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September 10th, 2004

We left our room at about 10:00, and Robert pretended like he was crying as we were closing the door to the room saying, "I don't want to go. I was just getting used to being here." So cute.

We got to the lobby shortly after 10:00, and checked out. The only charge to our room for the week was for about E8, which was for the coffee we had at the end of dinner last night.

We waited for Adam and Keith, as the four of us were all on the same high-speed ferry from Mykonos to Athens. We were originally supposed to meet in the lobby by 10:45, but it was changed to 10:30. Evidently Keith didn't get the word. Adam got up there by 10:30, but Keith didn't come up until 10:45. During that time I hopped on the computer, posted my Wednesday journal entry, and sent Philip a note to post to the EAGLE database.

There was a little bit of confusion when we'd first gotten up to the lobby, as they (at the desk) thought there were only two people going (Adam and Keith), but they were using a bus anyway, so it really didn't matter. In fact, we picked up two other people (a couple) at another hotel on the way to the port.

When we stopped to pick them up, they got on -- a real cute blond and her hot husband. They passed the four of us moving toward the back of the bus, and as they were walking by someone from the hotel was at the bus door, saying, "Miss? Excuse me, Miss? May I speak with you for a minute?"

Evidently they hadn't given the hotel their credit card number for some charge. She settled it with them, and Adam joked as she walked back by us, "Uh, Miss? Excuse me, Miss? There's this little matter of a $1500 bar bill that you haven't taken care of." Laughter all around.

When we got to the port, it wasn't exactly obvious where to go. There was a very long covered shelter, and at the end where we were let off the bus, there was a lot of luggage lined up. However, all the people were way at the other end of the shelter.

We started lining our luggage up at the end of the line of luggage when I looked over and saw a cruise ship at the port at this end of the shelter. I thought, "This luggage might be for that cruise, and I'm not going to put mine here."

I wheeled it down to the other end to see if there was someone who worked there who might be able to tell us what was happening. No one. I waked back and told the group that most of the people down there had luggage, and they looked like they were waiting for a boat to come in.

We went down there, and it did turn out to be the place to wait for our boat. It was supposed to leave Mykonos at 11:30. That passed. Then 11:40. Then a boat or two came into the port area, and we thought, "Ah, there it is." But it went in to some other area of the port.

Finally close to noon, we saw ours coming. It took a while for the boat to unload; there were not only a lot of people on it, but also many cars and trucks came driving off it. Once it cleared out, the cars and trucks leaving the island got on first, and then we were allowed to board.

The boat was nice enough, however, we were in the smoking section, which evidently is most of the boat, and at some point, in a Brenda Vaccaro voice of course, Adam said, "Get me off of this floating cigarette." Something like that, which cracked us up. So many people were smoking.

We had assigned seats on this boat which weren't anywhere near each other, but after just a few minutes at the beginning, Robert, the adventurer, went to the restroom, and when he came back said, "Let's go sit with Adam and Keith; there's plenty of room where they are."

Early on the ride, we saw a man on a stretcher coming down the aisle with about four or five folks tending to him. There was an IV in him, complete with the bottle hanging upside down on one of those stands. They pushed him by us, he did not look well, and then worked the gurney down the stairs.

In our irreverent mess, we went back into earlier discussions we'd had on the trip about finding typos and being vigilantes and correcting them.

In an intercom voice, "We've found a serious typo. 30CCs of White-Out, STAT!" We had a rapid round of grammar, hospital, and Brenda Vaccaro quips, allusions, and snide remarks, all inspired by this unfortunate event.

Little did we know, since I'd estimate we hadn't been gone from Mykonos for more than 30 or 45 minutes, we were pulling in to a port. When we finally realized it, I went upstairs to the outside deck to get a better view of it and to take some pictures.

Several people, and some cars, were disembarking here. As I watched them lower the exit ramp, I saw an ambulance parked, and then the man on the gurney one of the first people rolled off the boat and into the ambulance.

We had some other good laughs along the way. At one point, I got out my sandals and three different pairs of socks, and Adam took some pictures of my feet in warious (sic) modes of dress.

At one point, after looking around to make sure there were no children in sight, I put on the penis nose glasses and he took a picture of that. He also took one of me with those glasses on with one of those "blinders" on (the ones that you get on the plane to keep the sun out if you want to sleep) – the blinder, the penis nose, and my sandals with one white sock and one blue sock, I think. LOL. Bless our mess.

It was about a three-hour boat ride, and we were actually met in Athens by the same lady who was at the airport to greet us. She thought, correctly, that Adam and Keith were going to their cruise ship, which was leaving at 6:00, I believe, but she thought Robert and I were going to the airport.

We straightened that out with her, and she arranged a cab for us to the Amalia hotel, in the area of the Plaka. They were going to pay that fare, and let us manage to the airport tomorrow. I said, "Since you were supposed to provide the transfers, and I assume a cab to the airport tomorrow will be more than this one to the hotel, how about we pay this cab, and you arrange our transfer tomorrow, and pay for it."

"Okay," she said. "I'll do it when I get back to the office this afternoon. Why don't you call our office in the morning, and I’ll let you know what’s been arranged. Is that okay?”

“Well, yes,” I said, “but I really don’t know how to use the phones here, and I don’t have your number and everything, why don’t you call us instead. You know where we’ll be.”

“Okay,” she agreed.

We got in the cab, who had a very nice driver, and when we arrived I got out the 11,50 amount I saw on the meter to pay him. “No, it’s all paid for,” he said. “They paid for it.”

