DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

Cruising to Mykonos

The alarm went off at seven, and I snoozed it twice at 10-minute intervals. I got up at 7:30, showered, and finished last minute packing while Robert showered. We were definitely dragging ass this morning.

Steve, Hector, and Mark were down at breakfast already when we arrived, and after we’d eaten some, Adam came down and joined us. Eventually, Andrew and Mark trickled down.

We checked out at 9:00, and shortly after that were on the bus to Perais {look this up}, the port city where we got in line to board the “Mts. Triton,” a Royal Olympia cruise ship. This was a last minute change to our itinerary; we’re just “using” the ship as a transport to Mykonos. Everyone else getting on the ship is going on a cruise, of which Mykonos is the first stop. This was obviously a “straight cruise,” as evidenced by all the couples in the line. Except of course for this gap of 13 guys, to which the ladies tagging our bags said, “So what is with all these guys?” No one said anything, and then she added, “Where are all the women?”

“Oh we won’t be needing them,” I said. Laughs all around.

“Oh!” she said, getting it, “Better yet!” More laughs.

We boarded, turned in our passports, and made our way to the “public areas” on deck 7. We sat on lounge chairs overlooking the pool, which was not filled, and waited to set sail. That’s where I am right now catching up this journal. We got up here at about 10:15; it’s 10:45 now, and we set sail at 11:00. It is unbelievably windy on this deck. I’m going to enjoy the sun now. We set sail at a little after 11:00, with the help of a tugboat pulling the ship away from the dock.

As we left port, everyone was ordered to return to the cabin, retrieve their lifejackets, and report to their muster stations. Since we didn’t have cabins, we watched as everyone slowly made their way to their respective stations. Though the announcements said it was a mandatory drill, we didn’t think we had to participate since we had no cabins to which to return to retrieve anything. We were directed to meet in the Brazil Lounge in case of a real emergency.

However, after quite a while, a crewmember came aboard our area and directed us to the Brazil Lounge now to participate. The lounge contained probably about 25 or 30 people who were obviously “day passengers” like ourselves, and we watched another crewmember demonstrate the features of the life jacket for us.

This whole activity was more drawn out than it might have been as each set of instructions were first relayed in Greek, then English, then Spanish, then French, and then Japanese. I found myself wondering if we’d be expected to drown in that order as well.

“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, please stay in your places at your muster station until the inspection is completed by the crewmember.” I found myself wondering if this wasn’t the origin of the idiom, “That’ll never pass muster.” I remember having this same thought in 1999 during the drill on our Greek Isles Cruise on the Renaissance Cruise Line, in which we were participating passengers.

We had full access to the ship during the day, which included the choice of a buffet lunch in one dining area, or ordering from a menu in another restaurant on the ship. Robert and I opted to eat at the restaurant, and were the first to be seated at a table for six.

A few minutes later, a couple was escorted to our table, two women, Aussies, who while being seated, were announced by the host as, “More English-speaking people.” We exchanged hellos, and got right to the business of reading the menus. Shortly after that, our last tablemate arrived, a quite heavy woman in a moo-moo dress.

I thought she was the same lady we had seen below as we looked from the deck we were on, whom Robert pointed out by saying, “Nice moo-moo dress,” and to which I had responded, “Emphasis on the moo.” Robert said she wasn’t the same one.

The first thing she said to the group was, “How many courses have I missed.” We told her, “None, we’re just about to order.”

The menu was vast with a choice of an Appetizer (a Waldorf salad or tazhitzi (sp?); choice of a soup (either minestrone or cold banana soup); a choice of a couple of kinds of salads; a choice of several entries such as canolli(sp?) stuffed with cheese and spinach; a vegetarian version of the same, though that already sounded vegetarian to me; a burger of (sic) with cheese; some kind of fish, ocean perch, I think); and possibly a one or two other entrée choices; and a choice of desserts. Bread and butter were also available.

