What a Day

I had quite a day yesterday and thought I’d regail you with some of the details for your viewing enjoyment.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I had been awakened at 4am in Bahrain by religiously drunken Ramadan hardcore prayers and was not in a good mood. My flight didn’t leave until 9:40am so I killed the next few hours working on my laptop.

The airport is very close to my hotel so I knew I could leave fairly late and still be very early for the flight. Around 8am I walked downstairs and asked for a taxi.

The guy at the desk was very nice and said, “Oh no sir, we will drop you in our car.� I thanked him and he said, “just 5 minutes�. I went and sat down, 25 minutes later the car showed up.

I wasn’t in a big hurry so I wasn’t worried, I still had plenty of time. The van had no air conditioning and it was already nearly 40c in the Arabian Gulf, but for some reason he kept the windows up… perhaps it was less hot that way, I am not sure.

We drove for what seemed to be a longer time than I reckoned it took to get to the airport. Finally we pulled up to a place with American soldiers guarding some blockade. I was confused, had the American thugs attacked and taken over yet another country while I slept?

The van driver at that very moment got a phone call, but he kind of motioned me to get out. I was confused, as this didn’t look like the airport at all so I waited until he got off his phone call to ask. Nearly FIVE minutes later he finally finishes his call and looks at me and says, “Ok?�… I said, “No. Where’s the airport?�… He says, “Navy? No?�…

He had driven me to the American gangsters (military) navy base in Bahrain. I was confused as to why he would even do that, but then I looked down and realized I was wearing my green army shorts and my shirt even was green army color.

Ok, I’ll give him a break on that one.

But now I am really sweating in the van due to the heat and I am starting to get late for the flight. We finally get to the airport and I am now very concerned about catching the flight… and I DID NOT want to spend another day in Ramadan.

The airport is really small and has just one really long road leading up to it. We were about 200 meters away from the building and he stops. I am sitting there, thinking to myself, why on earth would he stop here, in the middle of nowhere when the building is a quarter of a kilometer away still… he pointed at the security guards and told me he cannot stop up there.

Ok, so I got out and hoofed it in the heat to the airport… luckily I made the flight. But that was just half of my day.

I arrived in Athens, and as I said, I had a hard time getting a hotel on the internet as they all seemed full so I thought I would just show up and see what I could find.

I went to 2 “hospitality� kiosks and they both told me there are no rooms ANYWHERE in or even near Athens that night.

I was like, “greeeeat.�. I then traversed the airport looking for a flight to somewhere interesting that was leaving in the next hour or two. I tried to get on a flight to Rome and Milan but they said I was too late for both.

I then went to an internet café and found a hotel that was available in Athens and booked it.

I then took the nearly 1 hour train ride to downtown Athens only to arrive at the hotel where the girl was expecting me, perplexed and sweating, saying that they shouldn’t have let me book online because they have no rooms.

She then called most of her Greek family members seeing if they could find me a place to stay.

But every hotel in town was full. They said there were “3 congresses� in town that night. I don’t know what a congress is, maybe they mean conference.

But finally she got me a room at a hotel that was in a good central location but was probably the worst hotel I had ever stayed at. For those that know Vancouver, think Cobalt Hotel, but with less drunks and drug addicts and hookers around (Vancouver seems to have more of these kind of people than almost any city in the world, btw).

By this time it was 6pm and my journey had taken nearly 12 hours just to get here so I was exhausted. As I walked up to my room, outside of the room was a door with the sign “WC� (water closet, or bathroom) on it. I was like, oh god no, don’t tell me my room doesn’t even have a bathroom and I have to share?!?!

Thankfully, my room did have a bathroom… and its amazing how your perception of things changes depending on your circumstances, but I was SO happy to see that crappy little bathroom in my room.

Anyway, half the reason I came here was for some nightlife as I had spent the last 2 days in Ramadan and was hoping to at least have one night out this week… so I set my alarm for 9:30pm and went to sleep for a “nap�, exhausted.

I woke up 15 hours later on Sunday morning, having slept through the alarm and the whole night.

Oh well, at least I was refreshed.

But this story continues. In the morning I took a taxi to the hotel I had booked on the internet the night before at an internet cafe.

I showed up and, same thing, the guy was like ‘they shouldn’t have let you book, we are full’… note to self: do not use internet websites to book hotels in Greece.

I then spent about 2 hours walking in the heat (around 28c and sunny today) trying to find a hotel or internet cafe to find one.

I FINALLY found one and went to it just now. It is very nice. It is called the Theoxenia Palace and is a bit out of the way in a trendy suburb of Athens called Kiffisia.

And it has high speed internet so I am very happy.

The area right around here is actually super trendy and cool… a bunch of small restaurants and lounges, all open air, and on a day like today it is really great.

So, FINALLY, after Bahrain and my first day in Athens I am relaxed and happy.

I leave tomorrow for Rome but haven’t booked anything there yet… deja vu?