country. She was just as mad as us and seemed to be embarrassed about the whole thing. We were all desperate so we were trying to convince anyone with a car to take us to the airport and we would pay them for the ride. Basically, we were hitchhiking at almost 0400 in the middle of nowhere!!!! The three Americans ran across the street and up one block to stop this car and they got a ride. I left Anne with the others and tried to do the same, but no go.

This guy in a pick-up truck came by and said that if we were still there in about 45 minutes he would take us. At about 0440, the guy in a pick-up truck stopped to get us. All of us, but the two gay guys made it. It was Anne and the two Brits in the back of the truck while the two British girls sat inside. He was driving like 60 mph and it was freezing. The back of the truck was full of packed ice with fish so it was all wet. We were dying to get to the freaken airport. I had visions of us flying across the road and getting killed. After 35 minutes which seemed like days passed, we got to the airport.

The place was packed. I had given the guy 3000 DR and kept 650 DR for the bags we had in storage. Anne went to check with LH and I went to go get the bags. I got there and it was actually 780 DR because it was six days not five. I had to go back to get money from Anne. She only had a $100 bill so to get change was the biggest hassle because we only wanted a couple hundred Drachma. I got the guy to change only $10 so it was fine.

LH said NO! We could only buy a student ticket. As I went to get all the bags, Anne tried with every airline (LH, KLM, BA, and TW) to at least get to London or Frankfurt. Finally, good ole Olympic Airways came to our rescue for the second time on this trip. They said we could buy an ID75 on their non-stop ATH to New York flight for about $200 each. We decided to just do it because the PA flight ATH-FRA-JFK on Sunday was completely booked and we would probably have to buy a ticket in FRA anyways. And if we waited, we would probably have to overnight in LON or FRA and it would costs us about $200.

We got on the flight at the last minute and left to the good ole U. S. of A! We were tired, but happy. Two nights without a bed. The flight was OA425 and it left at 1145 and arrived at JFK at 1430. The flight was good, but we had to sit in the smoking section and it smelled like shit. After we arrived, we went through customs with no problems and caught PA2157 to MIA at 1600. It’s 1710 and Ana wants to write something in MY journal.

“FORGET IT,” she writes in large kid-like letters.  We sat in the last row of non-smoking Coach class, which means you got all of the smokers right behind you! She’s pissed about the smoking section and she has the balls to be telling those around us not to smoke in a smoking section.

“We’re going home…we’re going home.”

Winding down in Mykonos - Friday, September 6, 1991

Friday, September 6, 1991

When we arrrived at the port in Myknos it was 0315 and we expected people to be waiting for us with hotel rooms, but we were sadly mistaken. Everything was either booked or closed and no one was waiting for us. Only the disco at the port was full of drunk dancing people. We wanted to get a cab, but the driver said it would be better to wait until morning to find a place. I’m really not that tired, but a little cold and hungry. It’s 0344 and we’re sitting in the harbor with other lost fools waiting for daybreak. We found a small café in the harbor with some tables and chairs. We organized our little area and sat back to play another round of Scrabble.

1            LINDO – 14
1            VALET – 16
2            WENT – 15
2            LOOT – 6
3            GLEE – 10
3            ROUTE – 12
4            HAG – 11
4            PEAR – 7
5            ONE – 6
5            EASE – 8
6            WIDE – 16
6            MOUND - 16
7            LEASE – 10
7            BOY – 16
8            WRATH – 16
8            CASA – 7
9            WINE – 14
9            APPEAR – 27
10         SWINE – 16
10         VINE – 15
11         BAGS – 14
11         OUST – 5
12         BYE – 16
12         FIG – 9
13         OUR – 3
13         RID – 10
14         IDIOT – 8
14         JET – 20
15         PASSED
15         TEA – 5
16         SEND – 12
16         DIPS – 21
17         TEAK – 10
17         HE – 9
18         AX – 9
18         AM – 4
19         OR – 3
19         – 16 for R, C, Q, I, R
20         POT – 9