I ordered the cold banana soup (I’m a banana fanatic, and this sounded way too intriguing to not try), the salad, the cheese and spinach canolli, and vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Robert and I loved the waiter, who was an older gentleman with a wickedly dry sense of humor. When he got to the moo-moo lady, she asked, “How many items can I have?” He said, “Everything on the menu’s included.” She ordered something from every category.

After our order, she said to the ladies, “You two are Aussies, I presume.” The confirmed her keen ear, and then she said to us, “What about you guys?”

“We’re from the States,” I said, “from North Carolina.”

“It’s not a place to brag about being from you know. We’re not well liked around the world right now.”

“Yeah, well I’m not going to hide where I’m from. I’d rather be an ambassador for our country than deny I’m from there.”

That shut her up for about two minutes, before she went on about being in Egypt for a week or two, including a 3-day cruise down the Nile.”

“Where did you stay there?” one of the Aussies asked.

“Oh, first class places, at the [such and such], in the shadows of the pyramids.”

:”Oh yes, I’ve stayed there, that’s such a beautiful place.”

“I’ll never go there again at this time of the year though, it was in the 100s, several of the days, and the air-conditioning in the hotel didn’t work as well as some of us would have liked it to. I actually had to decline on a couple of afternoon events some days, because it was just too hot.”

She asked the Aussies where they’d been, and they responded that they’d been in Morocco, and then Spain, over the last 12 days.

“I’ve been to Morocco,” moo said.

The Aussies told how when they were leaving Morocco to go to Spain, three children had crawled up under the bus in an attempt to leave Morocco. They discovered them, I think she said, after they had gone a small ways. “They were just covered with grease from being up under the bus,” she said. “It was very disturbing.” She said they told them that another kid had made it all the way to Spain in a previous attempt.

Moo asked us something about the rest of the cruise or something, to which I replied, “Oh we’re only here for the day; we’re disembarking at Mykonos.”

“Are you two hairdressers?” she asked which about made me fall out of the chair.

I wanted to say, “No, lucky for you, we’re not, Missy.”

There was a lot of silverware on the table, and both Robert and I were grabbing them rather randomly. I know you’re supposed to start at the outside and move in, but there were so many, and we weren’t having all the courses, so we just grabbed one from wherever we felt like it.

Between one of the courses, that fabulous waiter, rearranged Robert’s silverware, moving some fork from the side to the top, as Robert said, “I didn’t know which one to take.” He replied, “Just don’t take one from the top. It drives the waiters crazy.” Something to that effect, which cracked us up.

We returned to the deck we had staked out, but eventually Robert and I moved into the Brazil Lounge because of the extremely windy conditions, which was causing us to be sprayed with seawater on the deck. And it was cold.

In there, I started addressing my postcards, so at least that part would be done when I went to write them. The rocking of the ship was much more obvious in here than out on the deck for some reason, and after about 15 minutes, I started getting a little queasy. I put them away, and Robert was a dear, and found some Dramamine for me. “Take one every four or five hours, they said, and it takes about 30 minutes to kick in.”

In just about 30 minutes exactly, I was no longer feeling sick, and promptly fell asleep.

I woke up at just after 4:00, and as I was waking up, Robert went down to retrieve our passports, which we were allowed to retrieve starting at 4:00. They had to do some “paperwork” with them during the day.

We pulled into Myknos at about 5:30, but it was after 6:00 before we disembarked. Our bus hadn’t yet arrived, and we waited for 15 or so minutes for it.

The Mykonos Grand Hotel is just beautiful. We checked in quickly and efficiently, and were given a brief orientation of the place by one of the registration desk folks. She addressed the group, “Hello. Oh, so many men.”

“So little time,” someone in the group retorted.

Her comment surprised me in that surely on one of the gayest islands in the Mediterranean, this wouldn’t be uncommon. This is not a “gay hotel” (if there is such a thing), so perhaps that’s why she said it.

