get lost! ...on scooters in greece.

19 June 2013

for those that are new in town, i've been blogging for about 8 years - for the majority of my around-the-world adventures. some of my most bizarre and comical travel stories were recorded on my very first blog - a account, where i couldn't even post accompanying photos. this story first appeared in 2006, but i thought it was worth sharing again - my dad says this is one of his favourite travel stories of mine. enjoy! 

so there i was in greece. i was travelling with eight other people, doing volunteer work throughout eastern europe. we retreated to the modest island of aegina, a short ferry ride from athens, to enjoy a few days of recreation after three fairly turbulent months of travel. five people had rented a jeep, and another rented a scooter, so i decided to dish out the ten euros necessary to join them on a scooter. i arrived at the rental place, and communicated with the shop owner, who hardly spoke any english, that i'd like to rent a scooter. i forfeited my ten euros, and put my handbag in the seat compartment of a shiny blue scooter. for reasons unbeknownst to me, the shopkeep seemed to have a change of heart, and ushered me over to a smaller, rustier motorbike, complere with a stylish basket on the front for my purse. considering it was much smaller, and obviously much older, i was able to talk the guy down to only eight euros to rent it for the day.

off i went.

the group of us had an amazing time, riding along the dusty roads that hugged the island's coast, with sun shining on the gulf of aegina and the wind blowing in our hair. we stopped frequently to take photos, and had just seen the southernmost point on the island, when i decided to change positions and take up the rear of our little jeep-scooter-motorbike convoy.

just as we were approaching a curve in the road, i hit a bump and heard a loud and unsettling crack. seconds later, i realized that something was dragging on my bike, scraping along the pavement at full speed. i hit the brakes and tried to steer my bike to the shoulder, when i felt my seat drop about 4 inches, causing the entire frame of the bike to hit the asphalt and skid to a stop.

unscathed but a little bit startled, i got off the bike and assessed the damage. well, rust had so overtaken the bike that the frame itself had snapped - the bike was practically in two pieces.

after about fifteen minutes of deliberation, and trying in vain to send telepathic messages to my friends to come back to rescue me, i decided to start walking to the nearest town. it is worth noting that at two in the afternoon on a sandy island in greece, with the thermometer reading thirty-eight degrees, the last thing you want to do is walk. anywhere. ever. it took me forty-five minutes to get to aegina town.

the bike, just minutes before meeting its rusty greek demise.

parched, definitely sunburned, and beginning to loathe the grecian sun, i went to various shops asking to use the phone, but was turned away about ten times. why? i have no idea. finally, i found a young waiter who had pity on me, and explained the situation. he graciously offered to call the rental guy and speak to him in greek. the shopkeep told the waiter to relay the message that he would come pick me up, but the bike was probably just out of petrol.

yes. out of petrol. what would i, a young foreign girl, know about motorbikes anyway?

the shopkeep eventually turns up, and i jump in his truck, and direct him to where the bike was lying wounded on the roadside. the entire way from aegina town to the bike, the man repeated in broken english, put gas in. put gas in. unfortunately it didn't seem that he understood the phrase 'BROKEN IN HALF', no matter how many hand gestures i used.

we reached the bike, and the man hopped out to have a look. ohhhh he says, scratching his head. my fault. my fault. 

i wanted to scream, but i also wanted a lift back to our hotel in that truck, so i nodded my head and tried to feign sympathy. i helped him lift the injured bike into the back of the truck, and drove in silence back to the town where we were staying.

he parked the truck beside the rental shop, and looked over at me. another motorbike? he asked.

sure, i said.

why not? 

aegina island - greece. 2006

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