Greek Unorthodox

The holiday was booked, courtesy of our local travel agents. We had booked ourselves on a Monday to Friday vacation, we were heading to the sunny resort of Kassiopi, Corfu. Now, we’d booked the holiday about a month in advance and since I hadn’t been abroad for a while I thought it wise to check whether my passport was still valid. It wasn’t.

I sent my renewal forms off immediately, and got edgier by the day as day after day my passport wasn’t returned. I decided to err on the side of caution and opted to fork out for the rush order and travel to the ‘nearest’ passport office to collect it in person. The problem is the nearest passport office is across the border in Wales, so I’d have to pay the toll for the bridge, and the extortionate price of the rush order. This holiday was getting expensive.

I had paid for the holiday in full using my annual bonus, eaten into my spending money to pay for my passport, I didn’t have much left for Euro’s. Ah well, it would be just the two of us, we wouldn’t need a lot of money to have a good time.

I made an appointment to collect my passport and on my day off I drove all the way to Newport to collect it. Since Billie was at a loose end so I invited him along with me. We spent most of the journey stuck in traffic listening to the same Beverley Knight album on repeat, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to that album again.

Even with all the traffic we had planned to make a day of it, it was a nice sunny day. I’d actually forgotten about the toll for the bridge before setting off, I had absolutely no cash on me and pulled up at a window where they weren’t able to take my debit card. Oops, I had to write them a check for a measly £5.20, then we were on our way.

We arrived at Newport and there wasn’t really much to do, we explored the high street, went in and out of a few shops, laughed at the announcement on the HMV shop window that declared that the god awful rap group ‘Goldie Looking Chain’ would be performing there the following day, then headed to the passport office.

It was all pretty simple, no different to queuing up in the post office, wait to be called forward, give your details, claim you passport and then go on your way. It was just such a long day for such a small task. I find it funny that I had to travel to another country to collect my passport. Anyway, after the day trip I was all set for our holiday to start.

We would be flying from Gatwick, we were still friendly enough with Katy that we could call on her for a favour of taking us to the airport, she’d continue on to stay a couple days with her girlfriend. We’d also arrange for Ryan to pick us up when we got back.

It’s around this time that our little gay group that had always been pretty united started to grow apart. Ryan, since getting back from his travels was setting up his own business, he’d also found love with his partner Daniel. Katy was in a long distance relationship with her girlfriend so didn’t spend much time socialising with us anymore. Emma had moved out of our town and didn’t come out as much anymore. As for Lara and I, we were already pretty settled, almost humorously like an ‘old married couple’ already.

We got to the airport in good time, thanked Katy for the lift and went to check in. So far so good, Lara and I had talked before the holiday about previous travels and it wasn’t long before I discovered that she was a nervous flier. Lucky for us, I love to fly. If that hadn’t been the case it could have been a nightmare, we could both have been going to pieces as we had to board.

Still, airports have that way of making you nervous until you’re finally in your seat and waiting for take off, so I didn’t really settle into a state of calm until then. Once no longer anxious about the possibility of missing our flight I was excitedly looking forward to landing in Corfu. Lara wouldn’t relax until the travelling part of the journey was done with.

When we arrived it was bright and sunny, almost midday and the heat hit us as soon as we got off the plane. A very promising start to the holiday. We soon went through baggage claim and found our onward transfer. Our resort couldn’t have been much further away from the airport on this small island. We were put in a taxi with our luggage and the driver drove us to the north of the island, we took the coastal route. The roads were narrow and winding and at times there wasn’t anything separating the road from a sheer drop off the cliff-side into the sea.

When we finally arrived we were left to our own devices to find our apartment, it was a little confusing. After some asking around in the typical british manner of not attempting the local language and instead opting for speaking English much louder and slower than necessary, we found our apartment. We quickly unpacked and decided to explore the surroundings.

There was a small pool just across the road that we had the use of by staying in this small apartment complex, a short road down to a small harbour lined with bars and restaurants, a couple souvenir shops, a coastal path that led around to a shingle beach and that was about it.

