Greece Holiday 2018: Arriving in Athens

Thursday evening I finally made it to Athens. When I arrived hardly anyone spoke English, I got ripped off at the airport buying a SIM card (with no calls or SMSs) and getting to my AirBnB was a mission. Afterward, I headed onto the streets. I needed food!

Nothing felt like home, I was used to Wollies where people greet you and at least you feel a bit more comfortable, but besides that, I had no idea what to buy. I strolled up and down the aisles looking for ingredients to cook something homey, but I had never really cooked anything for myself before. (I once made a vegan omelet but that didn’t turn out too well for me either.) I could fry an egg, but I didn’t eat eggs so that was off the table too. I walked up and down the aisles some more and finally found the starches. Noodles, pasta, and more noodles. I put a bag of noodles in my basket. That was it! It was the only thing I could cook.

I entered another little shop on the side of the street and asked the owner, “Do you sell SIM cards?”. His response was “err? What?”. I asked again, “SIM card… Do. You. Sell. Sim. Card?”, giving wild gestures with my hands pointing to him and my phone. Eventually, he called someone in out from the street to help him translate. It turns out he didn’t sell SIM cards. The translator guy turned to me, “I know where you can get SIM cards…”. He told me of a place where I could buy a SIM card. “It is called Ooo-mooonia!” he said with delight and a sparkle in his eyes. Now, I’m thinking ahh this sounds like a really cool technology-advanced neighborhood/city kind of dealy, which reminded me of that scene “Instectopia” from the movie Antz (1998). He walked to the bus stop and minutes later I found myself on the bus to Omonia.

Omonia… (don’t go there)

The darkness slowly crept into the city as the bus drove into a smaller suburb called Omonia. It felt like I was entering a place taken from the movie I Am Legend. It was dark already and I a bit scared because some of the streets were decorated with graffiti. The bus came to a stop and I had to get off.

I asked a passerby for a shop where I could buy a SIM card. His reply was, “Oh yeah SIM card… Go up there to the left there. There are shops there.” He pointed to a road where I should start heading. The street I was walking up to looked dodgy as f***! I kid you not there was a dumpster on fire in the background situated in an old playground. A lot of homeless people resided here too. This is too dodgy, I turned around and went back to the area where the bus stop was. I asked another random person and he too pointed me to a mini-mart in the opposite direction. I finally got my SIM card!

On my way back to the AirBnB I noticed the streets were buzzing with people. They were about walking their dogs and parents were out with their young kids who too were riding their bicycles. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before! I got back to the apartment very tired and cooked my noodles.

The morning (Friday) after I missioned around up and down the streets and over a bridge walking like a pirate with one leg because I had to support my big duffel bag with all my camping equipment in it and had my co-workers big backpackers bag on and another little backpack with all my electronics in it and that shitty neck pillow that is supposedly so comfortable for flights! Don’t buy one, they’re a waste of time! I felt like a mule. Hot and bothered I finally arrived at the bus terminal and I surprisingly didn’t miss the bus. I must say the bus trip was really pleasant. I didn’t have to worry about things, all I knew was that I was going to get to Kefalonia.

Adrian van den Houten

I'm Adrian van Houten, founder of ScholarCoder and a passionate software developer for full-stack web development. Read more about me here.