New Species Found!

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
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Flag of Greece  ,
Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The overnight ferry to Iraklion in Crete wasn't too bad sleep-wise, after we'd moved away from the yelling kids, as we managed to score a row of four seats each. With the armrests up we practically had a bed. The only thing keeping people awake were the continual announcements over the PA system informing passengers the restaurants and shops were open for "profitable" purchases. Nice to hear they were profitable, but after the fourth time at midnight we'd pretty much had enough of them. They also decided not to turn out the lights. This is kind of annoying when you're trying to sleep.

Arriving in Crete we got to see the sunrise over the old Venetian Fort located on the edge of the port. We also walked through the Venetian Arsenal, a place where ships were built and repaired many many years ago. Arriving so early the town was deserted, apart from a few youths staggering home from the previous night out, and nothing was open. We walked, Megan not impressed by the weight of her backpack, and found a place to sit (basically an open air pub and restaurant area where they leave out all the couches, seats, tables etc. Back home this would have all been knocked off or destroyed) and wait until the hostels opened for the day. Around the corner we found a place to stay; a de-listed HI youth hostel in the heart of town. It was pretty basic and reminded us a lot of the places we'd stayed in India.

After a rest and a shower we decided to see a bit of town and wandered around to the Morosini Fountain and San Marco Chapel, pretty much in the heart of town. We also wanted to checkout the Venetian city walls, built back in the 1500s. These practically encircle the city of Iraklion and in some sections of the wall are up to fifteen metres thick. We also saw on top of one of the wall's bastions the tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis, a native of Iraklion and author of Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ.

Sweltering in the mid thirties temperature we decided to head for the Archaeological Museum as it evidently has the world's best collection of artifacts and art from the Minoan civilisation. Nearing the museum we were hassled by numerous waiters all trying to entice us into their restaurants. We kept walking, ignoring their conversation starters and joined the queue for tickets at the museum. Inside the museum we saw many wonderful Minoan artifacts including original frescoes from Knossos, the Ring of Knossos and the Phaestos Disc, its inscriptions still yet undeciphered.

It was when we entered the second floor we made our great discovery. Over the hum and chatter of the 10 to 15 tour bus groups pushing and shoving their way across the museum we heard the distinctive cry of "No Photo! No Photo!" followed sometimes by the reply of "No Flash! No Flash!" or sometimes "No Touch! No Touch!". We'd discovered a new species of the old lady attendants you find in museum, but this time we'd found not just one sex of the species but what appeared to be a mating ritual taking place. It was an amazing experience to witness the animals calling out to each other across the crowded museum, but then something else happened. What appeared to be an older, possibly wiser variant of the species would silence everything with a very loud "SHHHHHhhhhhhh!" It was like air rapidly escaping from a balloon. This call would silence everyone, except for the herd of bus tour groups, as these guys seem to be oblivious to everything around them, apart from the viewfinders on their cameras. With this new discovery we'd like to name the beasts Yellus Sporadicus and Old-Mouthus Erutupus Sponatious respectively. Ironically Rick was squawked at by Yellus Sporadicus as he tried to take a photo of the no photo sign!

After our new discovery we then thought how do we get out of this place and onwards to Turkey. It should be pretty easy considering it was summer and the tourist season; catching a ferry should be easy. Alas not so. All the ferries are pretty much booked out and most of the travel agents in town aren't that helpful as they don't get any commission on ferry ticket sales. These are all set prices. If you do ask direct questions of the agents you will get an answer, but no further advice, or you will be directed to another agent up the road. After some stuffing around we eventually we worked out a way to get to the island of Rhodes where we can catch a ferry to Turkey.
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