Sep 09 2007

I hate the boat

Published by at 11:57 am under Crete,Greece

Jetlagged, exhausted, and dreading a nine-hour boat ride, Ben and I navigated our way through the metro from Athens to Pireas port yesterday evening for the final leg of our journey to Crete. We’d lost all concept of time and place. Were we in London yesterday? No, this morning? Two days ago? Did we sleep last night? Why are we doing this? Even as I write this I’m pretty sure I haven’t slept in at least 36 hours.

Ben and I purchased “deck-class” ferry tickets from the mainland to Crete. This means, instead of having a nice room to sleep in, we had to make camp somewhere on the deck of the boat for the night. It also means that we weren’t going to be allowed to board the lifeboats until all the people that shelled out for the cabins were saved. James Cameron taught me that.

I was obviously not expecting much from the Greek Island ferries. The word “ferry” to me implies a small-ish tour boat that floats down the river at Busch Gardens. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was confronted with this:

Giant, nearly-cruise-sized ships. I was even more delighted when I saw this:

There’s a disco on board! And drinking! Hope shined through the gray fog of our jetlag.

The final surprise was when we were told that we wouldn’t actually have to be on the deck of the boat; there was a room with airplane-style seating where we could set up camp. We excitedly chose a row of seats, stacked our luggage on either side of us so as not to be disturbed, pulled out our eye masks and fleece blanket, and prepared to sleep for the first time in what felt like a very long time.

Once the boat had left dock and the hustle and bustle of boarding had quieted, I noticed the TVs. Two televisions sat at the front of the room, volume set inexplicably loud for such a small space and each TV playing a different channel. I peaked out from under my eye mask to see that on one TV was some sort of Greek soap opera involving a woman dressed like a chicken, flanked by two women in silver unitards, all dancing and singing together. I tuned this one out, only to hear the other TV blaring an infomercial for a cure-all talisman. “Want to change everything you don’t like about your life? Your career? Your girlfriend? Buy this talisman! It’s based in science!” the announcer yelled. Just to drive the point home, he added: “Julius Caesar wore a talisman!”

Our fellow boat-riders were not at all bothered by the noise. They were obviously seasoned ferriers. That, or very drunk. Nothing woke them. One particular chubby, mustachioed Greek a few rows in front of us hadn’t stirred since I boarded. At one point I was kind of concerned he was dead, but I was too tired to do anything about it. Around midnight, when I was grumpily still awake, I found out the man was not, in fact, dead. He was very much alive. It happened all of a sudden, and sounded as if the dull hum of the engine had suddenly gotten deafeningly loud. Or the boat had crashed. He was snoring. And he did not stop. I’ve never heard anything like it.

As the room filled throughout the night, the smell in the room became…a little stale. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I showered, so I didn’t complain when the small, unventilated room in the innards of the ferry became a little spicy-smelling. You got used to it. Around 3 am, though, the smell became unbearable. It was putrid. Like rotten body odor and sewage. “Ben, what in the world is that smell?” I said, sitting straight up.

“I have no idea!” he gasped, covering his nose with his hand and looking around desperately for an exit. It was then that we noticed the man in the row behind us had stuck his feet so that they were poking out from beneath our seats. We were horrified when the source of the smell dawned on us.

Now that my ears and nose were under attack, I ran out onto the deck in a final attempt to get some sleep. I lay on the bare floor, feeling rotten and sorry for myself, and cursing the day I decided to leave my cozy home in Virginia. However, from that vantage, the rock of the boat in the choppy waters of the Mediterranean was vomit-inducing. I stormed back to our seats. “I HATE the boat!” I yelled.

“Really??” said Ben, sarcastically. “‘Cause I LOVE the boat!” We resigned ourselves to our sleepless fates and attempted to muster all remaining energy for the impending room-hunt in Hania, Crete.

The only highlight of our ferry journey came at the end, when we were able to try “Greek coffee.” Kafe ellinikos is a thick, foamy sludge served in a small cup. Apparently how to leave the grounds in the cup, and not drink them, is a learned skill and one I hope to pick up soon.

Moral of the story: I consider myself a trooper. I’ll pretty much do anything to save a buck. This experience, however, gets filed under “not worth it.” When taking the Greek ferries, spring for the high speed catamarans. It’s twice the price but gets you there in half the time.

I feel like I have so much more to tell, and I really want to get into how I’ve found heaven and how I’m never leaving (sorry Mom!), but that’s for another blog entry. Get thee to Hania ASAP. Just take a different boat.


Our first foray into vlogging. Please excuse the poor audio quality at the beginning and shaky camera work. It’s hard to walk on a rocking ferry!

NEXT: Getting settled in Hania »



6 responses so far

6 Responses to “I hate the boat”

  1. Jodieon 09 Sep 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I am laughing so hard!!

  2. Abbyon 09 Sep 2007 at 3:57 pm

    gross why are all those dirty people sprawled out all over the place and weren’t they weirded out by the fact that you were filming them? i hate the boat too. i hope you guys get some sleep!!

    and, ben – you’re not supposed to leave brittany alone by herself!

  3. Aunt Janeton 09 Sep 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Ben and Brittany,

    This is so amazing and entertaining! I am absolutely mesmerized by your website! It’s better than any reality TV I’ve seen. Here’s hoping you “blend in” and create many more wonderful memories,
    Aunt Janet

  4. Allisonon 09 Sep 2007 at 5:43 pm

    i LOVE the boat.
    Keep up the b/v-logging up 4 eva!!!!
    but come back eventually please

  5. Lindsayon 10 Sep 2007 at 9:25 am

    mom is annoying me. she cant stop showing me ya’lls blog. like i’ve never seen it or read it before. not to mention she reads it and re-reads it and re-reads it. and constantly calls me when there are updates.

    sweet guys thanks for leaving me.


    p.s. but seriously, all those gross, fat greek people gave me this shivers.

  6. Benon 10 Sep 2007 at 10:48 am

    Abby: yes, I think they were very weirded out by the fact that I was filming them. As I would have been too. I tried to hurry my way through before they got angry enough to chase me around the boat.

    Lindsay: I’d tell your mom to stop, but we need the hits. j/k.

    p.s. not j/k

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