Airport, round two… (50th post!)

So I’m sat in Athens airport, about nine hours into my 17 hour layover. I’m relatively sure people thought I was a crazy person when I first arrived in the airport, because all I did for the first quarter of an hour was walk around, staring at the floor. More specifically, I was staring at the skirting boards searching for power sockets. If I’m going to make it through 17 hours sitting in an airport, by God I’m going to need to power my laptop for entertainment.

On that note, I’m sitting next to one of only two power sockets in the entire departures lounge (not including ones in cafes and restaurants where you’re obliged to actually buy something before you can sit down and use their table and power). What kind of assclown designs an airport departures lounge and only puts in two freakin’ power sockets?! I mean, really, did it not occur that people might want to plug their shit in? This power socket seems to be slightly hidden, because I haven’t had to fight for it all day. Anyway, yes, I’m sat next to it, with an episode of How I Met Your Mother on in the background (laptop, not airport), writing, well, this.

The airport has one hour’s free internet access. I can stretch that out quite spectacularly by copying emails and messages into a word document and writing my replies there, then just hopping online to send ‘em. My point in telling you this is as follows: Every time you connect to their network and load up a web page, you get a splash screen you have to click through before you’re allowed access. Every time I’ve done that today there’s been a little box that’s flashed up saying “announcement, 22/9/11”, and I, like every other normal person ever, clicked the [x] in the corner to get rid of it without reading it. No one cares what websites announce. Except the latest time it loaded up automatically without giving me the chance. The announcement was that Athens air traffic control are having a three hour strike on the 22nd of September – the date of my flight out of Greece. Yep, shit. Shitbiscuits. After a little hasty research and asking the info desk, turns out my flight is early enough in the morning to not be affected by said strike. Seems there is something good about early morning flights after all.

I don’t have too much else to say right now. I’m just killing time until it’s late enough and I’m tired enough to fall asleep on a cold tile floor. I’ve started a new book, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, I’m watching How I Met Your Mother in the background, and I transferred a few films across from my hard drive to watch in case I want some filmic entertainment.

Oh, I updated the Photodump again (link on the right), and added another image to the random headers the blog has sometimes. Hope you like it. The Photodump has some prominent pictures in this time, most notably a picture of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica in same, and some other pictures from around Rome.

Oh shit, yeah! WordPress has just told me this is my 50th post on this blog. Heh, awesome.


What’s going on?

I’m really not the person to ask.

I jest, I jest. People’ve been asking what’s going on and where I’m at/going and so on and so forth. So I’m here to update I guess.

The next few days will not be the most comfortable, or a lot of fun. Tomorrow morning I get up at 7am to catch a bus to hang out at Kos airport for between two and three hours before my flight to Athens. Kos airport is not a big airport. Once I arrive in Athens at 12:40, my next flight is at 7am… the next day. Count it. That’s 17 hours to kill in Athens airport. I’ve slept in Athens airport before, you’ll recall, and it’s not that exciting. I’m going to read, a lot.

After my second night sleeping in Athens airport (which is kinda handy, ’cause last time I scoped out some decent places to sleep) I catch a flight to Chicago, via Madrid. I’m not staying in Madrid, to clarify, it’s just a connection, but it totally counts as another country I’ve visited!

Yep, Chicago in the United States. I decided to take the ‘go to the US for a few months’ path. I have a couple of excellent friends there who’ve kindly offered to let me stay with them in their respective places for a while, offering various standards of accommodation up to, and including, an awesome sounding couch-fort-tent-base-pillow-thing. Oh yes.

There you go, you’re all caught up. Wish me luck in the airports.

Boat times…

So people keep asking me what it’s like on the boat, whether I’m having fun and enjoying myself, what the crew are like, what the boat itself is like and so on and so forth. Telling the same story ten times is just plain inefficient communication, so I’m just going to write it out and y’all can read it here.

First of all, let’s take a tour of the boat. Here it is from the outside:

Here is my cabin and bed:

Here’s the main inside area, so the galley, table, living quarters I guess:

Here’s the toilet and shower. Yep, they’re the same room:

This is the outside stern deck and seating area:

And finally a picture from the bow:

Ok, so that’s the boat. Now we’re all caught up on where I am, since I get the impression a lot of people heard the word ‘yacht’ and thought of a big luxury liner with huge spacious rooms and the like, which is not the case. It’s actually quite, quite comfortable on board, though.

Moving on. Am I having fun and enjoying myself? Well, the answer is somewhat more complicated than a simple phrase, but it could be summed up with ‘meh’. Which is ok – not everything can be fantastic. And the reason it’s only meh, and not awesome is, mostly again, down to people.

Which nicely brings me onto the crew. There’s the skipper, who is an asshole. There’s an alcoholic from Texas who speaks exactly like Boomhaur from King of the Hill (who is actually the most pleasant member of the crew), and then there’s a Finnish couple who don’t speak an awful lot of English (though in their defence, I don’t speak a lot of Finnish, and they do seem like a lovely couple). Now, that’s five people. Out of those five, I am the youngest by exactly half. What I mean by that is the next oldest person on board is 200% my age, being twice as old as me. So… yeah. I’ve not a lot in common with anyone here, and feel kinda like a fifth wheel on a four wheel car, ‘cause the Finnish couple have each other, and the Texan has been on board for a few months so he and the skipper are pretty friendly. Such is life, though.

