Athens aka The Weirdest Week of my Life

I awoke in Vienna at eight in the morning to find that I could not find my contacts. The case just plain wasn’t there. And then my locker, which opened with a keycard, wouldn’t open. So I trekked blind, and I really mean blind, down to the reception desk to ask about it.

Push the door shut, they said. It’ll open.

Well, it did. I got my glasses. The two Asian girls in my room were told to please keep an eye out for my contact case. One of them discovered… the contact. No case. I KNOW i did not just take out my contact and put it on a table, for Pete’s sake. But no case.

I then made my way to the trainstation to get the airport bus. I went to take out cash at the ATM where…. I had no debit card. I spent my bus ride on the phone with capitalone. They had to reset my pin, so halfway though the identity questions the call gets dropped. Whatever, I thought, my phone is halfway dead, I’ll take care of it in Athens.

I got to the hostel, having not eaten to preserve cash for the taxi to Athens Backpackers. I hand my card over to the very nice guy behind the desk and…. “Sweetheart, this was declined.”

Back on the phone with Capitolone, I had my things all spread out on the lobby floor as I read my bank account number off from the checkbook I very luckily travelled with. Finally CapitolOne accepted that I did not steal my identity and I rambled my story off to the wonderful guys at AB who were much amused.

But it got better. The next day I went to Western Union to pick up my Visa 911 Cash. I felt achey, tired and a little weak, but that’s traveling for you, right? I wandered around the Museum, got some coffee.

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Had a very nice chat with a Greek man who had studied at the University of Chicago. He told me about Byron coming to Athens and directed me to his street.

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At the hostel i chatted for a while with the guys downstairs, called my roommate (who was studying there) and made plans to meet in two days and went to bed. My side hurt, a lot, but I figured I had strained it with my bag.

Now, Katie told me Athens was not “Chelsey Friendly” but I assumed she meant the uneven roads, zoom zoom guys on scooters and the stairs.

Fast-forward to two in the morning. I sat in the hall with the night receptionist and a pediatrician who happened to be staying at the hostel. One of my roommates got them when I woke up crying in pain all through my abdomen. The doctor told me what I already knew: It could be my appendix. I tried to sleep again, dithered a little, but when the pain centralized in my side I knew. I had to go to the ER.

Cue the lassiez-faire Greek ambulance drivers, a doctor who was very impatient, a tech who did not understand “it works better without a tourniquet… and a surgeon who said it was not surgical. I was eventually diagnosed with a “viral infection” and given antibiotics, so I’m pretty sure it was a “bacterial infection”.

I had to get a security guard’s help to get a cab, and he was not too happy about it. I got back to the hostel to ask directions for a hostel and then gradually get my strength up to get up off the couch and get my prescription filled. Gareth, behind the desk, ordered me to get food. I did, then went upstairs and slept all day.

The next day, I spent mostly at the hostel. It hurt to breathe, which is not conducive to exploring. That night I got to see Katie, my roomie and best friend in the world. It made me happy and feel better, though she says I was not a feeling good Chelsey.

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I planned to see the Acropolis the next day. I mean, I was staying at the foot of it. But… the next day was May Day. Athens basically closes on May Day. So for how my day really went, I give you this exchange:

“Gareth?” I need my key back. I left my phone in my room.” Gareth laughed. i replied, “The best part? I realized it when i went to call Orbitz. My Olympic air flight has been cancelled and you’re booked so I need to get on Turkish air tonight.”

That crisis, at least, was solved and I spent another day in the hostel lobby watching the guys who work there goof off and be awesome. They finally put me, Bad Karma Girl, in a cab that night and I went off to continue my adventure in Istanbul.

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