Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING
 

LIVING                                                                         AUGUST 2012

LAWS AND LIBERTIES 

I arrived at Victoria bus station in good time to catch the bus to Winchester. My sister was to meet me as we were going to attend an aunt’s party. She was to leave for Australia and had arranged a family tea party. My ticket was for 10.30 which would get me there for 12.00 pm, enough time to see the family before returning to London on the 20.30 evening bus.

The superintendant announced our bus would be late leaving as one side of the luggage hold would not open.  This would mean that when the bus arrived at various destinations, those passengers wanting to retrieve their luggage would be at risk of harm as they could be hit by on-coming traffic. Health and Safety rules decreed that this had to be fixed before the bus was allowed to depart. The crowd of redundant passengers rippled with irritation. One man, an ex bus driver who was anxious to reach the airport to start his family cruise suggested that when the time came to stop, the driver should simply reverse the bus and park  at a point where the luggage could be safely unloaded. Thirty minutes later, we were permitted to board the bus. My ticket was inspected. “Madam, this ticket was for yesterday. If you board, and an inspector performs a random check, you could be fined 3 times the price” I explained that I had purchased it over the internet and had mistakenly pressed S for Saturday, not Sunday. It was a genuine mistake and I was willing to take the risk of being caught by an inspector. The bus driver shouted to his superior that I could NOT travel. I offered to buy a new ticket. ‘No, I would have to go to the ticket office to buy a new one. “But I will miss the bus and my family are waiting”, I explained. “Tough” replied the pasty faced obese driver as he huffed and puffed with self importance. I pleaded to his humanity and insisted the solution was in his hands but his hands were meanly shut and he would not yield. I resignedly trudged to the customer services office and explained my predicament.

In front of me was a young man who was on the verge of tears. He was to have visited his sick mother in hospital. The bus had apparently slowly started to leave a few seconds before its scheduled time and he ran in front, frantically waving his arms and his ticket. The driver popped his head out of the window and shouted “sorry mate, health and safety! I can’t stop!”

A beautiful African girl, who had just arrived in London, did not understand the instructions written on her ticket about where to wait. She asked a member of staff who instructed her to go to gate 10. When she arrived at gate 10, she was told she was at the wrong gate and should go to number 6. When she finally arrived back at number 6, the bus was in the process of leaving and would not allow her on due to….health and safety

On over-hearing these stories, I shouted that National Express coaches’ name should be changed to ‘National Express Roaches,’ that the company was inhumane in its commitment to health and safety and its neglect of the human side of business. I furiously passed a complaints form to each of my fellow victims before reluctantly purchasing a new ticket to Winchester at the later time of 12.30.

Fast forward to Greece two weeks later. I finally arrived back in Piraeus port one scorching Saturday afternoon. It was 4.50 and there were no more boats to Aegina until 6.30pm. I quickly made my way to the Flying Dolphin office. The next boat was about to leave. The young lady in the ticket office, elegantly dressed and smelling of expensive perfume, efficiently took my money, briskly pressed a ticket into my hand and hissed for me to run. I ran with a young man towards the boat, two suitcases bumping and whizzing to keep up with me. The ramp had been removed, the rope thrown to a port assistant and the engine was whisking the sea water into frenzied jets of activity as it slowly pulled away from the port. The young man jumped aboard and shouted for me to throw my suitcases. I did and at the same time, two male employees of the Flying Dolphin held out their hands for me to grasp.” Ella kyria, rigora!” I held out my hand s and jumped as they pulled me onto the deck, the dark sea water churning below me, my stride and eyes widening as I negotiated the increasing distance. I was delighted  and relieved to have performed the task successfully, my pride and dignity intact, my health and safety blissfully ignored. Oh how wonderfully alive it feels to be back in Greece!!

                                 

Alison Lorentzos                                                             copyright 2012

 

 

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