A jump to the other side of the world.
I ended up in Rhodes, a Greek island that’s a good punt off the coast of Turkey … why not?
The answer is simple: I woke up one morning in Thailand and didn’t feel like being in Asia anymore. More precisely, I wanted to be somewhere else.
Somewhere else — perhaps one of the most exciting terms in any language.
For some reason I began thinking of Greece, so I scanned the cheapest Airbnb offerings there and found a house on the island of Rhodes for 500 bucks.
$500 for an entire house?
So I booked some $400 direct flights out of Singapore, and we completed our unexpected slip out of Asia.
Our arrival in Rhodes wasn’t optimal. It was raining. Our rental car company forgot to pick us up from the airport. They also, apparently, forgot to pick up their phones.
When they finally answered around an hour later they sent a guy over to pick me up. He wouldn’t let my wife or kids come with us.
“Only the driver,” he said.
This deal was sketchy from the start. Not only was the price over twice as cheap as everyone else –$225 for a one month rental — but everything about what was happening told me to expect some kind of scam.
After meeting the guy who runs the company my confidence did not rise at all. In an odd move, I opted to get additional insurance. It was pretty clear that I would not be getting my 1,200 Europe deposit back if I didn’t. Also, the guy promised that if I got the insurance he wouldn’t even look over the car when I returned it — that was his big selling point.
However, even with the insurance the price still came to that of the next cheapest competitor, and it is my hope that selling the insurance was the biggest scam this guy had in his repertoire.
We got the car. We made it to the house. Then I looked around:
I was in someone else’s version of paradise.
It was my wife’s.
As I mentioned last summer, my vision of paradise looks a little something like Kinmen — a pair of islands two kilometers off the coast of mainland China that are administered by the ROC.
However, my wife’s vision of paradise is a beautiful Mediterranean island. Preferably one that is a part of Greece.
During our first incident of travel together, my wife — who was already pregnant — and I entered northern Greece from Albania one night. We made our way to the train station in Thessaloniki, took a look around, and I said, “Let’s go to Istanbul.”
My words landed on my wife like a soggy sack of shit.
Greece was the one destination that she was looking forward to going on those travels. She didn’t really have much interest in wintertime Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania. She wanted to go to a Greek island.
But we were getting woefully low on cash and viewed Istanbul as a place where we could replenish our funds. So I promised my wife that we would go to a Greek island for our honeymoon. We weren’t even engaged yet when I said this, so it came off as additionally … romantic — so much so that she agreed and we got on the next train to Istanbul.
As it turned out we didn’t find work there — so we went to Iraq and Syria instead. We also didn’t really go to a Greek island for our honeymoon — Hannah was too pregnant by that time to move, let alone travel.
But I’ve never forgotten my promise. In the autumn of 2016 we went to Cyprus. That sort of worked.
It worked to the point that when I was sitting in Krabi, Thailand a month or so ago deciding where we would go after a short stop in Malaysia, I remembered how happy my wife was on the Greek side of Cyrprus. I wanted to feel like I did when seeing her like that again.