Don has been suffering from gastro the last two days, I will spare you the details. Being sick is foreign to Don. In the 10+ years I have known him, he has never been sick. I know he must be feeling pretty bad because he allows me to give him panadol and imodium* (he went through a lot of imodium). Don is assigned the back seat of the car on the way to Marmaris, where we get the ferry to Rhodes. Of course he won’t take any advice, like eating plain food. After consuming a chicken kebab for lunch in Marmaris, he proceeds to throw it up a couple of hours later (he can tell you where)! Katrina and I confer and decide to ‘plug’ him up with more imodium and maxolon** just to be sure he makes the ferry trip without further disgrace.
We are the only passangers with a car boarding the ferry to Rhodes. As we are leaving Turkey, we need to clear customs and exit the country. The French number plates and Australian passports create some confusion. The car is in my name, Don and Katrina are directed to follow the rest of the foot passengers and I am ushered into a small office at the port.
Crammed into a little office is me and several official looking men. There is little english, but from the tone of the conversation, hand guestures and frequent checking and rechecking of my documents, I can deduce that they are not all that sure what to do. Each takes turns on the one computer entering details. I am a little tentative when they enter the car rego details. This is a telling moment, for I assume if we have any driving infringements they may pop-up on the system to ensure payment before departure. After a few tentative minutes, my papers are processed without incident and the customs officer escorts me to the car for final clearance. He asks me to open the car, looks at our luggage and for a brief moment I think he considers that his job requires him to inspect the contents. He sighs and smiles, says “OK”, stamps my passport and opens the gate to the dock.
We are still 15-20 min out of Rhodes when the crew member who guided me onto the ferry comes up and calls out “owner of the vehicle below.” Well, I immediately think the worst has happened; sh#*t, did I forget to leave the car in gear or put the handbreak on? I bolt downstairs and to my relief he simply want us ready to disembark the car as soon as the gang plank is down. We jump in and wait. It’s a little unnerving driving off a ferry that is still securing its lines and bouncing around on the engine backwash, but on his signal we lead off, the rest of the passengers in tow.
Now we need to enter Greece. When we approach customs and explain we have a car, I can see the same look of perplexity on the Greek custom officers face, as I did back in Turkey. We are asked to wait. Most of the passengers on the ferry have EU passports and are quickly ushered through; then its our turn. Maybe because the Greeks are a little laid back, or maybe because it’s Friday afternoon, but after a rudimentary look over the car and stamping of our passports, the terminal gates are opened and we have arrived in Rhodes.
Footnote: * Imodium is for treating diarrhoea ** Maxolon treats nausea and stops you throwing up.