“Yes,” she laughed back as if she were in solidarity with us on the assessment.

Our room is very, very nice, highlighted by a little balcony, with a table and two chairs on it, which faces the azure blue of the Aegean Sea.

We unpacked, and at about 7:30 called the lobby to get a possible recommendation for a close by place to eat, and to ask about the bus schedule. They gave us the bus schedule to town over the phone, but said, “We’ll show you the restaurants on a map when you come up to the lobby.”

We got up to the lobby at just after 8:00, with the intention of catching the 8:15 bus into town. When we got up there, Adam, Keith, Steve, Hector and Mark were also there, and heading downtown as well. We got some recommendations from the person at the front desk, and then walked up the hill to the bus stop.

It was Î0,90 to ride the bus, which we paid when we got on. It was about a 20-minute ride into town with a few stops on the way.

Once on the bus, we weren’t quite sure at which stop to get off, and two girls from Toronoto sitting behind Robert and me, said, “This isn’t the downtown stop. We’ll let you know when we get there. Actually, the whole bus will empty then, and we’re getting off there, too.”

“We’ll follow you, then,” we said.

“Have you guys eaten down here already, then? Can you make a recommendation for dinner?” I asked them.

“Yes, several times. I’d recommend Nikos Taverna,” one of them said, which was one of the restaurants the hotel clerk had mentioned. “There may be a little bit of a wait, but the turnover is quick there, and it’s worth the wait.”

We took the small winding paths through the area, fully lined with shops of all kinds, including grocery (convenience type) stores, clothes, souvenirs, liquor - as well as restaurants and bars.

We finally found the place, and got a table for seven inside, only because there wasn’t a wait for one inside. Robert and I shared a cheese fritter appetizer, each had a lobster salad for our entrée, and crème caramel for dessert. We each had a Mythos (Greek) beer, too. Our bill was Î32.

Leaving the restaurant, we passed a bar with a huge rainbow flag on the door, and stopped in. Adam, Steve, and Keith ordered a drink, and then me, Robert, Hector and Mark left. We hadn’t planned to go out directly from dinner, and by the time we finished eating it was about 10:30 - too late to go back and change as I had on a long sleeve shirt, but Robert and I were just tired anyway.

We tried to find a grocery and liquor store on the way back to the bus. We got lost in the maze of little streets (pathways really), and eventually found a grocery store, but by then, I didn’t feel like shopping for anything.

Hector wanted to stop at a pharmacy for some Dramamine, and we did, and then we passed a couple of liquor stores, none of which had any bourbon whiskey. We asked the clerk in the second one where we might find some, and he pointed us to a place “a little further up on the right.”

Here we hit the jackpot as not only did we find some Jack Daniels, which I would have settled for, but they actually had Canadian Club. Bonus! I bought a fifth. Hector bought that Greek stuff that begins with an “M,” and is sold “by the stars”: five stars, seven stars, etc., with, I presume, the more stars the more percentage of alcohol - at least the more expensive it is. It’s the same stuff that was the basis of the drink we had at that little restaurant we reached by cable car at the top of that hill in Athens.

We finally found the bus stop, and got on a bus that we thought would pass by the stop next to our hotel. We weren’t sure it was the correct one, though, as they didn’t seem to be taking any money. Once the bus driver came on, Robert made sure it was the right bus, which it was, and we found out at the first stop that you pay when you get off the bus.

We kept looking for our stop, and before we knew it, were the last four people on the bus. We said to the driver, “We need to get off at the stop by the Mykonos Grand.”

“Oh, we passed that a long time ago.” He made a u-turn with that huge bus on a small road, and took us back. How nice.

I took a shower, as I hadn’t before we left, and we hit the sack, and MMMMMMed. The curtains on the French doors leading to our balcony were slightly ajar, the TV was on with enough light to make me wonder if any one of our traveling companions would be devious enough to climb over onto our balcony for a show. Pity them if so.

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