Sunday, February 8, 2009

Greece, Customs, and a Dirty Foreigner

A nice, touristy picture in front of the Parthenon.

Well, I'm back in the UK now, for better or for worse. Greece was beautiful. I stayed in Patras for another day. Seriously though, that hostel was filthy. I was staying in this old little manner with really interesting looking rooms, but I swear the windows hadn't been open in 20 years. It was cold, dank, and it smelled like bus. No, I don't mean "new car scent," I mean "public bus," crusting with dry sweat and who knows what else. I put out my shirts to dry after my night in the rain... they were still wet when I left. The showers didn't have hot water. I was bundled up each night. I could continue, but let's focus on the positive, shall we?

After Patras I went to Nafplio, which was beautiful. It's this little Mediterranean town with a fortress on a small mountain and an incredible view of the coast. I seriously sat on the shore for a few hours, just soaking it all in.

The coastal, Venesian town of Naflio.

Besides that, there's not much to say. I'm back in London now. I got hassled by customs again and warned I probably would a third time after Rome. This time he was at least friendly about it, but he really didn't see a problem with what he was saying.

Jolly Man: And after Rome will you be coming back to the UK?
Me: I'm planning on coming back for about a week and a half after. I'd still like to see a bit more of the country here.
Jolly Man: Well the only way you'll see the country might be from a plane.

Really? Is that necessary? England needs to know that no American wants to become a UK citizen that badly. Tell me, if I came to England to get a wife so I can get a UK passport, why would I have left the country (twice!) when I already had a visa to stay six months? Why would I leave the country at all, knowing how hard it is to get back in? Why would I go to England when there are several other countries in the EU that can give me an EU passport with the same benefits and their customs officers aren't crazy? Why is it that I've met so many solo backpackers from the UK while traveling, yet the people at customs seem baffled that any man would travel by himself for an extended period of time without a return ticket? Is it really that worth it? If I had a chance to plan this trip again, there is no way I would have based it in England. But such is life. I've got to risk it one more time to get back from Rome.

One more note on Greece.

I did my laundry yesterday. How do I put this? I... I have never smelled anything so awful in my life. That's not true, but really, I don't think I've ever smelled clothes that collectively smelled so bad before. They stank, and I really didn't even realize it while I was there. Sure, I gathered that I probably didn't smell nice, but only if you happened to put your nose right up to my clothing and body. But I must have cleared paths with the odor I was giving off. I'm a little worried about Rome now. Should I try to do laundry while there? Will it make a difference? Maybe I should just be aware of it and stay clear of people in general.

Ah, Rome. I'm pretty excited about it. It's starting to hit me now that I'm really going. It's strange to think that I was thinking the same thing about Greece two weeks ago, and London a few weeks before that. But nothing is really ever what you expect. I'm pretty anxious to see what happens.

1 comment:

Book Look Column Author said...

take the bus up to San Polo Dei Cavalieri (yes, the Balzotti village and it translates Saint Chicken of the Horsemen). It is in the hills above Rome, close to Tivoli with the famous gardens so a great day trip. If you go into town (no hotel there by the way, only in Tivoli) go to the little town square, there is a small cafe. Just ask "Familia Balzotti?" and see if you can link up. Email if need more info if you go.