21         NO/GO – 7

22         –11 for Z and L

TOTAL:  208

TOTAL:  197

Ana won again, but it looks like I am catching up. All I know is that at this exact moment I am freezing my ass off. Finally, the café opened and we had our usual nescafe and croissant. We felt a lot better. After we saw a pretty cool sunrise, I wondered the streets looking for a cheap hotel. For some reason, all of the hotel prices were expensive which reminded me why I did not like Mykonos too much. I finally got a hotel room for 5000 DR called Hotel Alex. The name clinched the deal for me and convinced me it was a good choice. The guy drove us up the hill passed the hotel I stayed at the first time.

It was white with the green shutters and it was a nice, small hotel. One big problem was that we had to walk up a million stairs. Thank God they had a luggage elevator. After we got our room, which was spacious with an incredible view, we settled in and walked down the mountain and rented one big moped. Ana was scared to ride behind me because the moped could easily flip, but I insisted on renting just one. We rode around to some beaches and as we were going up one hill, I wanted to change to first gear and the thing got stuck and we “popped a wheely” and Anne fell back as I held the bike with one hand so it wouldn’t hit anything. I took the key off and bike fell and the headlight broke. Ana scraped her knee and hurt her left foot. I felt bad, but I didn’t do it on purpose. Ana refused to ride the moped again so she spazzed and insisted on a car. We found one for 10000 DR. I didn’t want to, but…

She followed me back to the moped place and I returned it. I had to pay 500 DR for the moped and 1500 DR for the freaken headlight. It sucked, but now we had a car. Ana drove a bit up this hill and the roads were not very good so she spazzed again and she wanted to return the car. I was real upset and pissed, but…We returned the car within 20 minutes and the guy charged us 5000 DR, but Ana’s going to dispute it with the credit card company big time (She better!). After we dropped off the car, we took a bus to some beach and decided not to get off and go to the Olympic Airways (OA) office. We were frustrated because we spent 7000 DR on bullshit and we wanted to leave.

We booked flight to ATH in the evening and checked PA, LH, OA schedule from ATH to FRA. PA didn’t have flight so we had to try to catch a LH flight at 0535 to FRA to get the nonstop FRA-MIA on PA. The only problem was that we had no LH ticket so we basically have to beg so they could let us on the flight. We didn’t buy an OA ticket from Mykonos to ATH to see what we were going to do. We went to the ticket office and found out that there was a ferry at 2230 to Athens’ Refina port. It was not Piraeus which is the main port, but it was the same distance to the airport. We were told it was only a 3-hour ferry ride and that there would be taxis galore waiting for the ferry passengers. We decided to do the ferry because it was cheaper and we didn’t have to spend money on a hotel in ATH. Also, we had more free time to roam Mykonos, shower, and pack for the flight home.

We then ate and walked around the little streets. It was good to forget the horrible day we were having and we discovered there was a Hard Rock Café on the island. We caught a bus to it and it was closed. They allowed us to go inside and have some soft drinks. It was about 1645 and it opened at 1600. They told us it was owned by a Chicago-based company and it was only three months old. Grace Jones and Pete Townsend attended opening night. Also, the British band Curiosity Killed the Cat played on that same night. It looked like all the other Hard Rocks of the world and most of the stuff was from the Beatles. There was a U2 Joshua Tree platinum album frame. The place was nice. On the top of the doorway it read: ACROPOLIS OF ROCK. We took the bus back to the city and walked around some more. We had something to eat, watched the sunset, and took a bus back to the hotel.

