Saturday, September 04, 2010

The trip to Greece - Part III

Recap: It all started with this Greece trip-Part I , then the twists and turns continued even in the next part Greece trip-PartII.

So reluctantly we went to his friend's place. It was a shop and I don't remember what they were selling. It was dark inside. He took us to a small dingy room on top, to which there was ladder inside the shop. He made us sit in that small room and went down to talk to his friend. We all had a big question mark on our faces, to what were we up to. After a while he returned with a sorry face and told us that his friend couldn't give his car. We were inf act happy for that and said it was ok with us as we had changed our plan to go by train...Then he started telling about his story...may be he was guilty about his current situation..so he told his whole saga of how he became a refugee in Greece after having traveled many countries.

We were surprised to know about how corrupt the Greece government officials were by cheating the UN on funds allocated for refugees and not giving the same to the refugees, instead harassing them.

Strangely he had some views against Islam and that's when we started talking and trying to argue over that. He is definitely a well read person. He said he was a part-time journalist when he was in Dhaka, and that was evident with the logical views he had. His dream was to go to France and start a fresh life. He proclaims himself to be a good drummer and can sing also. The situation was getting lighter with all that cool talk and just at the moment when we were about to leave. He stopped us and invited all three of us for dinner. Now somewhere at the back of my mind..it was like the crocodile trapping monkey story for me...He was requesting us repeatedly...but we declined the offer very gently saying we had to go Kalamata and we had our return ferry booked. And also we were getting late to catch the train from Athens. So he gave up on that and gave me a box of biscuits as a parting gift. We then rushed back to our hostel.

*Upset 1*
This train to Kalamata was supposed to start from a station which was quite far off from the main station,Larissa, and has a different route. We decided to walk till that station. It could have easily been about 3-4 kms. After all that walking with heavy luggage, finally when we reached the place we discover that the station was abandoned long back and no trains run through that. Imagine how our situation was like, walked 4kms with almost 15kgs of luggage each. This was like a big blow to us. We kept aside our kanjoosgiri(stinginess) and then immediately took a taxi to the main station. There was only one train running on that night which was to Thessaloniki. Now as usual we wanted to skip the night stay at hotel by sleeping in the train which was free us. So we checked the chart..it halts at a place called Larisa(different one) around 3am. And there was a train from there back to Athens around 4am.So we thought this was the best way to spend our night.
In all this hurry we couldnt have our dinner, It was the same biscuits given by Shabeer we had for that night.. I take this blog as an opportunity to thank him. And I feel really bad to doubt his character. Shabeer, I wish you realize your dream of starting a fresh life, InshaAllah


*Sexual+Racial Discrimination*
We then boarded into the first class compartment in the train.. There were 2 ladies in our cabin who were very scared looking at us. Right from the time we got into the train they were very skeptical about us. One of them even complained to the railway police thinking we were some jerks....
The police later confirmed her that we had valid tickets with us. They were so scared of us that they didnt even close the door of the cabin and kept lights on. The older one was awake all the time :O. It was very odd to us also. We just ignored her and slept off. It was only after our station,Larisa, came and we were packing our stuff the lady showed some relief on her face. She was so happy that we were leaving, with a smiling face she said good bye.

*Upset 2*
Little did we know that the return train from Larisa to Athens was not free and actually costs 20 Euros/tkt we would have stayed back in some hostel only which costs just 8 Euros. We were so irritated on our fate but couldnt help ourselves than to stay at the Larisa station waiting hall till 8am. We couldnt even sleep peacefully there as every other minute someone would open the door letting the cold wind from outside to gush in waking us up. At 8 we get into in this train which was going to Thessaloniki and finally reached there at around 11 am.


*Encounter with Fake Police*
The Thessaloniki station is huge. We were happy to find this automatic luggage lockers, which charges just 3 euros for some 8 hrs. So we decided to dump our luggage into this and rest somewhere. While coming outside as usual it was our habit that we visit toilets to avoid urgency issues later. This station had toilet in the cellar floor..when we were getting down the stairs... 2 thugs bumped into us.. stopping us from getting down the stairs..one of them showed us a badge and before we could see  what it was...immediately kept in his pocket and said they were police.. these guys were in no uniform also..I read about these fake police racket in Greece and have warned Swad & Venky about this before.. Then Swadheen spoke out saying.."we would like to have a look at your id card once again as we are well aware of these fake police..who show fake id cards and run away with our money"..With this those guys understood that we were well aware of this fraud..and asked to just show the passport..they saw the passports..dint even went through visas properly they said our visas were ok and so we can go....but they dint show their ids ..and immediately disappeared.

