Day 36: Laundry

Alright, today was another day of travel orientated stuff. If you haven’t noticed this is a bit of a theme when it comes to Greece. Nothing moves that fast for the most part, and everything of interest is spread out. Thats not to say traveling in itself can’t be fun, it just seems to occupy more time(or perhaps it just seems that way to me now that I’m getting worn out.) The saying is to enjoy the journey not just the destination right? Today I also spent a lot of money…. 147$… I’ll explain through this entry..

Ok so the chore today was to do laundry. As I had found out yesterday, it was a pain in the ass to find even a laundry place, and self service is non-existent(though all of the brochures say self service on them). Allan needed to do laundry too, so we went down to the laundry place that was closed last night, and apparently its closed until Tuesday… don’t ask why, because there is no holiday. Instead we had to give in and go to the bitchy lady to do our laundry, which felt like a defeat, and I think we paid for asking her to do our laundry before closing the night before because she would no longer consider our clothes as 2 loads, but as 3 (with mine being the lion’s share of course). But I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. All of my clothes were, well, not clean thanks to the high heat in Greece and Italy, and there was no other place that we knew of to do laundry, so I gave in and paid the most I’ve ever paid for laundry, including when I had to use the hotel laundry service in Okinawa… 20 euros… thats $26… Can you even imagine how pissed off I was? I mean thats a hotel fee, or like 4-5 dinners. I couldn’t help but think of all of the lunches or diners I skipped or skimped on to save money, only to be robbed by this bitchy Grecian woman, but I felt like I had nothing I could do… It makes me want to buy the place next to hers, buy a few coin operated machines, hire a friendly young woman to watch over the place, and have real self service for 7 euros a load, and advertise at all of the local hotels and hostels. I could not only make a fortune probably, but drive the bitchy thief of a woman out of business which would bring me great pleasure.

Anyway sorry to rant like that, but it really put a hurt on my day.

When the laundry was going I went online back at the hotel to try to sort out the rest of my plans. I had managed in all of 2 hours the previous night to book my ferry to Naxos and a hotel for two nights for about 30 euros a night. Today I tried to finish the rest of the plan, to get a ferry to Rhodes. Ah but here is the problem I discovered. There is only one ferry going from Naxos to Rhodes, and it leaves at 6am, and arrives at 11am the next day, plus there is only deck passage.. So not only is it long, but it would be incredibly uncomfortable… I’m also running low on money. I looked at what its going to cost to fly home from Athens, and I get prices like $1200. I have $900 budgeted, so that scrapes $300 off my budget that needs to be set aside for the flight home. Its looking increasingly hard to get to Rhodes. I did some rough math in my head. I’m left with $200 wiggle room to be within my budget, so I’m not feeling totally broke, but very very very close to it(I do other money set aside outside of travel). I really wanted to see Rhodes though, so after struggling with my feelings of wanting to see Rhodes, my feelings of running out of money, and the difficulty in getting out to see the stuff I want to see, I’ve decided to just fly home after Naxos. It’s really sad because there is so much I want to do here in Greece but I just don’t have the money to afford travel here. I’m determined to come back one day. So I booked my ferry back to Athens from Naxos on the 26th, and fly out later that evening. I’m scheduled to arrive back at LAX at 5:20 PM on the 27th. If I spend what I plan to spend I will have not spent $300 of my budget, but that really isn’t enough to go to Rhodes and back to Athens and what not I don’t think, and that also needs to cover my living expenses for the next 4 days as well. I also will have a 12 hour layover in Istanbul, but during the night so I can’t even go about town and explore the city, I guess I’ll have to save that for another trip someday. The annoying part is its too short too to go get a hotel room and be back in time since the plane leaves Istanbul at 9am, I would need to be up by 5, so I’m just going to nap in the airport I guess, or watch some TV on my laptop or something.

Ok so enough about planning pains and money trouble of mine and onto the rest of the day. As it turns out I wasn’t the only one feeling the pinch, Allan was having a much worse time.

