Slightly jaded and ever so slightly brown...

Trip Start Jun 28, 2006
Trip End Jul 13, 2006

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

After about five weeks stuck in an office at the National Probation Service Cumbria HQ, it was time to get out and see more of the world! My colleague Sarah quit the same day I left, so we sauntered into Carlisle together for coffee, past a travel agent advertising cheap fortnights in Rhodes... et voila!

I'm just back from two weeks of 40+ degrees, snorkelling, swimming, sunbathing (using the SPF, don't worry!), eating wonderful local food (had to resort only once to a western style hot dog)....and of course reading several novels (Ukrainian tractors etc, The Accidental, Harry Potter, The Island and my favourite Cloud Atlas).

I took my first ever dive - just a 20 minute introductory dive but absolutely loved it. Not at all scary although I'm not that proficient at doing anything other than sinking to the bottom at this stage. Saw a lot of jellyfish (all my friends got stung), there's a bit of a jellyfish epidemic on at the moment in the Mediterranean due to overfishing of their natural predators etc.

Spent a few days wandering around Rhodes town - wonderful ruins (will post pix some time soon) and the Old Town is superb.

Sharing a room (cheap deal: twin room) is never easy in the heat, so managed to take a couple of side trips by myself just to get some space. I took a hydrofoil for a couple of hours to Kos - home of Hippocrates and his mates. Again, the ruins were spectacular, the people friendly, the day hot...

With Sarah and two young guys (23, who's 23 any more?) from near Manchester (they were in the room next door), we hired a car a couple of times and drove around Rhodes - took most of the day to do the bottom half and ditto with the top half. It mostly looks dry and scrubby, with some pine forests and some lush market garden type areas. The Aegean side is very windy, but we did manage to jump in for a swim.

On the Mediterranean side, it was quite calm. Visited Lindos (lovely ancient city) twice, including snorkelling around with the local castle/fort looming overhead.

We were staying in Faliraki, which has had some very bad press in England over recent years. However, apparently they've put some effort into clamping down on bad behaviour and I really enjoyed myself. Sarah wasn't into going out at night, so I trooped along on the Cosmos holiday bar crawl twice (we got our own t-shirts, which we then dealt to with ingenuity and originality), plus I went out with the Manchester lads a few times too. The dancing was fantastic and there were a few moments when certain Antipodeans were seen to be at least three sheets to the wind (ahhh, things don't change much!).

We got on really well with our Cosmos rep, Louise, and ended up going out for dinner with her and the regional boss, Anna, in a little village near Faliraki. Went to a local bar and then a seafood restaurant (exquisite) before winding up the night doing karaoke (you know I can't resist!) at a local hotel. (Yep, I won a cap, which I left for the next hapless room-dweller).

We were staying at the Gorgona - self-catering apartments (a bedroom/living room/kitchen in one plus a bathroom) run by two Greek brothers - Tassos & George. Tassos and George were great guys, very tolerant, relaxed and went out of their way to be helpful. We spent quite a few nights round the bar at the Gorgona - our first week there were only about six guests (start of the season, I guess) and we all got to know each other really well.

Watched the World Cup accompanied by a free barbecue and several bottles of the local brew, Mythos beer.

I'm now in correspondence with the Cosmos team to see if there are any vacancies. Got back to my dreary basement flat today sans job and while the temping agency has two office positions I'll have interviews for next week, I really wouldn't mind working in the Mediterranean for the rest of the summer!

We had a bit of a delay getting back - was supposed to fly out yesterday at 4.30pm, but a fire engine spraying foam around our plane over a delay of a few hours led to us all being treated to a rather fabulous five star hotel meal (some of the English visitors were overheard complaining about the lack of chips and how it was too fancy) before we had to sit around till boarding at 2.30 this morning Greek time.

Finally got back to Blighty around 5am English time, Sarah drove up from Manchester and I have managed a couple of hours sleep.

I've discovered the local business service centre has free internet, so until I get a job, I might actually have time to do some correspondence, although I'm not sure about downloading pix here.

Oh and I'm officially pretty much flat broke. So I guess unless Cosmos want to fly me over to Greece, I may not be venturing far for a while... although there's always the Visa!
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jamlady on

The Shaw's are jealous
Hi Lee
You sound fabulous and I am very envious as I last travelled in Rhodes in 1984!
It is of course bloody cold here in Qtn - and I am huddled over the heater and cursing my latest power/gas bill and wishing I was living in a carefree hot clime.
The jam business is going well - we are selling to Singapore and Fiji and looking to Hong Kong and Oz in the next couple of months.
Hal is of course away in Thailand/Taiwan/Singapore/Malaysia for two weeks.
We had a tremendous family holiday in Stewart island in the school hols (not quite your Greek Island sort of holiday) and caught lots of delicious blue cod, lit bonfires on the beach in the rain, fed Wekas, lots of walking and scavenger hunts on the beach. Aaah just lovely.
Unlike your ouzo drinking escapades - I have been in hospital with an ulcer. Seems ridiculous but have had to revisit my lifestyle and take a little more care of myself.
I see Cara a lot as Georgia mcNeill is a permament fixture in our home during the weekends. Cara is just a lovely mother and has a great big happy chap in her now nearly 1 year old Sam. She says Hi!
Lee - I am hoping you can help me. I have a friend who wants to put in a submission to your replacement at QLDC. QLDC is calling for tenders for a work of art for the new little park near the Sofitel. My friend Frank Wells reclaims beautiful pieces of native timber from Doubtful Sound and then carves them into sculptures. This one will be a sort of huge chair.
Can you give me some clues as to what your successor will want in the submission/tender. What sort of buttons should he be pressing in his submission?
Do you know of anyone in Queenstown who could offer Frank help/advice on this?
How are your kids going? Will you be seeing them this year? Isn't it Weedge's 21st soon?
Anyway love your blog
Look forward to your reply
Jane, Hal, Angus and Harriet.

kam on

Cold here in the Windy City
Hi there Lee,
Sounds like the travels are going well and the lack of money is to be expected I suppose.
I am very envious and have very fond memories of Corfu. Ondine and I travelled there in 1989! All is well here in Wellington although the weather leaves a lot to be desired. Take care and continue your regular updates they are great reading.
love Kerry

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