We told the guy at the hotel that we had an emergency in the U.S. and we had to leave early. I told him I would pay for full night and he was cool about it. After we showered and packed, Ana and I sat on the balcony. Anne started to cry because it was over. The whole trip was going to be over and we had to get back to LIFE and back to REALITY. She was sad because the opportunity to fly off on a moments notice or to fly free at all was going to end. We were confident things were going to be fine. I calmed her down and comforted her.
I forgot to write that I had called Aya earlier in the day and that I was probably going to go home the next day and that I was tired of being tired. That’s what I told Anne and that we needed to get back. We have some degree of responsibility or at least I have this huge one that I must live up to. When I get back home, if Pan Am isn’t waiting for me with open arms, I am ready to move on. It’s time. I’ve seen more and been to more places that I could ever dream of, but then again if a job is waiting for me at another company or at Pan Am, I will take it. Also, going to F.I.U. first thing on Monday morning is another option. Perhaps, I could finally finish. I know I will finish that so it doesn’t worry me if I do it the following year. Anne was still very upset, but how can I convince her that everything was going to be OK? What if it is not? Then what? All you could do is take this experience that we have shared with each other and our friends and treasure it. It was unbelievable what we accomplished and what we saw. Nothing will ever come close to it in terms of experiences and that is something that I will always be grateful for.

What I meant by telling Aya that I was tired of being tired was that I need to be in one place long enough so I could eat and sleep properly. I would continue this trip through December, but there were many things left undone back home. This trip and experience was one of the best if not THE best. I saw and learned so much. Just the Russian situation was worth it. It was incredible that I was there and that one day I would tell my grandkids about it.

Maybe that’s one thing I wanted in all of this. I want to be able to say I did something completely irrational, unexpected, crazy, and lived through it. It’s something big and I know it will stay with me forever. On this trip, I saw the Soviet Union, Czechoslavoskia, Turkey, Egypt, and Greece. It’s something I will carry with me forever. Also, being with Anne 24 hours a day for over 21 days wasn’t too bad. It was great waking up next to her and falling asleep next to her. This was trip was good and bad for us. Bad because we fought over little things, but good because we still talk stupid, we experienced each other 24/7, and that I love her. It’s amazing to sit on the balcony with her and feel like we are supposed to be there together. It was great. It seems like I am concluding this journal, but the trip is not over.

Off to Mykonos via 10-hour ferry ride! - Thursday, September 5, 1991

Thursday, September 5, 1991

We woke up at 0700 because the ferry to Paros was leaving at 0900. We had the front desk guy knock on our door to wake us up. I went downstairs and paid the bill (26,000 DR). After that, I went upstairs to wake up Anne so she could get ready as the bus was leaving to the port at about 0810. As she got ready, I remembered a dream I had the night before. It was awesome because Mom, Dad, Aya, Pepin, and Pe and other family members I could not figure out were preparing for Abuelo Pepe’s anniversary visit. It was going to be the first time since he died in 1986 as we were excited. A big meal was being prepared at Aya’s house and we were just waiting. He came through the door and he looked so young. I know it was him, but he didn’t look old. He looked like how his father looks in the picture in Aya’s room with the dark glasses and all. It was freaky, but we were all so happy. He talked about what he did up in heaven. He looked for things to eat, to do, etc. It wasn’t hard because everything was there to be had, but he loved to look. Aya was sitting next to me and he in front of her. She had her head down and she was holding his hand. She couldn’t believe he was in the same room with her. I then woke up and had this incredible feeling of peace and a feeling that Pe or Aya had had the same exact dream. I will ask them when I get back.

After Ana packed, we went downstairs and the same old couple who took us to the port yesterday took us again. They spoke no English (and us no Greek), but she seemed to be telling us through hand gestures and grunts that they were married and happy. They smiled a lot and he honked and said hello to everyone. I guess he was very popular and she seemed proud that he honked and greeted everyone. They dropped us off and we sat down to have breakfast: nescafe and croissant.