GRRRRRRRR. We got our bags out, and went and checked in, which was uneventful. They did request our passports, and copied some information off them. I asked for an adapter so that I could charge both my laptop and my phone before tomorrow’s flight. Unfortunately, they were all out of adapters.

Our room was nice, certainly not lavish or anything, but not gross either. We couldn’t get the air conditioner to work, and when I went downstairs to ask about it, the guy at the desk said, “You have to turn on the switch with the big red letters that say ‘Air Conditioner’ on it. It’s on the wall.”

Just as I headed back to the elevator, the man at the desk called me, “Mr. Martin?” and nodded the phone toward me. “Pick up the phone right around the corner there.”

It was the travel agency calling us back about the transfer to the airport tomorrow. “First, let me tell you that the ride to the airport will be 40. A cab driver will come for you at 9:30…”

“Wait. Wait,” I said. I explained to her about our conversation yesterday, but she wasn’t the same person, and didn’t get what I said at first about having paid yesterday, and them paying to the airport, etc. I repeated it slowly to her, and she said, “Ah, I understand now. Just a minute.”

She came back on and said, “Okay, this is what we will do. You pay the driver only 25 tomorrow, and we’ll take care of the rest. This was still better to their favor than us having paid the cab here, and they paying the transfer to the airport, but it was reasonable enough, and we did interrupt the expected flow by staying an extra day in Athens. I felt like it was win/win enough. I was most pleased that they had taken care of it already, and were calling us.

I went back to the room and sure enough, there it was, bigger than shit, in red letters – behind the lamp shade on the wall against which the actual air conditioning unit was not. Our bad.

The elevators in this hotel were weird. They were very small, I’d say only three feet, four the most, wide, and maybe 10-foot long. Also, when they stopped at a floor, they didn’t buzz or sound a bell or anything. It just stopped, and you heard a clicking noise, which was actually the bolt that kept the door from opening unlatching, but that’s it. And if you didn’t push the door to open it within in a very short time, it moved on. Several times I sat there waiting for the door to actually open, much less ding, and missed my floor.

Robert and I decided to take a walk to get oriented with where we were in terms of the Plaka and perhaps the hotel we had stayed at earlier in the week, and most importantly in relation to where the Lambda bar was that we’d be walking to later that evening.

Before we left the hotel, Robert made a phone call to Rodney’s parents’ house. He spoke with his dad for a few minutes. Interesting pay phone. Dial the number, wait for the party to answer, put in a Euro dime, and start talking. If you run out of time, and another dime, etc.

We walked a ways, and quickly got to the Plaka, and from this entrance we quickly came upon the place we had eaten lunch with with Steve on Sunday. We walked in the direction we thought the bar might be, and came upon an information booth.

I asked them, “Can you tell me which way the Lambda bar is?” No recognition. “It’s a gay bar,” I said. They looked at each other, “A gay bar? Hmmm. No.” I said, “I think it’s on Lembessi (sic) Street.”

“Oh! That’s this way,” pointing, “go a couple of streets that way, and you’ll come to that street. Take a left then.”

We did that and came to Lempesi Street, which I recognized, mostly because on the corner of the street was that sweets and pastry shop we had stopped at on Saturday evening when Steve and Mike had taken those of the group who went for a walk with them to show us that the bar was just down that road on the left.

We walked back to the hotel along the main road to take in the landmarks that way, since that’s the way we’d take that night. On the way we got the urge to have an “old-fashioned American hamburger.” I thought that Constitution Square might be nearby, and we stopped in a Hertz place, actually, that we were passing, and they pointed us “straight ahead, about 500 meters.”

I ordered the “#5,” which was a Big Mac combo. Robert ordered the “#6,” which was the “McRoyal” combo. We think that was the equivalent to the Quarter Pounder with Cheese here. Robert’s order took forever, and it turned out that the guy who took his order had just set it down on the counter and left. It was very crowded in there, and Robert had moved aside to await his order, which is also what I did. But someone called my order out when it was ready. No one did his. It was frustrating. Finally, Robert noticed it sitting on the counter.

My Big Mac was delicious, and as usual the “Coke Light” sucked. You’d think I’d’ve stopped ordering it by now. I think they must use saccharine to make it instead of aspartame like they do in the U.S. (I’m guessing.) Something’s funky about it here. The combo cost 4,50, which was about $5.50.

We walked back toward the hotel, and back to the Plaka so that Robert could find a souvenir for his sister. After a ways, I told him that I’d like to go back to the hotel to write out my last few post cards if he wouldn’t mind doing his shopping alone. He was cool with that, so we split up.

Back at the hotel, I wrote cards to the Mostly Social Book Club members, and one to Raj. I was thinking while I was writing them that Robert would venture someone while gone that I’d hear about. He returned after a while, and had indeed taken “a little side trip” into a church, which upon exiting, he noticed a sign that said, “No shorts.” Oh well.

As it got close to time to go out, we had a few drinks of the remaining Canadian Club I’d brought back from Mykonos. Robert went to get us some ice, which as usual, in Europe is always a major to-do. He asked at the front desk, and they pointed him over to this little counter in the lobby that sold drinks and pastries and such, and Robert asked for some ice.

She said yes, and then took out this little maybe two-glass serving pitcher for tea or water, opens up her little ice bucket, takes out some tongs and takes ice cubes one at a time from her little ice bucket into this little pitcher. Such drama over some ice. I know all this, because, of course, that much ice lasted two drinks and we needed more, and I went down for the second “serving.”

We went to the bar between 12:30 and 1:00. It was quite festive. However, at somewhere around 3:40, they turned all the lights on in the place, even though the music kept playing. Odd.

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