day 9 - river crossings
Our day was quite adventurous. It's surprizing how the environment, scenery, mood and atmosphere change in just a few yards. We drove to the Albania - Greece border today. Easier read than done.
We got lost, in the middle of nowhere. Had to cross a river on a wooden, hopefully motor cranked raft and got ripped off in the process. The drive through Sarandë was interesting although local dudes working at a gas station weren't too thrilled with Alberto's negotiation skills. So much for smiles and laughs. All we needed was a watering hose to cool off the transmission, so Alberto did and they expected payment for the water used. As you can immagine we didn't pay and as a result moved to let the engine bay cool off more. Thats when the damn storm front caught up with us again and poured us in with dusty rain.
Once we crossed the border we hit tarmac and drove to Igoumenitsa where we had Gyros, a Greek kebab which put smiles on our dirty faces. We got back on the road to find a spot for the night.
We found a small bay with a rocky beach and set up camp. Pietro, the only one who spoke a bit of greek soon went off to update his very Italian mother on our progress and well being in true 1800 explorer fashion.
"Mother. Have yellow fever. No food or water. Please send money.
Lots of love, Your dying son,
Filippo and Alberto looked at each other puzzled and started preparing dinner. Pots, stove, pasta and sauce came out. That's when a soon-to-be legend appeared. An ol' man by the name of παναγιώτης (Panagiotis) pronounced pan-ayotees came barrelling towards Filippo and Beto ushering apparent insults and words of wisdom in greek. A hilarious exchange occurred. The only word Alberto knows in greek is "malaka"... not a polite one if anything. We were bound to get lost in translation. Filippo was in the same situation as παναγιώτης fervently pointed at our cherished pasta sauce whilst holding three tomatoes and a cucumber and laughing every three words whilst puffing away on his endless supply of cigarettes. To every apparent statement Alberto approvingly exclaimed "malaka!" as to say "sure! I agree!" or "Who would have known!" and everyone cramped up laughing as Filippo called back pietro for help, not from the old man but from the foreseeable death by laughter.
Pietro came back and had a lively conversation with the man. It turned out the old man simply wanted to hand us his very own tomatoes and cucumber (I know I know) because he thought our canned sauce was.... literally, open quotation marks...shit... close quotation marks. So we followed his advice and prepared the tomatoes for dinner... and boy did they taste divine!!!
As you read we're drinking up the last of the wine and talking and smoking with παναγιώτης in front of our camp light. Off to bed soon.
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