Alas, it is the Mediterranean, and my punctual arrival is made meaningless because the guy in charge shows up two hours later, at the last minute before the ship is to depart. With barely any instructions to guide me, I find myself frantically running between different buildings finalizing various paperwork, and of course spending additional money. Obviously it is so faux pas/no-no that I had entered the island into the embargoed north and am now trying to leave from the south.
At one point I find myself subject to the tirade of one tired looking paper handler who claims they are all refugees of any ugly war. That their property had been confiscated, and that it is not the “Turkish side”, as I so ignorantly state, but rather the “Turkish Occupied Territories since 1974” or whatever long and ridiculous name I am supposed to remember.
As you can imagine, my sympathy is nonexistent and I really am not interested in listening to his pansy excuses why it is supposedly a problem that I want to get off this island from the south. I raise my voice as usual. When cooperation eventually returned, I soften my voice, and do the usual BS running around between various buildings and offices, exchanging papers, paying more money, to get the sacred stamp I am seeking.
It takes me a while to find the correct ship, finally I park next to it. I wait another Mediterranean hour. I explain to the workers that I would like to be one of the first to drive on — at least before all the large semi 18 wheelers — to give me time to get to the airport for my Athens flight. The fat, disinterested Greek in charge lets me on earlier than the others, but waves his finger at me that I better get to the Athens shipping port on time, or else.
Or perhaps he is expressing impatience that one of my truck batteries is getting weak. I have to go through a very weird procedure to get the beast running. In fact, I usually disconnect the batteries if parked more than one day to avoid serious problems.
The small delay ends up being just another interesting challenge in my travels. I make it to Athens, sleep overnight in the airport, the next day enjoy a crap while not having to worry about throwing toilet paper into the bowl, and take a crazy bus ride to the shipping port. I sleep the second night in the port where I am glad to find free WIFI. It was difficult to sleep because the place is so busy even overnight, and the mosquitoes are eating me alive.
In the morning I start to investigate the situation and discover that I was totally in the wrong location: I am in the ferry terminal area, while the shipping area is in the next village. I then take another, somewhat more frantic, crazy bus ride to the next village and end up lugging my laptop about six km trying to find exactly where my ship is to dock. It turns out there is about three km of coastline reserved for the shipping industry and no information booth for poor sods like myself, who are trying to find their specific quay.
But, as usual, manage I do.
This managing does require some crafty last second executive decisions and a 500 m stretch walking very slowly through a pack of about 15 angry and barking dogs. The shipping dudes and truck drivers must be compassionate to the starving and stray dogs in Greece. Or they perceive, as I have in the past, that a little bit of dog food can go a long way in terms of security. Their lorries were often parked along these lone stretches, after all.
So I inch my way along the coast, speaking softly, offering the back of my hand for the dogs to sniff, befriended a few of them, and miraculously find the quay where I am supposed to wait for my truck.