At ten minutes to six, we leave the coffee shop, after buying two expensive coffees and failing to connect to their free wifi.
There is a bus back to Benitses at 6.15, which we thought we would catch after doing our phone shop business, so Tim went to get the bus tickets from the machine to save time, while I waited for the shop to open. I sat on a nearby bench, and noticed several people hovering by the shop.
More people gathered. Oh my goodness, there’s suddenly loads of people waiting for the shop to open! Not an actual queue, more of a crowd. Slowly, the shutters go up. The crowd surges forward, and practically crawl under the shutters before they are fully up! What’s going on? Is there a sale? Is there a celebrity in there?
Tim returns. I don’t think we’ll be able to catch the 6.15 bus now, I tell him. That’s because you didn’t take your place in the queue, he retorts…..
In the shop, there is a diagonal counter at the front of the shop, manned by two Wind staff on laptops, drinking takeaway coffees. At the back of the shop, there are two more people behind another counter, with signs written in Greek in front of them. One sign I deciphered as ‘pay bills here’, so I joined the other one, which I hope was something like ‘top up your phone here’. As we previously had a simcard in the Mifi unit, I just needed to recharge it, and was confident I was in the right queue.
In front of me was an English-speaking lady, obviously from one of the huge cruise ships currently in port. I can just tell cruise ship people from their appearance, I’m psychic like that, don’t ask me to elaborate…..I, myself, once went on a cruise ship, but that’s another story….
She had lots of shopping bags and was clasping an IPad, trying to ask for help in getting it to log on. The Greek guy was very patient with her, and after lots of questioning, she left happy. After serving two more Greeks in front of me, it was eventually my turn. The bus had long gone.
The Wind guy told me I cannot top up my existing Mifi card as more than six months have passed, and I must register for a new one and show my passport, and I must go to the other desks to do this. Grrrr! So I joined the queue at the laptop desks, and eventually a very nice Greek girl with impeccable English helped me. For some reason they have to take a copy of your passport before they sell you a SIM card. So she pushes her way through the growing queues to the back corner of the shop, where there is a photocopier, and leaves my passport there while the copier warms up. She pushes her way back through the throng, does some more typing on her laptop, then elbows her way back through the throng, retrieves passport from copier, does some stapling of documents, pushes her way past the queue for the fourth time, inserts the new SIM card in my Mifi then takes my money. She then once again forces her ample body through the growing melee to another desk, to get my change and a receipt. Finally, for the sixth time, she returns to me, transaction complete.
“Is there anything else I can do?” she asks.
“Yes” I reply. “Why not move the printer nearer to your desk?”
We missed the 6.15 bus, so spent the next hour eating ice cream. The bus at 7.30 was crammed full. We managed to get the last two seats, right at the back, over the engine. It felt like I was being cooked. Eventually we arrived back on the boat. Such a treat to be on the internet while drinking an ouzo aboard….