Sunday, July 17, 2011

The ferry from Rhodes to Crete

The ferry leaves from Akantia harbour, one of three in Rhodes Town.  It is 33°C and cloudless, and semi-industrial Akantia is hot, dusty, and shadeless with trucks and freight trailers splitting the backpackers and ferry passengers on the oily road who arrive on foot.  They’ve probably been told, as I have, to arrive an hour before the ferry departs, but it isn’t here and we all crowd into the little shade from the overhead sun that the ticket booths provide.

It finally arrives and everyone clambers aboard.  This is going to be a thirteen-hour trip arriving at 4.30am, so I scout as peaceful a spot as I can for a few hours kip later on.  Seated at the table next to me, however, is an unshaven thirty-something-old Greek bloke (Greek men all must shave with the handle end of blunt butter knives).  He is talking non-stop at the top of his voice to two wordless women across the table as if they’re on a mobile phone half a continent away.  His monologue is relentless.  Food doesn’t stop him; he talks right through it.  His voice is so obtrusive that others at tables around us stare at him.  He appears to enjoy the undivided attention he must think he commands, not realising that to disregard him is like trying to ignore a jet engine while standing on the runway.  I move across the lounge next to a family with a baby for some peace.

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