It was certainly a very relaxed holiday and considering that it was such a short break it was surprising how quickly we formed a routine. We’d eat out each evening at a different place, hang out sunbathing by the pool or have a swim if it got too hot, read a book, go for a walk, have a few drinks of an evening. Whenever we had enough of being out in the sun we’d head back to our apartment to do something more energetic for an hour or two. We had packed our bedroom accessories and certainly enjoyed the holiday to it’s fullest in that capacity, at least until it was interrupted by the inconveniences of being a girl. It was a nice relaxing week, neither of us wanted to go home.

Although that being said, we didn’t mean it literally. So we’d paid close attention to the noticeboard in our apartment block and would be waiting for our airport transfer with plenty of time to spare. We were getting a very late flight back so this meant that we were waiting out by the road late at night with our luggage not really sure whether to expect a taxi (like we’d had on the way up there) or a coach like we had seen throughout the week.

The hours ticked past and no one showed up to collect us. I attempted to call the contact numbers on the notice board to chase us where our transfer was, my mobile wouldn’t connect with any of the Greek numbers, nightmare. We tried to get a taxi from the village square and there wasn’t one to be had, it was too late for anyone to be working in this sleepy village. We tried a bar and using their pay phone, do you think we could find a taxi driver who could understand English at that time of night?

Lara was in full panic mode, worried about missing our flight home. I was worried too. I tried my mobile again and called the UK contact number from the notice board this time, success it finally connected. The useful rep on the other end of the phone said she’d try getting hold of the local holiday rep and would call us back.

It was really cutting it close, we were more than an hour from the airport, and we had 90 minutes before check in would close. In turn we both called our parents back in the UK and prepared them for the possibility that we might miss our flight. By this point Lara was in tears, I managed to keep my cool, this was one of those situations beyond your control, we’d just have to see it out.

My parents were surprised about how calm I was, they sympathised with Lara and the state that she was in. I had a text message from Ryan saying that he was on his way to the airport, I let him know that there was a very real possibility that we might not get on our flight, but I’d keep him informed. My only worry was about how I would be able to afford another flight if we missed this one, sure I’d be able to claim it back on the travel insurance afterwards, but that didn’t help with the fact that I had no money at the moment.

Eventually our local holiday rep contacted us, he was sending a taxi out to us. However not before he had told us that we missed the transfer, that a coach had been and gone. I had a bit of an argument with him since we’d been in the apartment all day and on the roadside for the complete duration of the transfer window, there was no way we would have missed it. The coach had been by 2 hours before the transfer window, no wonder we missed it!

To add insult to injury Lara had to use her last fifty Euro’s to pay for the taxi back to the airport. We arrived with just minutes to spare, got our bags checked in and flew through security and boarded the plane. I was so relieved, I text Ryan and my parents to let them know we’d got our plane in a few hours we’d be home. No sooner as we’d sat down fastened our seat belts than the aircrew announced a delay.

Somehow two people had unwittingly gotten onto the wrong plane (how the hell does that happen?) and needed to be moved to their correct flight which was going to Manchester at a similar time our flight was departing. It wouldn’t be as simple as just moving the two passengers, they would have to find their luggage too which had also somehow found it’s way onto the wrong plane. We were warned that this could take up to two hours!

Lucky for us, the bags were found in minutes and we were cleared for take off with the minimum delay. Our luck was changing. We touched back down in the UK and met Ryan, he had picked us up in his newly acquired handyman van recently so we squeezed into the front cab and he drove us back home. It gave us a rare chance to really catch up on the journey and it was great, Ryan will always be one of my best friends, whether we stay in touch or not.

This is the last time I remember being completely content when Lara and I were together, the passion still in tact, the trust equally present. When we returned we went back to our old married couple routine, spending more nights in than nights out, comfortable really. It wasn’t long before we’d get more excited about squeezing each others hard to reach spots than tearing each others clothes off. We were about to be hit by the curse of Lesbian Bed Death (LBD) Oh dear.

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