As I sat in the café, Anne bought postcards and stamps and was told the ferry was delayed until 1030. All the ferries we had taken on this trip so far (2) have been delayed. It’s not such a good sign. Maybe someone does not want us to leave. I love this place. I would buy a house here and live the summers in it. Imagine a villa in Oia and everyday waking up to the most incredible views in the world. I have now named this my favorite place in the world for two reasons: peacefully beautiful and dirt cheap. It seemed like I didn’t leave since the first time I came. Everything is the same except that I am with Anne which is better. She looks good with her honey golden tan. I said to myself, I will come every year for the rest of my life. If not, at least every couple of years. This place really gets to me in a good way.

The ship finally came about 1045. We boarded and said in the comfortable Pullman seats. It’s 1130 and we’re about to begin our first game of scrabble. I predict that I will WIN WIN. Ha! Ha! Ha!

1            CARD – 14
1.    TRAINED – 16
2            TIE – 3
2.    FUNK – 13
3            TAX – 20
3.    REPENT – 14
4            QUIT- 24
4.    LEAN – 8
5            OUZO – 42
5.    HALO – 21
6            RUSH – 7
6.    NIP – 10
7            PEW – 16
7.    MAYOR – 20
8            MOVE – 36
8.    DRAWL – 26
9            EEL – 6
9.    EGG – 15
10         GRAY – 36
11         DO – 7
11.  DYE – 8
12         ALSO – 12
12.  EVE – 18
13         SNIP – 12
13.  BRUSH – 20
14         BAD – 12
14.  ICY – 16
15         GEL – 12
15.  HEY – 10
16         OF – 5
16.  OIA/ID – 8
17         STRAINED – 18
17.  BINS – 18
18         BUNT – 21
18.  TROT – 5
19         JET – 10
19.  NO – 4
20         TIE - 6
20.  MY – 11
21         IT – 4
21.  WIT - 12

TOTAL:  327

22.  C - 3

TOTAL:  273

Anne won! We finished the game at 1324. The game lasted almost two hours. We haven’t arrived in Paros yet, but we are patiently waiting. I am back and we’re not going to Paros today! The ferry stopped, but we waited too long and it was too late to get off. We thought the boat was still moving and thought we had more time. Anne and I ran downstairs and we got there just when the ship was pulling away from the port. It royally sucks, but what can you do. Anne felt bad and wanted to wait to not get stuck in a line in the car holding area where it is really hot. The ferry is going straight to Athens and we have not decided on what we are going to do. All I know is that we’re going to play yet another Scrabble game.

1.    FIB – 16
1.    PINTO – 11
2.    AT – 2
2.    SHIP/IF – 26
3.    PASSED
3.    ELATE – 9
4.    LASH – 11
4.    GEMS – 14
5.    FIBER – 22
5.    VIXEN – 30
6.    BURY – 133
6.    WASH – 18
7.    MOVED – 22
7.    YIELD – 18
8.    QUIZ – 44
8.    SET – 4
9.    VOW – 18
9.    ERA/OR – 7
10.  DAB – 12
10.  KNELT – 10
11.  DUG – 10
11.  INK – 14
12.  RIM – 6
12.  ACE – 10
13.  LEND – 10
13.  TONED – 8
14.  NAP – 10
14.  DOPE – 14
15.  TO – 6
15.  TRIM – 7
16.  RINK – 16
16.  CAR - 9
17.  CART – 10
17.  ON – 2
18.  GURU/ARE – 16
18.  SHRINK – 24
19.  LID – 4
19.  AWARE – 16
20.  OR – 4
20.  JAR – 11
21.  TOY - 3
21.  OAT – 9
-3 for G & U
22.  IN – 4

TOTAL:  281

TOTAL:  274

Ana won again. I have no comment, but that this was boring because the words were short and all the letters were bad. Well, we arrived in ATH at 2000. We ran to the ticket office and bought a cabin (#106) on the next ship to Mykonos. We bought food and coke and went on the ship. I cannot believe we are going on another ferry in the direction where we just sailed from, but life is good! The cabin was great: nice beds, pilllows, shower, etc. The ship’s name was DIMITRA and it stopped in Silos, Tinos, and then Mykonos. We slept the whole way.