Day 3 on board I decided this was the sunbathing day. I remembered my suncream this time too! I had the entire top deck to myself as folks went off on shore to see the first ever Olympic Games site. No work today at all. I actually asked for extra duties... But seems they are happy with what I'm doing and don't need more. Thing is, I want to dance! Other crew members were jealous because I have in total of 6 days on ship, only 2 with any teaching or performing, I am jealous that they get to perform every day! I've spent the time chatting with guests, going to the Gym and sunbathing. But I'd rather be dancing! I really have got the right job haven't I? How many people have you ever complain about lack of work (when they are paid for doing it or not, I'm not talking about those who get paid per shift and need more shifts!!)
In katakolon I had a wander about, mainly to buy wine and find free wifi somewhere! My Vodafone data package from Egypt decided I had done enough online and blocked me. Why is there ALWAYS a problem with roaming phone, even if you set it all up in advance?!
I have been buying wine at each port to bring onto the ship. We are not allowed on board with beer or spirits but we are allowed wine and champagne! Since its cheaper to have a wee glass to myself in my cabin than sit at the bars on board that's what I do at sea.(and a good tip for any dancers who might do this job at some point too!!). I especially like that they sell wine in Europe in what I would consider 'water' bottles. 1.5L for often less than €3, and I can't tell you how much better that 'cooking' wine from here and Italy is compared to Egyptian wine!
I was getting a little down because I felt 'underused', then I had one of the girls from reception come up to me at dinner and ask if, even though its not on my contract, would I mind please doing a short class for the reception girls. I jumped at the chance! Yippee- I get to dance! We had 12 in total in the class, 3 of whom were men. I have to say, the British guy who is the personal trainer aboard the ms nieuw Amsterdam, was the best in the class! Must be all that Pilates he does! He could even do a full belly roll, in both directions! We had a great laugh, I wish we could have done more!
In Piraeus I walked and walked and shopped. I decided not to go into Athens since I did that in June, and was glad I hadn't when one couple told me how their hop on hop off bus got stopped for over an hour because of protests! Home from home or what? And next stop Turkey, that's not exactly been peaceful either has it? Seems the whole area is a mess.
I went into shop after shop with everyone so helpful and kind. They all assumed I was Greek and when I apologized almost everyone one of the shopkeepers had a few words at least of English and made me feel very welcome. I had a long chat with one lady in a shop when I bought a lovely black lacy party dress. We talked about about the troubles in Egypt, and in Greece, and she told me how bad things have got there for everyone. So many unemployed. Employers cutting wages by a half and employees having no choice to accept because there are so few jobs. It's that or nothing! So many doorways had sleeping bags in them. its so sad to see. One old lady who didn't have any English was quite disgusted with me for not buying anything from her. It's true her shoes were cheap, but nothing I liked, so I apologized and tried to leave the shop. She grabbed my wrist 'only €5' she kept indicating but without the language I couldn't tell her that although I am born in UK, I earn Egyptian money, and that is in short supply at the moment too! I felt guilt and sad I couldn't help her. But the entire county needs helps. I spent what money i could. Please, holiday in Greece if you can't come to Egypt.... The people there need you!
So many similarities to Egypt; The crashed economy, The protests in the street, the desperate needs for tourists to inject a little cash into the area. Yet the friendliness of the people despite everything not to mention the wealth of ancient history both countries have. And the sunshine. Sold? book your holiday now, Egypt 1st choice, Greece 2nd. Or do both?!!!
I have a feeling I may feel similarly to Turkey, we are on our way there now... I fact, due in at port in about an hour. The first hour ls which I am due to stand on the gangway in costume to have my photo taken with guests as they go off on their Istanbul adventures for the evening.
This morning I performed and gave a talk about life in Egypt. Both went well and the questions I was asked were whether I would ever marry an Egyptian man, does dancing there pay well and how can the culture justify woman's dressing in niqab when the national dance is Bellydance?! Anyone want to stab a guess at how I answered?