Monday 17 September 2012

I am up very early for a day where I am not working. VERY very early for a day where I am on holiday. It is before seven in the morning – I am normally only open at this hour if I haven’t gone to sleep the day before OR it’s Christmas Day and I’m eager to find out if he’s been.

Early observation: the guy driving the coach to the boat looks like a podgier Ronnie O’Sullivan. This resemblance is not corroborated by MJEA. I wonder if he is forever flip-flopping between saying he is tired of being a coach driver and then saying he feels like the best coach driver in the world and that he could beat other coach drivers at coach driving – even driving left handed (which would annoy a Canadian coach driver).

The coach journey to the boat, taking in several hotels, is long. My main entertainment is trying to find the least imaginative name for a business on Rhodes. Everywhere is named literally. There are numerous supermarkets called Supermarket. I think my favourite is a fast food restaurant called Fast Food. I cannot fathom if this is because the businesses are owned by people for whom English is a second language or because they are owned by ex-pats who have, both, a limited grasp of the English language and imagination.

When we eventually reach the boat it is clear that the coach full of people is not the full party that will be on the boat. There are more PEOPLE. The journey to Lindos – down the East (??) coast of Rhodes – takes nearly two hours and gives me plenty of time to get wound up by the open-mouthed  passengers blindly taking pictures of the coast every time the Welsh guide Sharon mentions something about the place we are passing, regardless of the thing she is talking about is an actual thing – which isn’t visible anyway, “this part of the coast is named ‘The Knightmare Cove’ because the former ITV fantasy children’s TV show was once accidentally broadcast here by a local TV company in place of the news” cue people taking a picture of some rocks on a beach.

Happily some people cannot go more than about three minutes without a cigarette. One repulsive old man with fat ankles practically chain smokes – and chooses to dispose of his dimps by throwing them into the sea (there are some ashtrays about the boat).

I grow quite tired of looking at the coast – primarily because I can see it in much more detail when I am there – and concentrate on stuff I can’t see when I am not on the boat. This is either ugly people or the interior of a small passenger boat, though, so I read the Rhodes guidebook I have not looked at prior to the holiday or in the first five days of the trip.

There is a German couple with a young child who annoy me a bit. I am not one of those people who gets annoyed by young children crying (I do sometimes wonder why people are putting babies/toddlers through some things but that’s another story). It’s not their fault. Some parents do take liberties a bit with children though, not really anyone I know, but these parents did. The boat was quiet full. There weren’t many seats for people. They took up about seven seats that they didn’t really need. Actually what was more annoying than any of it was that the dad/man had low-rider jeans on with his underpants on show. Yes, the look is a bit confusing to me but – and this is not negotiable – if you are going to wear this look YOU CANNOT TUCK A T-SHIRT INTO THE UNDERPANTS.

I read about the history of Rhodes. At one point it says something like “the weasels came to the island not long after the invention of money.”  I realise there was a time without money and now there is money but the idea of some sudden change in these two systems amuses me. I imagine a man going into a Rhodes newsagents and picking up his daily paper and a packet of fags and turning to walk out as he usually did – without paying, before a (slightly embarrassed) newsagent having to stop the man and explain that money was invented yesterday and now he has to pay for stuff, proving it by pointing to the front of The Rhodes Recorder and the headline reading MONEY INVENTED, STUFF NOW HAS TO BE PAID FOR (WITH SAID MONEY). Seconds later the concept of credit would be arranged so the man could have his paper and tabs.

Lindos is very hot. The walk to The Acropolis makes me sweat more than running five miles in the sun. It is sunny but the walk, which we don’t even do briskly, is not five miles. The Acropolis itself is only awe-inspiring for about two minutes and forty-five seconds. It all looks too new and polished. There are also cranes and other building paraphernalia about the site meaning suspending one’s belief that I am briefly in history is impossible.

We have decided that we should eat somewhere nice and Greek. But, much like deciding to eat anywhere in Manchester, neither of us wants to be forceful about which one to go. In the end we go to the place nearest the boat – having been past about 35 other places. Having thus far resisted the lure of the chip for five days I order the cheeseburger and chips – traditional Greek stuff. The main surprise when it arrived was the lack of a bun. I take the bun for granted when I order a cheeseburger. I coped admirably without the bun but I note to myself that if I intend to order a cheeseburger in Lindos again that I will bring some buns with me.

The boat ride back is slightly surreal at first; the music that has played on the stereo on the way out plays in reverse order (so the songs went forward – i.e. they weren’t in backwards language – but they were in the reverse order) so that, theoretically, the songs we heard as passed a certain bit of the coast would be the same on the return journey as on the way here. A song I had not heard before the outwards journey (and thought was shit) was Until June by Sleepless became my favourite song ever. But mainly I was just annoyed by people.

There was an escape below deck – a big lounge. We went down there and had a bit of peace and quiet; other people were there, six or seven people strewn about asleep, looking like dead bodies. How do people sleep in these situations? I would be worried someone would rape me or – worse – steal my iPod. Both their golden slumbers and my peace and quiet were soon to be horribly invaded. By rain. Rain that forced people from the uncovered upper deck. So now a small, hot room was full of lots of damp people. What remaining comfort was in the room was quickly stamped out by the Greek captain, forcing middle-aged women into whatever spaces there were. Fortunately the rain didn’t last too long so I quickly went back up to the top deck and enjoyed some quiet before everyone else cottoned on and started ruining that as well.

As we get off (disembark? debode?) I hear a couple reminiscing about their lunch, their packed lunch from the hotel. The man has forgotten it somewhat so the woman is describing it like it with (what I can only imagine – she is describing a sandwich and a piece of fruit) excessive affection. These stirs the man, he agrees: that packed lunch was brilliant.

There is another hour on the coach before I can escape other people.

Today’s picture: fucking hell(as), it’s a flag.

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