the travel bug tales: first day on Crete

September 23, 2009

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It was one of the projects i discovered on the internet while in Canada, and I was sold as soon as I saw it. Sea turtle saving in Greece. ocean. beach. and fulfilling the dream of seeing this country with the food and the sun. It was the real beginning of my travels, exploring the unknown, diving in head first. I grew so much those few months, starting with day one – as my journal entry written on the first evening details.

May 15th, 2008
Sitting outside the old school building, the sun sinking slowly and I am surrounded by Crete. It was a hell of a journey to get here today. I had a reasonable sleep on the boat and awoke at about ten to five, freshened up but was feeling a bit groggy. Once off the boat there was a lot of confusion and I got on the wrong bus… oops. I ended up waiting in the middle of nowhere for about an hour until a bus going back in the direction and heading to Chania finally came along. Transferring there went smoothly, but I missed my stop and had to walk back about a kilometer.
Here, I finally found the campside…. only there was no camp. After asking a few people, trying to communicate with my non-greek vocabulary and their non-english vocabulary, I found a phonecard and got in touch with someone from Archelon. Turns out we are staying at the old schoolhouse for the next two weeks before setting up tents by the beach. A little disappointing at first, but now that I am sitting here I can’t really complain. So, I found the bus back to Chania and wandered around the little streets before I found the kiosk and met the team. It’s a smaller team then I imagined, which is actually quite nice. After hanging out there, reading about the work, chatting with some Canadians and eating a gyros and an icecream, we went back to the house.
I got a quick tour, we ate some lunch and then the two french girls, Alice and Elise, and I went for a walk. It took us down to the village where all the older people were gathered in the shade outside a cafe. One older man happily invited us to sit down, bought us drinks and tried to communicate with us. It was rather funny, with lots of pointing and clearly pronouncing words. It’s one of those experiences you just don’t get when you are going from place to place as a tourist.
We walked on along this little road filled with lemon and orange trees, coming across lizards and big crickets.

I am already feeling really good about the turtle work, like it’s the right direction for me. Suddenly I am surrounded by people who have studied zoology or marine biology and I wonder if this is the direction for me. I want to do something good, and this feels worthwhile. But first, dinner is about to be served…

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