Two weeks in Crete on a last-minute deal: from Chania and Rethymon to Iraklio, Chersonisos and Siteia, we packed it all in those 14 days!
Day 14 : 26 July 2003 : By the pool
As Ned Flanders would say: "Well, isn't this a dilly of a pickle." Our last day in Crete, and so we had to be packed up and ready to depart by 12pm. Correction, we had to be packed ... but it would be another 12 hours until we could actually go, so we were faced with a quandry - just what to keep on us for the day and what to do with ourselves in the meantime?
We had no transport for the day, and we couldn't really travel very far away, so instead we decided to stay by the pool, read books, listen to personal stereos, have a dip every now and then to cool off and generally do that whole relaxing thing that we hadn't really done so far! Honestly, how people do just that on holiday amazes me, because after a few hours I was getting more than a little bored. I needed something to add some excitement like, say, losing a ticket? Yep, that would do it.
As I sat there by the pool, it occurred to me that in my efforts to take back less than I brought with me (oops, failed there thanks to all the guide books we picked up!) I had ditched a bunch of print-outs - among them a printed 'e-ticket' for our National Express journey from Gatwick to Heathrow and back to Swindon. I went back to the apartment to see if they had cleaned the room, and they had, so I then tracked down the cleaner who had a dustbin sack full of all the apartments' rubbish in. Having explained to the cleaner what I was doing, I then delved in and tried to find the ticket, looking for tell-tale signs of our rubbish.
Now, let me just tell you a litle something about Crete's toilets (there is a connection, trust me) - despite the fact that toilets were first invented on the island, their plumbing has not been quite so groundbreaking, and as such it is inadvisable to put toilet paper in the pan, as it might clog up and cause an 'unpleasant incident'. I think you know where this is going, but I'll just summarise by saying that this policy was now providing me with a very unpleasant experience. Then, to add insult to injury, the cleaner told me that there was another bag of rubbish that she took out of the room (and I remembered placing the rubbish in there). There was a small problem though - this bag had gone straight into a wheely bin which had already been removed from the site. To use another Simpsons expression - D'oh!
Woohoo! - I remembered that the e-ticket was saved on the laptop, so all I needed to do was get it off there and take it to an Internet café to get it printed out. First of all, though, I thought it might be a good idea to have a wash followed by a swim in the pool.
George told me that there was a place up the road where I could get the print-out, so I slogged up there in the blazing midday heat, marching in time to Chime by Orbital (at over 120BPM it keeps the pace up!). I asked the manager of the taverna (where the Internet pc was) if he had a floppy disk that I could borrow - just to transfer it from the laptop to the desktop PC. No, he didn't. Mmm, perhaps I could get a print-out from my Yahoo mail? "No, sorry, the printer's not working," he said. Double damn. Then I looked down and saw a stack of floppy disks - the lying git! So I helped myself to one anyway out of principle. Who knows, perhaps the printer worked too but he couldn't be bothered to help?
I went back down to the apartments having not achieved much (apart from gaining a floppy disk by
stealth theft). So, plan B came into effect - catch a taxi down to Chersonisos and find a proper Internet café. George told us of another place that his friend runs which definitely did have a printer. Let's just hope it works, I thought.
Plan B worked. And much better than expected. With a printed ticket in my hand, I walked out of the second taverna/Internet café I'd visited today only to turn round and walk straight back in - we saw a sign outside that was advertising Charlies Angels: Full Throttle in ten minutes and then, after that, Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines. Now, if you check the date at the top of this page and bear in mind that the release date for T3 was 01 August, you can see why we decided to stay.
We got back to the apartments at around 9:30 - 30 minutes after the evening's weekly barbecue started (and which we'd put our name down for earlier). Thankfully, they had saved us some food, so we ended spending the last few hours with George, Eleanora and Babas (dad, head BBQ chef). It felt right somehow - a fitting end to another great holiday.