What Am I Doing Here? Wondering How to Get Home!

15 August 2012
Orei, Greece

One of the great things about living in Morocco is the proximity to Europe and as a result of that – the opportunities for travel. Low cost airlines like Ryan Air, Easy Jet, and Jet4You offer cheap getaways from Morocco to a bunch of fantastic destinations.  Europe is at the doorstep and with AirArabia – so is Turkey.

That serves to partially answer what I’m doing here on Greece’s largest island, Evia – in the little port town of Orei. As I mentioned in my last column, I caught a couple of 30 Euro Ryan Air flights to get to Greece – one to Milan and then another to Thessaloniki. The only problem was that I didn’t like the cost of the return flights so I didn’t book one. I’m spoiled – sometimes it works in my favor and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case – the jury is still out.

Fishing Boat in Pigahdi, Greece image by Vago DamitioI’ve been enjoying the hell out of floating around the Aegean on my friend Graham’s sailboat.  I do most of the cooking and figure that pays my fare for that portion. We eat a fair amount of spaghetti and canned meat sandwiches and the victuals tend to be long life since the boat’s refrigerator is far from efficient.  As we float around and visit these little Greek seaside towns, I am completely charmed by Greek village life.  Each evening at around 9 pm, everyone tends to come out and head to the waterfront tavernas. All ages are represented from toddlers to geriatrics.  People sit, have a coffee, drink a beer with friends, talk about the day to day events of life (I’m guessing because my Greek goes about as far as hello and thank you) – or maybe they sit with friends around a big bottle of ouzo and eat mezes (Greek tapas) while laughing and joking. Sometimes they even break into song and dance.

Meanwhile, on the water, the fishermen get their boats ready and sit in them with their wives. The wives don’t stay behind when the fishermen head out – instead it’s husband and wife teams heading out to sea as the sun goes down.  It makes me miss my wife – though through the power of Facebook, I know that she and our daughter are doing just fine.  Greece is remarkably similar to the Atlas Mountain town we live in – it’s just surrounded by water and the people have a bit more relaxed vibe about them. I’ve heard from a few expats here that doing business in Greece is about the same as doing business in Morocco – lots of paperwork and lots of corruption.

And while I can go on and on about this – I’m still not sure how the hell I’m going to get back to Morocco. Flights are expensive this time of the year. I’ve spoken with a few cruise ship companies but none of them go to Morocco – so a press trip seems to be out of the question. The most exciting and perhaps affordable option is to go the long way – take a train to Romania and Hungary and then fly to Spain to catch the ferry – or alternatively take the train all the way to Spain. I like the idea – but my wife is going to kill me if I take an additional three weeks to get home…still, it might be the best option – in the interest of saving money, of course.

I really hate flying. While the budget airlines are a great resource, I’d rather go by boat, by train, even by bus if I have the option since airline security, draconian baggage laws, uncomfortable seats – all of that sucks. I mean sure, as Lewis CK says “You’re sitting in a seat flying through the air…” – that is amazing – especially for $40 but I’d rather avoid it if possible.

From Greece, I’m going to head to Turkey – I’m still not totally sure how I’m getting there though it seems that a bus or ferry from Volos to Thessaloniki and then a ferry to Chios followed by a ferry to Cesme and a bus to Izmir. A few reasons to go to Turkey – one is that I love it, two is to activate the warranty on my wife’s broken computer (which I’ve brought along to hopefully exchange) and three is to do some business that hopefully will yield fantastic results – along the way, I’m hoping to see a few friends.

Alright, you’ve caught me- I always drag my feet when it’s time to get back home to Morocco. I miss my family but the truth is that when I’m out of Morocco, I almost never miss the country itself.  That might be why I’ve set myself this very difficult task of figuring out how to get back home.

I’ll let you know more next week….

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Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook