Monday, 26 July 2010

Swollen Beef, Advanced Open Water and Monogomy

Plakias again.

Leaving Rome on May 31st I had a relatively pain free journey to Greece and was determined to stay awake on the flight as I had a 7 hour stopover at Athens airport and unlike last year where I smoked my lungs to tatters and watched Quantum of Solace on my netbook, I was determined to get some shut eye along with the other transferees on the Arrivals hall floor.

Laying down with some of those squishy ear plugs in place and my bandana pulled over my face I finally got to sleep around 2am and then some cunt shook my leg at 4.30 to say that of all the places that me and the other 2 people near me could have chosen, the spot under the stairwell was one the police didn’t like you to kip under. He seemed visibly taken aback as I sat there glaring at him but as I looked like a zombified pirate at that point I’m not surprised.

Got to Heraklion fine and went on a little shopping trip with my father and his neighbour who’d hired a car to pick me up, negating either a 100 Euro cab ride (I shit thee not) or 3 buses over a 5 hour period (for a journey that takes about 2 hours by car).

Got back to Plakias and said hello to a few old faces down the youth hostel including a Scouser that I never really had a problem with but never got on that well with either. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries while he lay in the hammock outside reception. Later that night I got blind drunk and while I vaguely remembered getting into a tussle with him in the local bar at around 2am, when I woke up the next day I had a slight bruise under my right eye but nothing more. Went back to sleep and was nursing a hangover from hell when someone from the hostel came to fix dad’s laptop and I overheard him saying that the other guy had a face like raw beef and had bled all over his pillow in the night. I staggered out of bed in just my undies to get the rest of the story and apparently I’d hit this guy so hard that his mouth was completely swollen on one side to the point that he couldn’t speak or eat normally. As I don’t lash out at people no matter how drunk I get I was slightly perturbed as to what had happened, especially as I had memory loss and wondered if I had started the fight, something I NEVER do.

As Plakias hangovers are to normal drinking what the Saharan marathon is to the London one, I again went back to bed and 2 hours later another friend of dad’s turned up to say that there was a guy down the youth hostel with a lip the size of a cricket ball and that I should maybe stay away from there for the time being.

I gave it a day and went down there the following morning and sure enough, the guy was sitting there with a huge purple lump on the upper left side of his mouth. I approached the hostel manager to say that as far as I was concerned there was no problem from my end. The Egg Princess Amy (breakfast cook) told me that the morning after I’d thumped him he came in to order his omelette and she couldn’t look at his face as it made her feel sick.

Over the next couple of days I slowly managed to piece the story together.

Last summer this guy had been gobbing off about me behind my back, something I didn’t find out about until months later from a mutual friend. This put me on edge as soon as I met him, although I kept it quiet it clearly affected what happened later when I got drunk.

He’d apparently been trying to start fights for at least a week in various bars and had also been slandering me again and telling people he wanted to beat me up when I rolled into town. We were apparently talking in the bar and I got lippy with him so he punched me in the face. After a brief scuffle my friend pulled me aside and restrained my arms and two other people grabbed him. While I immediately calmed down he broke free and while my mate was still restraining me he punched me twice more in the head (brave guy). My mate then let me go to defend myself and he said that considering the state I was in he could not believe how hard I hit this guy with just one short right jab. The other guy then pushed me down the steps and as I was so drunk I simply lay there. Instead of doing the sensible thing and kicking me, he apparently dove on top of me and tried to wrestle me. The next couple of minutes I’m told were us two “rolling around on the floor like a couple of girls”and occasionally trying to punch each other. He then stood up and offered to buy me a beer at which point we apparently shook hands, hugged and sat and had a chat at the bar (I remember virtually none of this).

My mate later told me that over the next half hour this guy’s face swelled up like someone had a bicycle pump stuck in his cheek.

Next morning he went to the communal fridge to get a cold can of lager to soothe the pain and in a moment of Shakesperian irony, he took it away to find it had my name written on it (we ID our food and booze with a marker pen to prevent people snaffling it in the night).

I apologised to the bar owner a couple of nights later who just shrugged and said “ah, he deserved it” and about a week later the bloke finally said he was sorry and then friended me on Facebook. To be fair he calmed down after this so I guess whatever was in his system was worked out through this incident and it wasn’t bad going for my first proper fist fight for about 20 years.

A jewellery shop in town is run by some bloke who thinks he’s a hippy but in fact drives an SUV despite having long hair and wearing ethnic jewellery. He’s not a Cretan (but is a Cretin) or even Greek but sells the kind of cheap stuff you’d find in Thailand or New Delhi. I bought a stone ring from him 3 weeks ago and one night while taking it off it cracked in two and lacerated my finger so badly that it pissed blood for 10 minutes. I took the broken bits back to the shop and wanted nothing more than to hear the words “sorry about that” but instead the little prick shrugged said “to be honest I don’t care”, replied “you shouldn’t ask me for money!” when I said “I’m not asking you for money” and bored me with a story of how the same thing had happened to him. When I went to walk away he demanded that I take the broken bits with me. I ignored him and stormed out, the only thing preventing me from completely losing it was that I didn’t know who this guy was connected to.

Turns out he’s no one and a local bar owner was furious when I told him what had happened (quote: “fucking malaka, selling us that shit!!!”).

I put a holiday video together of my first month in Plakias with the title “So Glad You Could Make It” with Hole’s “Celebrity Skin as the soundtrack. I’d had one or two compliments about the video and one day while showing it to a few newbies at the youth hostel, one girl said “Oh I’ve already seen that on YouTube”.

Highly flattered I asked her if she’d liked it and she replied “yes, it’s the reason I came to Plakias”.

I told the hostel owner who was so chuffed he gave me a free breakfast.

Seems I should advertise more.

My girlfriend flew out here a month after I got here and originally I was, through fate’s cruel hand, not going to be here when she arrived but would be gone the day before for a job in Greenwich,London running a summer camp for Italian teenagers. The company are called Plus and I’ve worked for them before. Penny pinching really doesn’t do justice to their methods and the job was Centre Manager in charge of 200+ kids and about 14 staff. The wages were £350 per week BUT I had to pay for my own flight back to the UK.

Taking into account the fact that realistically I’d probably have to work 7 days a week to deal with everything and the wages were about £50 a day.

The local bars in Plakias pay the girls who do the summer work more than that (plus free drinks) so I realised that spending time with my girlf was more important than working for this bunch of arseholes. I pretended that I still wasn’t going to be here and went with the pick-up guy to Heraklion airport to meet her. Expecting it to be a surprise I was checking the arrivals board when I turned round to find her standing behind me and smiling.

Turned out she’d sussed I might be in town when I had said on Facebook chat that I had a surprise for her that the driver would be delivering. She then saw me walk into the airport Arrivals area from the cafĂ© she was sitting in when I walked in and decided to outflank my surprise.

She got a job in a bar run by a friend of mine. He sat us both down at the “interview” to say that she needed to be in town for at least 2 months for him to justify taking her on. He then turned to me and said “and I don’t want no jealousy from you. Some guy buys her a drink you don’t punch him in the head”.

Somewhat surprised I replied that a gent buys a lady a drink and I would only have a problem if someone touched her arse on the dance floor. Turns out from my dad that this guy has employed women with jealous boyfriends before who have sat at one end of the bar glaring at blokes who talk to their missus for anything other than to order a bevvy.

The World Cup turned out to be a complete farce. After that cunt Green let the ball in during theUSA game I was determined to give England the benefit of the doubt but the crunch came during the England vs. Germany game. A bar called Kima on the beach front has two large, HD TVs and will show either two separate games or in this case, the same game with 2 different commentaries.

I turned up in my St George’s T-shirt and a red cross painted on my face and settled down for what I hoped would be a good game.

First problem was that England were shit right from the off. Second and biggest problem was that the TV on the German side was 3 seconds ahead of ours. This meant that due to the curtain they had placed down the middle to separate us, we could hear the German fans screaming and and cheering before we got to watch it on our side. After 2:0 I couldn’t take it any more and, while shaking like a leaf, went up my mate’s bar where I got in just as England pulled one back. My hope lasted about 15 minutes when it went to 3:1 and I left in disgust, but not quick enough to avoid the ecstatic cheering of my sausage guzzling European pals as it went to 4:1.

Sepp Blatter is a colossal twonk as the France vs. Ireland qualifier AND that fucking travesty in this game proved. The ball was clearly over the line, the cameras picked it up, the stadium audience could see it and so could the millions watching the game. The fact that this old fart wouldn’t allow goal line technology which has cost Ireland a place in the tournament and England a slightly less embarrassing score only shows that this dog really needs to be put to sleep.

While boogying in the local bar one night I was chatting to two 19 year old backpackers from New York and me being a cop was discussed as was my belief that cops need to be respected and to HELL with whether they are liked or not. Later one of the two guys came up to me on the dance floor when we were both completely hammered on beer and Raki and said “I’ve always wanted to fight a policeman” and hit me in the nuts with his fist. Luckily it wasn’t a hard punch but he just stood there grinning at me. After a few seconds disbelief I slapped his face and dragged him into the kitchen at the back of the dance floor. His mates and mine were outside the door giving it “just calm down” and wanting to know what was going on. I said I just wanted to talk to him and turning to the drunken kid went “what the fuck do you think you’re playing at?”. He burbled something about wanting to dance and when I let him walk out he took a seat at the bar and then sat there grinning at me. Still monumentally pissed off I walked over and punched him in the jaw. My Irish mate at the end of the bar clocked this and ran over, putting his arm around my shoulder and escorting me out the pub.

“Come on”

“I’m calm, little shit just hit me in the bollocks!”

“You just smacked someone!”

“He HIT me in the BOLLOCKS!”

We sat and chatted for 10 minutes until he was sure I was calm and then went back into the pub. I apologised to the bar owner who again just shrugged and the next day I discovered that what the kid wasn’t actually starting anything, he simply wanted to mosh but being pissed up hadn’t actually explained the rules to me before the nut strike. He came up to me at the hostel about 5pm to say sorry and I offered him a glass of home made black wine and said to forget it.

Two years ago I completed the Open Water scuba diving course at a dive school in Plakias. The woman who runs the school is an intense Greek woman who said “if you drink heavily the night before, you tell me. If you smoke marijuana you will NEVER dive with me again”.

So…a professional.

This summer I started Advanced Open Water with a special price for that plus Rescue Diver and Dive Master. Upon achieving all of these you can work at a dive school and be paid for it, assisting an instructor.

After a check dive with an 18 year old Dive Master I completed the Naturalist Dive, where I had to write down on slate what fish and aquatic life I had seen and pretend I loved seeing them swimming when all I really wanted to do was shoot them with a spear gun and grill them for dinner.

On the multi-level dive I went down to 23 metres and when I resurfaced the instructor was yelling at me to use my snorkel. I felt like I was drunk, couldn’t hear her properly and had the shakes so she towed me to shore by the handle on my diving jacket. Humiliating to say the least, particularly as there was a 15 year old girl on the dive who dealt with it fine.

We got back to shore and debriefed and she told me to NOT have fried eggs for breakfast, only coffee and cereal. To NOT go to bed at half past cunt in the morning every night and most importantly to NOT get trousered every night in the bar.

This incident was fairly frightening as it made me realise just how easy it is to become helpless in these situations. She told me to take a couple of days off and then call her.

I brought a copy of STAB PROOF SCARECROWS to Plakias to donate to the local library, run by ex-pats including my father. The book went missing for about 5 days and then turned up in Bungalow 1 at the Youth Hostel with the autographed first page ripped out.

Didn’t know whether to be flattered or angry.

My old police farce recently appointed a new Chief Constable so I sent him a signed copy of the book as a cheeky bit of irony.

About a week after I sent it a one star “review” cropped up on saying that you should only buy it for 5p at a jumble sale if there’s no paint to watch drying. Only problem was that the user id of the reviewer is “OLD MAN” which is the nickname for a Chief Constable.

Guess subterfuge wasn’t part of his training.

Me and the missus moved into a flat in Plakias about 3 weeks ago. It has one big room with a double bed and wardrobe, a fair sized kitchen with a fridge freezer and a bathroom with a shower. Not bad and the view is magnificent over the bay. There’s even a flight of stairs (albeit for the leg stride of Crazy Legs Crane) that lead from the beach front to just left of the front door (and when drunk it’s like the Endless Stair from Lord of the Rings).

My girlfriend has picked up a few times on a “bad vibe” in the flat and said she had nightmares a couple of times in the first week. I was dubious about this until about day 5 of us being in there when I attacked her in my sleep thinking she was an intruder

I have no memory of this but from what she’s told me she got up to use the toilet about 3am and I was kicking and twitching in my sleep. She then lay down next to me and I went “who the FUCK are you?”

She replied “I’m your girlfriend” and I went

“no you’re not, your voice is different”

She said that I then pushed her face down on the bed and pinned her arms behind her back and then, while holding her arms with one hand, grabbed her leg and span her off the bed, sending her crashing into the chest of drawers, breaking the silver neck chain we’d chosen just the day before.

I apparently shouted “YOU WON’T HURT MY GIRLFRIEND!!!” while she tried to convince me that she was my girlfriend and then I woke up to to find myself standing on the bed shouting at the coat rack near the front door. She then lay down next to me to cuddle me and while I remember her crying I am retrospectively very glad that she realised what had actually happened. She told me later that I then said “if that had been real life I would have been dead” to which she looked at me and went

“Lance, that WAS real life”.

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