Why is the skipper an asshole? Well, for a start he’s incredibly selfish, and seems to think this is a) acceptable, and b) amusing. He does nothing on board whatsoever. Now, I know this boat is his home and sailing around with paying crew is his lifestyle, but if it were me, I’d feel all kinds of awkward having random strangers not only do everything for me, but pay me for the privilege as well. The guests do the provisioning of the boat (food, supplies etc), all the cooking and cleaning and so on and so forth. He lacks fairly basic manners which I, despite outward appearances, possess and use regularly (when appropriate…). For instance, once other people have prepared the meal and set the table and all that jazz, he’ll not either wait for everyone to be seated, nor wait for anyone else to be ready before taking food for himself and starting to eat, let alone just serving and waiting for everyone else. Also shit like taking the last of the sweetcorn, say, without asking if anyone else would like some, or pouring himself a glass of water and not offering anyone else a refill. Now maybe it’s just me, but that shit is common courtesy.

And none of that is really the biggest issue. The real problem is that he’s the kind of person who has no idea how to deal with or interact with other people. He reminds me of people I’ve worked with years ago – just a plain bad manager of people, and given that he’s the captain of the boat, that’s somewhat important. The main manifestation of this is that because he’s been on boats for years and obviously has a lot of experience in the area, he assumes that things that are obvious to him and are a given are also obvious to people who’ve never been on a proper sail boat before and that they should have inherently known. Telling me to “tie off that rope” when there are a) fifteen fucking ropes, and b) a hundred bars it could be tied to, and c) seemingly infinite knots that could be used to tie it, is no fucking use, now is it? “Same as you did two days ago” is no use either, since everything I did this week involved ropes, tying, and knots. When one does try and get involved and is asked to do something and is had a go at and made to feel stupid for not knowing how and what to do instantly isn’t exactly confidence-inspiring and certainly doesn’t encourage one to join in more often. Then you’re berated for not offering to help out. Then there’s the whole being ‘told off’ (you’re neither my boss nor my parent, that shit won’t fly) for doing things (or not doing) that have never been mentioned as things that shouldn’t (or should) be done. I should’ve known, what with my extensive time spent aboard boats. I do know, honestly, that he’s the captain and it’s his boat and his rules apply, which I’m totally fine with. What I’m not fine with is not being told what those rules are, and then being railed at for having bent them accidentally.

Anyway. Bitching over; there’s more and I could go on, but it’s unnecessary. You asked what the crew and boat were like. Answered.

What we do. Well, mostly, we sail from about 10am ‘til we get to wherever we’re going that day, then we dock either at a port or in an anchorage (away from shore, basically). Then we’ll go ashore for a while, have a look around, come back to the boat for dinner, maybe go back ashore for drinks or something, and rinse repeat. A lot of the scenery has been lovely, and the nights out here are beautiful because there’s no light pollution (as previously mentioned).

Now, like I said earlier – that’s all okay. One lives and learns, and not everything has to be or can be a completely pleasant experience.


Was probably the first night aboard the boat that I’ve enjoyed. That’s not to say the others have been awful, but you know. The sea was very calm, and the sky was completely clear and empty of obstruction. I lay out on the deck and stared up at the sky and the stars for quite a time, then curled up on one of the outer couches and listened to some quiet music while pondering things.

What did I ponder? Well, just life in general, I guess. Lots of things jumble around in my head vying for attention at times like that. I considered all the options I have for where I’m going to go next when I get off the boat and I think I finally made a decision on that front, so I feel somewhat relieved to have some rough plans.

Being anchored in a bay next to a tiny island with barely a taverna and a shop to its name means that there is literally no ambient light or light pollution at night. It makes watching the stars incredibly easy, and very peaceful. I must have spent quite a time just looking upwards.

And now I have an idea for a tattoo I could maybe see myself having.

Le boat…

So I get on the boat today. It’s for 11 nights, and I’ve no idea what my access to the internet will be like while I’m aboard (naturally), so don’t expect regular updates for the next few weeks. As if they’re regular anyway.

Do we all remember when I said, naively, that nothing had gone wrong so far? Well, today pretty much pissed all over that parade. The getting to the airport in Rome was fine. The flight to Athens was fine. Even the seven hour layover from midnight ‘til the morning in the airport was fine. Once I landed on Samos, it was not fine. Admittedly it is partially my fault, I guess, but that’s neither here nor there. I assumed that since Samos was an island belonging to a country, that it was relatively small and compact. This is not the case. I did not realise this when I booked my night’s accommodation on Samos before getting the ferry to Patmos to join the yacht crew. I also assumed that Samos airport would have something resembling a tourist information centre where I could enquire as to how to get to my hotel. This is also not the case.

So I was stranded at the airport for a few hours while waiting for a local bus to turn up. It turned up half an hour late and drove into the airport, have a leisurely look around as it circled the front square, and promptly pulled out of the airport again without stopping. So that was nice. I eventually shared a taxi to the town with another guy who’d also intended to get on aforementioned bus. Now we arrive back to my first assumption that the island was small and compact. The place where I was meant to be staying was a 90 minute coach ride away from the town in which I now found myself. I got on a coach. I attempted to get off a coach in the town the address of my hotel specified, and luckily asked the driver if he knew the way. The town was the wrong town. I got back on the coach and the driver eventually told me where to get off to get to the right place.

Then my power adaptor broke when I tried to plug it into the wall. This is fairly debilitating at the best of times (I know, I know, screw you – I like travelling with my technology), but added to that the hotel did not have the Wi-Fi access their listing said it did. Le sigh.

Oh, and there was only one coach back to the main town from my hotel this morning, which was at 7am. Fuck getting up at 6am.