Goodness gracious me, this is Blog 200 of this series! However did I get so chatty in my old age?
Lipon (Greek for ‘well’). The day started off at sparrowfart and I was never an early riser. Up anytime before eight/eight thirty and I’m kaput for the rest of the day. However it had to be if we were to be in Heraklion for ten so it was up at six-thirty.
First of all a slight detour to Haralambos’s garage for petrol and to check the tyres. Douglas put 30euro worth of petrol in the tank and it didn’t even fill it. Also it was all the money we had on us except for 5euro I had in change and 5euro he had. He intended to stop at the bank at the top of the hill and get money from the machine. Fat chance. The bank is virtually opposite the school, it was time for pupils to arrive and you have never seen so many cars and buses in Vamos. There was no way he was going to be able to park and get to the bank and it took a good few minutes to thread our way through the traffic and to drive on. The journey itself was unadventurous, cloudy sky and the sea grey and like lead. The Greeks say like oil (lathi poo lene) but as we approached the hospital we hit our second bit of road chaos. You have never seen so many cars there. They were double, in some cases triple, parked a mile down the road and half a mile in the other direction. I don’t know if the car park was full. As we only had that 10euro we weren’t going to try it. Douglas dropped me off at the right entrance, said ‘See you in half an hour’ and drove off to park. Now the chaos really began. The foyer was packed. I don’t know how many people were there but there were two different sets of grills: one to make future appointments, the other, which we didn’t know at the time, to pay (3euro) and register for the day’s appointments. This was a new piece of Greek red tape. They keep on thinking up these things, obviously to keep civil servants occupied. Being Greece the noise was horrendous, every one of a hundred and fifty people all speaking at once, some of them very loudly. When we left the hospital two hours later the first number of tickets had reached 946, the second 450!
Anyway, here is Douglas back and we wend our way to the heart clinic, up the first corridor, packed, every plastic chair sat upon, into our corridor, more than packed, people sitting, people standing, including us until a middle age lady got up and insisted I take her chair. No sign of any activity in Doctor Goldentummy’s little room. An hour later Douglas has gone back to reception to collect a ticket, having been informed by now that we needed it and I have changed seats to sit around the corner out of the sun but, on returning to our corridor, what do we see? The list is up on the good doctor’s door and my name is the first on it – and we’ve missed it! Not to worry, I was seen five minutes later and given the all clear. So my next appointment for a check up is the 10th November, 2011. I’m just pleased it isn’t once more on the first of the month.
On the way out, still heaving with humanity, Douglas stopped to validate our being there, there now being only eight numbers ahead of his so worth waiting. By now I am starving so he trotted downstairs to the shop and between us we demolished a packet of chocolate orange biscuits.
Earlier in the day while we still standing waiting, before the good lady offered me her seat, I said to Douglas, ‘Isn’t human vanity amazing?’ and he knew exactly what I was talking about. Seated opposite was an old gel missing quite a few upper teeth to the right and a few lower ones to the left which must have made chewing rather difficult but what really grabbed the attention were her legs. She didn’t have very cross veins, she had veins so screamingly angry they stood out in great knots like pebbles beneath the skin, so ugly, and yet, and yet, she had painted her ragged toenails, silver!