So readers be aware of these fake police..have your cash in your body pouch or secret pockets and not in purses. Never show anyone how much you are holding.

Now we had this deadline of coming back to station at 7 to collect our luggage else we had to cough up 6 Euros more for each locker.
We had a sumptuous meal of Turkish kebaps and slept the whole day along the concrete beach of Thessaloniki..In the evening when we knew it was time to leave.. slowly walked back to the station.

*Chaos in Thessaloniki station*
Now this episode in Thessaloniki station had many interesting encounters...We took out our luggage and went upstairs to the platform..where the Athens train would come..found a bench and starting munching our bread and ketchup. Then this group of Palestines ..who were staring us for long time..slowly approached us..and one of them started...now this conversation is  the best..he was talkin in arabic..we were talking in english..i took this as an opportunity to show of my little arabic knowledge here.. He asked us if we bought ticket..we said we have this  eurail pass and we dont have to buy any..he was very surprised with this..could see his eyes wide open..and asked us again..whether we can buy any number of free reservations..to which we said..with one pass only one reservation..then he left to join his group.. we somehow werent comfortable there so we left and came downstairs once we were done with our dinner..and sat along with the many passengers in the waiting hall..
Now in this hall every 15minutes some policeman would come and ask us to show passport..and everytime the same question why you came..what visa ..what documents...and what are you..we used to say the same old that we were students and tourists..to which one Police even said..tourist or terrorist??? of course he was joking..
One police even asked..what is there in Greece..why you people come here..To which we said..we read a lot about the great history of Greece..the architecture blah blah..so when they understand from our knowledge and english that we are educated people..they would leave us..
Atleast some 10 different times..police asked us to show us our documents in the station itself......after sometime a police came to us..but this time for a change he asked us a favor..to help in translation..
then our man Swadheen entered the scene...he was taken to a seperate room where this guy with no documents..from some unknown land was kept...most probably he should be from afghanistan...as expected he didnt know any word in english..
Now readers, if a guy with some valid document is caught roaming illegally in a foriegn land he'll be deported back to his country..but this guy has nothing..so where do you think the police will deport him?..
As told by Swadheen the discussion was like this
Swad: Whats your name?
He : hmmm...thinks for a while..says XYZ
Swad: whats your age?
He: hmmm..again thinks for a while..ok you may write 19... (from no angle was 19)
Swad: where do you live?
He: Musafir Khana (some place for refugees)..
even our man dint know the translation of this in english then...
so that's how the discussion was like ..

*The Royal heir of Kashmir*
Parallely another interesting scene  was happening at waiting hall..an elderly looking Indian comes and sits next to us (me & Venky).
We smile at him..and he gives back a reluctant smile back..then he asks so you from India ..what are do you doing here...we ..again the same story..so it went on..
Now comes to the best part of this conversation..after chatting for sometime he tells us his secret when we inquired about his status. He claims himself to be the royal heir of Kashmir..he says he is grandson of the last king of Kashmir..
We were baffled when he said this.. then Swadheen came back from his translation activity..very excited..jumps in to this conversation..by saying hello to this man..and extending his hand for a hand shake...
'The royal heir'.. looked at him very seriously and said..being an Indian this is how you greet people..is this our culture :O..
our man's face was like diffused bulb now.. said sorry..and put namaste...to which again 'The royal heir' arrogantly didnt  respond..Then he went on with his story saying.. that a lot of people want to kill him..and there were many assassination attempts..so he is on run now..He was earlier in UK..and now he is going to Iran..He was going to a catch a train to Turkey and from there will go to Iran..and will execute his mission kashmir plans.

