The last hours of day 14, the feast of Nicho the Communist get wrapped into day 15. That was one reason why I love Greece. The rest of the day is what can infuriate me.
As Monday was our departure day and we had much to do to prepare, the Mrs decided that a) we needed a hoover and b) she would have a treat. The former we could have managed without as George the Architect was happy to lend us his vacuum cleaner. The latter sounded like my idea of hell, that is to say the Mrs wanted to go to a beach on the day of the year which was likely to see it at its third most crowded.
Do not get me wrong. My wife is truly wonderful and I worship the ground on which she walks. But ideas like that make me think of divorce. Not only did this six months pregnant woman wish to go to a beach – an idea which appealed to young Joshua – but she wanted to go to one near to a bar so which would pulsate with ghastly music for young people and with ghastly young people as well. When one could sip a G&T lolling by your own pool in the middle of nowhere slipping in for an occasional dip which is paradise why volunteer to go to hell? But the Mrs and Joshua were adamant and so I agreed that I would drop them off at the breach on the edge of Kalamata and I would go and buy a hoover something I, mistakenly, thought would be less unenjoyable.
The traffic leading to the beach and in the small car park where I dropped them off was like that in Hell on Christmas Eve. I was glad to be away from it and heading into the centre of Kalamata trying to find the hoover store. Eventually I managed to locate it and find one small bit of kerb within half a mile on which to park the car. I grabbed my face nappy and my credit card and headed off to the store where I found a range of vacuum cleaners on the second floor.
After a very long while I grabbed the attention of an assistant who spoke English and happily explained that most of those on offer were demonstration models and that there were no models actually in stock for sale, something that in normal countries shops are there to do: to sell things. But we found a couple which were for sale and so I prepared to buy one. What about the bags said I? “We have none in stock” said the assistant. Not even one in the actual hoover I could re-use? No, that is for demonstration only, not for sale.
So when will bags arrive? She said they might arrive on Thursday. That would be after we left but is also almost certainly untrue. The Greek way in such situations is often to say not what is true but what you want to hear so as to make you happier. Of course it would not make you happier if you want back next Thursday but pro tem it might make you happier. It is like joining the Euro when you plainly fail all these tests. In the short term you get zero interest rates and everyone is happy but then in the end they realise it was all a lie and are unhappy. Welcome to Greece.
I had failed in my mission but what with the time spent finding a parking spot and spent being jerked around in the store I had wasted enough of my life to be ready to pick up the Mrs and Joshua. That I did. They had enjoyed a great time enhanced by ice creams. I am not sure whether I regard my own two hours of purgatory as purgatory or a lucky escape. As I head the young people’s music pounding away I concluded that it was, indeed, an escape. Soon, with the windows down, the warm wind was blowing through a car was climbing up the mountain road back to Kambos. George had agreed to drop off his hoover and all was well, I was returning to a sleepy village and a Greek Hovel half way up a mountain in the middle of nowhere, the Greece I love and never even think of divorcing.