Allan has been planning to go to Germany to spend some time with a girl her met in Italy and to see the country with a guided tour of sorts, but apparently going to Greece maxed out his bank card, and he couldn’t make the plane reservation. Whats worse is he couldn’t even withdraw money for food, but he didn’t realize that he couldn’t take out the last $80 until after we had already paid through the nose for laundry, which left him in about 8 euros in cash as the only money he had. He had called his parents and asked for them to wire him some money, but the banks are closed on Sundays in Mexico, and although they had done it online, the money hadn’t yet been transferred. So here he is, in Athens with not enough money for even a cheap hostel… I was hungry, so I lead us to a Souvlaki place for lunch, and after having such great company for the last few days I felt bad, and even though I’m worrying about money myself I bought 7 sticks instead of the 5 I was planning to eat, and made Allan take 3. I also decided that if he needed the 8 euros to get a room for the night at a hostel we found him, I would donate the money. Luckily when we got to the hostel they said it was okay to pay the next day but took his passport as insurance. I mean I kinda feel bad for the guy because not only is he not able to book his plane flight and more or less stranded in Athens possibly until the 26th, but he didn’t even have enough cash left for a cheap dinner. I’m sure glad America is so big on credit and I have a huge credit limit so I’m safe knowing that can’t happen since my credit limit is so huge, though I’m deathly scared of running up a bill I would have trouble paying, or worse someone else running up that sort of bill on my card if its stolen.

Allan and I said good bye and I headed off to Piraeus to catch my ferry. On the way in a near empty metro car this couple sat right across from me. It was so weird, because no one would intentionally violate their own or someone else’s personal space without need. I was especially on guard to protect my valuables. Leaving the station I got my ticket at the office a good hour before boarding and two before departure. The ferries are huge catamarans that really do live up to their name of high speed ferries. They cost a lot, 53 euros for this particular trip, but there are no slower ferry options on the dates I wanted to go with seats available, so I was stuck with this, though not all too unhappy. The ferry idling in the harbor goes like 10 knots, and at full speed feels like 50 or maybe 60, though its hard to tell since you’re so high up and water moves and what not. I have to say though the sailing here in Greece seems amazing. I was told today was rough, and it was so very smooth compared to even sailing from Long Beach to Catalina, plus there seemed to be a nice breeze, a boat we passed had a full spinnaker. I would so love to come back to sail Greece one summer, either as a crew, or perhaps with a boat charter with friends or family. Apparently a 28′ sail boat with 6 berths goes for about $1000 a week. Though crewing on a bigger boat in exchange for them paying for food, and perhaps some spending money would be a good deal. I read that if you hire a skipped with the charter thats another $800-1000 a week. I’d be happy with 200, so maybe ask somewhere in between or figure out whats reasonable.

On the ferry the F1 GP of Germany was on, so I watched as the championship battle got a lot closer with Alonso taking the win, passing Masa with a handful of laps left as rain fell on the circuit. Hamilton meanwhile though leading the points failed to score any today, bringing the two rivals a lot closer together.

I also met a nice Dutch man on the ferry and we talked the entire 5 hours on the ferry about various things, though a lot of the conversation was a bit of a cultural exchange, discussing the differences between our countries and what we like and dislike about each. He also was really kind and paid for my drinks, 4 beers in all, which was probably close to 10 euros in total. I think he didn’t want to drink alone, and realized I wasn’t about to spend the money. I hope I run into him again over the next couple days here on Santorini.

When we arrived I said good bye to the Dutchman and found where I was supposed to meet to be picked up by the hotel driver. I’m surprised that they provided shuttle service when you arrive for free when the rooms cost 26 euros a night. The room isn’t bad, its a ways from anywhere so buses are needed, but its between the two major things I want to do, swim at the black pebble beaches to the south east, and see Thira and Oia to the west and north west, with buses close by. The bed is a bit lumpy, but the room has AC, and a mini fridge which will be nice if I can find a grocery store to buy some drinks at.

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