When he left we couldnt stop laughing out loud on all that..the afghani musafir and the kashmir prince stories...just only to be interrupted by the Palestine group.. this time they got a very old man..who looked just the hairdresser in this video
..and asked if we could give him 20 Eur or the free ticket. I dont know about Swadh & venky..but I was still laughing on what all we were going through...We told him very humbly that we cannot help him.and then they left...
Finally we got into the train to Athens..this time into 2nd class..and it was all crowded.. It was very difficult to sleep also as the seats were not reclining ones..somehow managed the whole night..and the next mornign got down at Athens..freshened up at the station toilets... We were so tired of the whole trip..and all the luggage..we decided to call it off..and leave back to Patras...After some time we got into the train to Kiato. It's a small train. As we were apraoching Kiato, out of curiosity we asked the ticket collector if we could get any cars for rent at Kiato as we want to go to down south. He then suggested to get down at the station, Corinthos, before Kiato and from there we can get a train to a place called Nafplio. He said we could easily get cars in Nafplio and from there we can take the coastal road to down south. So without thinking twice we got down at the Korinthos..and got into the train to Nafplio..
















While going to Nafplio we were little worried cos this was never in our plan before, had no idea about trains back to Kiato also..We just decided it on the spur of the moment..Also it was very cloudy that day..it looked gloomy everywhere..a cool and nice weather to enjoy the view..but if only everything was planned...

Now what  happened in Nafplio? Did we get a car there?  Why did the Greek police molest me? Why was there a transporter like car chase?...

To be continued...

13 comments:

  1. this was definitely the best post. i was laughing so much!
    i have cancelled my greek plans. what so much police !

    the kashmir heir was funny. he confides in strangers, people want to kill him.

    and the why you come here question? how paranoid!

    btw, i think passports are more valuable than cash. and valuable not juts to you.
    what if those fake police had run away with your passports?

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  2. WD:) I am glad you liked it. Hey dont cancel your trip plans. But yea these things happen specially to we guys....who look suspicious :P...Greece has many islands..and most of them are very beautiful..Crete, the cyclades..you should visit them.
    ..We roamed only in the mainland..

    kashmir heir.. seriously at that moment..we cldnt believe our ears..in this post i just gave a brief..but he talked more..

    ..why here..was more common in Greece for us.WE had to tell them whats there in Greece..

    yea you are very right on passports..very important..more than money..they use them to trafficking people illegally...In Spain there are these guys..who steal your passport..and someone wld say he will help u..and then he will set a deal between u and the thief..for some money..

    if the fake police had run away then..what will we do...same like the Afghani Musafir only :)

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  3. I'm sorry for u ...I never knew u got molested ....

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  4. Mr.Anon :) I know u from bangalore :P.
    You will know about the story..in the next post..

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  5. hahahahahaha.....waiting for the next one now... u should write humor, u really project it in a right way and come up with amazing incidents (true ones :P)

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  6. Palak, thanks for the kind words..

    those r straight from heart :)..will post the contd. also..final one..havent yet started writing it..

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  7. heehee..

    i want to confess one thing first,i had been to your blog many a times before but always found your posts too long to go through .
    BUT THEY ARE WORTH GOING THROUGH !!
    really informative and hilarious...i was imagining the ladies whom you guys had scared !!!
    tourist or terrorist !!! really funny!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Nikki..
    please read the about blog..I have given explanation to that weakness of mine...I am working on it[a professional way to say]

    and am so happy that you liked it..well ya along with humour want i to be informative as people can use it for their travel..

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  9. Was lazy to read the long post, but after where you left off on Greece Part II, had to read part III too.. and now I can't wait for part IV... molested, car chase.... darnn u do captivate ur readers.. how many more parts are there?

    Greece was not really in my agenda of places to visit, and after reading all this am sure it never will be:) Moreover I think I've seen enough of it through this blog, thanks! Cops scary!

    Wondering how u guys decided on Nafplio that was out of ur plan, after all these incidents.. crazy dudes! but keep the stories coming, it's fun reading:)

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  10. @Hasi
    I know the posts get longer..but cant help..i feel every incident is imp and is connected..so cant leave anything..

    hehe i know what u all criminal minds like..so left that in that way so u stay tuned..

    Crazy yes we were...all set to explore and adventure :)

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  11. this sure is an informative post to all the eurotrippers. i hope to go some day! lots of my friends have been to entire europe, so i can connect to your experiences.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Vee,
    Thanks for droppping by.. yep, that is teh reason I have written about prices,routes in my post so that people can know about things there

    ReplyDelete
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