Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kissamos Again Against My WIll

Sunday, June 12, 2011—Kissamos-Kastelli, Crete, Greece

Back in Kissamos. An unplanned layover. Early yesterday afternoon I caught a bus from Falasarna here. I was just supposed to switch busses, to one that would take me to Hania, where I would catch another bus that would take me south to Paleohora. However, after I got off the Falasarna bus the driver just drove away—he didn’t open the luggage container beneath the seats like he’s supposed to. My pack was in there. It took me three-and-a-half hours of waiting the Kissamos bus stop before one of the people working there could finally track down my bag and get it back to me. This of course completely scuttled my plans for the day. Specifically it caused me to miss the last bus going from Hania to Paleohora. I thought about continuing on to Hania anyway, just so as to still be making progress and because since I haven’t been there for several days I thought it might feel fresher to be there than Kissamos (after all my time in its bus station Kissamos was anything but “fresh”). But it would cost me twice as much to stay there the night as here so I just decided to stay put.

(The only payback I got for this whole stupid deal was that in all the confusion nobody ever bothered to collect any money from me for the trip from Falasarna. That doesn’t make up for my troubles, but at least it’s something.)

So here I am a day and a half after leaving it back in the same Kissamos hotel. This series of events of course annoyed the shit out of me as it was happening. I was especially bugged by the fact that the bus people treated me like I was an idiot who’d fucked up when they were the ones that had blown it. But I’m over it now, ready to try it again fresh on the 10:30 AM bus today.

In fact, I’m feeling pretty great at the moment. I got a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed in a mosquito and spider-free room and now I’m sitting at an outdoor table in the cafĂ© connected to Argo (my hotel), eating the breakfast that comes with the room—bread, honey, yogurt, orange juice and really good coffee—while the blue-green Mediterranean laps maybe ten feet from me the hills of the Gramvousa and Rodopou Peninsulas loom in the morning mist to the west and the east respectively, and a warm buttery sun permeates everything. Hard to complain too much about all this.

Plus, my cold is virtually gone! So far everything I’ve done on this trip has had an asterisk by it—jet lag, anxiety issues (which have also largely vanished—too hot to be crazy?), and/or illness. But now that’s all mostly gone. Now I feel that I can really start getting into this trip. I’ve decided to view my first week plus in country as a warm-up for things to come. I’m ready to roll.

Random Notes:

Finished the Palin diaries volume two and have moved on to Constance, a novel by Lawrence Durrell, which I found on the book-exchange shelf in my hotel back in Kolymbari, which is where I also left my Palin book. It’s a volume of his massive Avignon Quintet, which is a series I’ve wanted to tackle for years. It’s not the first book in the series, but I’ve been told that you don’t have to read them in order (I’m about a hundred pages in and except for the odd reference here and there I’m doing just fine with it).

So far I really like the book. The story is mostly set here in the Mediterranean and mostly concerns a group of youngish English friends, who have just cemented their friendship with a long summer together in Avignon, and how their lives are changed by the different paths they are forced to take as World War II engulfs them. Dense prose, lanquid description. Slowly unwinding story lines in multiple regions. Strange undercurrents and mentionings of the Nights of the Templars (I don’t fully get), which gives everything a mysterious historical depth. So far I really dig it. Perfect reading traveling along these shores. I was lucky to stumble upon it …

Going thru some minor fits of depression (replacing the anxiety attacks) here at night. I love traveling alone in the daytime and practically revel in it in the morning. But at night I sometimes feel lonely, friendless, old, out of place. More problems brought from home that are coming to the surface because I have nothing to distract me from them?

Met an interesting woman on the bus from Falasarna (the only other person on the bus besides me and the driver). She was a pharmacologist from Croatia here for a conference. She’s spent time in Greece before and gave me some interesting information on some of the other islands I might want to visit. I was supposed to ride with her all the way to Hania but I lost her with the backpack fiasco. Bummer. Like I said, she was interesting. Nice too.

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