I’m all about the sisterhood. Its ups and downs. Its joys and tears. But not the drama. I don’t do drama.
You already know that I’m a proponent of leaving your significant other behind and grabbing your girls (or boys) and go. You didn’t know that? OK. I got you. Read about it here and here.
Manise and I met up in Athens for a week-long vacation in Greece. Our itinerary: Athens, Heraklion (Crete), Vourvoulos and Oìa (Santorini).
Was the trip perfect (as in no issues, no disappointments)? No. But, in my opinion, we handled all negative things that came our way with poise. Most importantly, we were there for each other when we needed some support and understanding. If I were to be poetic, I’d say that our trip was perfect in its imperfection.
Before the trip, I bought a toiletries bag with “good vibes” written on it, and a pencil pouch marked “tan lines”. This is what I was expecting from my trip to Greece. And this is what I got! Talk about putting intentions out to the universe!
It’s a girl’s trip after all
The first bump in the road: Ralph couldn't make it to Greece. Long story short: he used his single entry visa to the European Union while in transit in Munich. His leaving the airport to go on a day tour during the layover was considered an entry and exit in the EU. They were leaving Turkey when he was told that he wouldn't be able to enter the EU. He stayed in Turkey to try to sort things out while Manise made her way to Greece.
Upon her arrival, we decided to stay in and help Ralph find a flight to North America. Finding an affordable route from Turkey to North America for someone carrying a Haitian passport without a valid Schengen visa was a challenge. We spent the first 3 hours following Manise’s arrival in our Athens flat reading up on countries where a Haitian citizen could transit sans visa.
There was no question in my mind that we needed to make sure he’d make it to the US of A before we started to enjoy our vacation.
By making this a team effort, we both averted frustration and friction. Manise could have decided to stay with her husband in Turkey, but she flew to Greece to meet me. This weighed heavily on the balance for me. The least I could do is spend some time helping her husband. I was ready to stay in all night to make sure her husband was safely returning to the Americas because of that.
We got cat called
Aside from an older Greek man telling us that we look exotic and that people would love us in Greece—whatever that means—and the vendors in the meat market making comments (in Greek!) that had our tour guide smiling, people were super nice and respectful.
We ignored the cat callers. I find that keeping my head down in these situations, especially in foreign land, is often the wisest move. Sometimes, staying safe means keeping a good clapback to oneself. Like: Sir, that line is as old as the Acropolis and as tired as you look.
We dealt with an Airbnb hiccup with class. Our host misinterpreted our check-in time. We had been chatting on and off for a month, and I was clear about our boat arriving in Crete at 6 am. She had agreed to hold our luggage for us before the official check-in time—her husband would come and meet us there. The night before our arrival, I let her know that we were on our way. Yet, somehow, she thought I would be checking in at 6 pm. *eye roll* We ended up having a 3-hour breakfast on a plaza and did some people watching while waiting for the room to be ready.
We remained calm, cool and collected. The man only had to tell us that he hadn’t had coffee while reading our message that morning. Both of us being coffee drinkers, we understood. That and the fact that he owned up to his mistake. Also, he was really nice and helpful.
I keep on referring to a woman, but we never met Christiana. We met George, her “husband”. I’m using quotation marks because I don’t believe he was married to her. In fact I don’t believe there was a Christiana at all. He cited the chats I had with Christiana as if he was the one who was on the other end. He told me to keep in touch throughout the day if I needed information, and we used “her” account. My very active imagination started to come up will all kinds of theories. The soundest one: he’s the host and uses a woman as a front to appear less threatening. Who knows?
When Pieds Poudrés limps
If you don’t follow me on Facebook, you may not know that I had to limp my way across Heraklion (Crete) and Santorini.
On the boat to Crete, I hurt my foot while being my clumsy, foolish self. I tore a patch of skin (not flesh, as Manise refers to it) off my left heel. I’ll spare you the details, but there was a bunk bed involved. This slowed me down, I didn’t let it stop me. At some point, Manise was the one worried that I was doing too much. I didn’t want to do less and ruin her vacation.
Long live the sisterhood
We had long conversations. Some were meaningful, like where I want Pieds Poudrés to go. (I’d love to be a female version of Anthony Bourdain, by the way. Just putting it out there, in the universe.) Some were just plain silly, like her being the Gayle to my Oprah, and her willing to fight others for the spot. I won’t become Oprah-famous. Come on!
We also talked about our future travel plans. Her next destination should be South America because I haven’t stopped talking about how I love it there. If you’re tired of my talking about South America on the blog and on Facebook, try being my friend in real life: that’s all I talk about, if you let me. I’m not even joking. I discussed my not so public plan to take my mom to Israel next year for her 70th birthday (now you know!).
We marveled at the beauty of the Acropolis and the Greek islands. We both giggled as we zoomed through the roads of Santorini. OK. We didn’t zoom, it was more of a slow drive. It’s hilly and the roads are narrow.
Manise and I are different. She’s a scientist; I’m into social sciences and languages. She’s a glamourous southern belle (she lived in Georgia for over a decade); I’m a no frills kinda gal. She’s quiet; I’m talkative. But somehow, we make it work. This was not our first trip together; we accompanied The Annoying Little Brother in Japan and South Korea together last year.
Boy, am I glad she made it to Greece! I’m even happier that she decided stick to her initial itinerary and head to Barcelona. That woman pulled off a couple’s getaway, a girls’ trip and a solo trip in the span of 2 weeks (spending less than $1,000 in airfare! More on that in an upcoming post). Let me hear you say #TravelGoals!