Monday, September 2, 2013

My Big Fat Greek Nightmare (Part One of Three)

Full time jobs with sensible career options are hard to come by in our current economy. So you can imagine that after I quit mine, in a fit of self-righteous morals, I panicked a little. Actually it might be more appropriate to say that I had a bit of a melt-down. During which I came up with highly probable worst-case scenarios.
Then, as we all do during our various crises, I turned to the master of the universe, the source of all our knowledge and the one that can answer even the most ludicrous questions.
After a while I had figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I did at least half an hour of thorough research on Google images and made sure I had a realistic visualisation of what my plan would result in. 
I was going to spend the summer on what looked to be a small Greek paradise. I would bar tend a little and lounge about a lot. I prepared myself accordingly and so it was that a month or so later I was skipping off to Greece equipped with three bottles of water-proof factor 50 sun block. What could possibly go wrong?
It was all going smoothly until we got to Athens airport and we got to see the rust-bucket that would be transporting us to the tiny island of Karpathos. 
Tactfully the air-crew attempted to distract us for the first five minutes with jellies. Presumably so we wouldn't look out the window and notice that the planes wings appeared to still be under construction.
But I was not fooled. I gaped out the window, knowing I was doomed.
It wasn't long before I forgot all about being in a rust bucket though. I was joined in my tiny seat by possibly the largest women that had ever been on the plane. I tried not to stare, I tried to give her more of my seat and be polite. I was thwarted when our air hostess came down with a seat belt extension. I'd never seen one before and the fact slipped straight from my mouth.
 We sat in the most uncomfortable silence. I thought of ways to make it up to her. Small talk about weight watchers? Maybe ask her about the island? In the end the perfect opportunity arose. We were given complimentary peanuts which my seat-partner managed to swallow in one impressive gulp. 
The way I saw it she really liked peanuts and I really didn't. So considering it a peace offering I brandished my own bag and smiled at her: "Would you like mine too?" It's probably clear to any rational person that this wasn't the brightest move. I was expecting a grateful smile and to see her impressive one-gulp-bag-of-peanut-consumption trick again. But that's not what I got, oh no, this is... 
At this point, I gave up. I sat there in awkward silence and listened to the plane rattle. We eventually landed and hysterical laughter broke out across the passengers. I'm quite glad they waited till we landed to erupt into nervous fits as hysterical communal laughter would have terrified me any earlier in the flight. We had to bus across the car park to get to the airport. It was swelteringly hot and they drove us the impressive distance of fifty meters to the small white building. To be honest I was quite relieved I was already feeling over-heated. 
I landed in Karpathos and waited in baggage collection where I was met by my boss and the chef that would be cooking our meals. 
They took me to eat at the Taverna and to meet the other brothers that helped run the business. The chef was a great big Romanian man who didn't appreciate me telling him that he sounded a little like Dracula. He went off to cook me food, after it turned out that their version of "I can cook you anything," meant " I will make you pasta."
I then sat eating my pasta in front of a row of brothers and the chef. There was one brother who seemed to only know how to grunt and sneer, my boss who rambled on about parties, his other brother that kept talking about God and Greece and then the chef who asked every two minutes "How is the food?"
I tried to remember their names, I tried to imagine who the grunting brother had murdered and why and mostly I thought about getting back on the plane. But it was only day one, so I settled for sitting there and trying not to look like this...


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