Monday, April 13, 2009

Moped Than Anyone Could Handle - by Christopher

We're trying something a little different with this post. Instead of sending you scrambling to Dropshots for our videos (which is a fine hosting service but a little cumbersome) we've decided to "drop the shots" directly to our blog. Get it? Sorry, I'm tired today and you'll soon understand why.

In theory, you can play each video inside this post, whether you're on our page or just checking your RSS. But things may load slowly, so please let us know about any trouble you have so we can figure out if this is the right method of delivery for you guys.

On with the show.

The videos are in chronological order beginning with the start of our Easter all the way to the pathetic, bedraggled ending. Yesterday began as all our adventures do, with a big helping of positive energy and high hopes:

Our first road test was thrilling but directionless, like every episode of Lost since season two. Fifteen minutes before the next video was shot, I was confidently assuring the moped rental guy that I was an experienced driver. Then I was rocketing aimlessly down the road wondering, "Do mopeds have turn signals? And if so, where would the turn signal button on this moped be?" Also, please enjoy the newest addition to our travel videos making it's dramatic debut at the 40 second mark, 'deafening wind noise.'

The first leg of our journey was hampered by our lazy rental guy, the Easter holiday and heavy airport traffic. Let's go to the tape:

Upon reaching the famed Valley of the Butterflies, (supposedly a yearly spawning ground for multitudes of the winged insects) we were faced with a road that seemed to transform into a pedestrian-only footpath. We discovered the truth only after wandering around like slack-jawed tourists for the better part of twenty minutes. This next video features a breathtaking "tour of the parking lot" at 1:50. Just give me the title of 'Rick Steves Heir Apparent' and get it over with.

Unexpectedly encountering wildlife can be exciting and sometimes alarming. The elderly madame who hauled out her milkers at the hotel pool the other day was an example of the latter. Discovering the pigs in the next video was an example of the former. Especially when one of the pigs transformed from 'dead' to 'lazy' before our eyes.

The next video features a cliffhanger at the 1 minute mark entitled, "Will the Car Run Over the Pigs?" Only one way you can find out.

My favorite part of the next video happens at 0:14, when the little girl in red waves goodbye to us with her twisted claw.

For those of you "city slickers" like myself who don't have any first-hand experience with goats let me tell you, they are real self-involved jerks. You could run into a group at the mall or on a mountain bluff and it wouldn't matter how polite or conversational you tried to be, they would just stare back at you with their judgmental little eyes.

But this next goat was okay because he was a baby and made cute little nonsense noises like Miley Cyrus. She is a national treasure and it's your job to prolong her important career with your dollars, tasteless parents of the world.

I give Sarah a lot of credit for the fears she conquered yesterday. And, as with most things she tries, she picked it up quickly. She started out petrified of killing us and by end, she was casually cutting turns on steep mountain switchbacks hundreds of feet up.

We stopped for lunch and had a photo session that Sarah had been planning for days. We received so many comments and e-mails from our readers after I wrote this post that Sarah got the idea to have a boiled-egg photo shoot, just in time for Easter. Afterwards, of course, all that was left to do was eat the evidence.

At 1:44 in the next video I show you my method for hard-boiled egg ingestion. It's unrefined but efficient, like a cell phone belt holster.

Further along our journey I decided to take a "short-cut" down a dirt and gravel road. Which quickly turned into a scarily isolated mountain trail that was made even more terrifying as the "road" turned into a rocky goat path barely wide enough to avoid drops of a thousand feet or more. Our poor moped was not really built to endure this challenge and neither (I learned) was my wife's patience. The next video was shot after about twenty minutes of hard going.

It literally took us a full hour of driving at a quarter of our maximum speed over deep ravines, running streams and rocky hills to make it out on the other side of my "short-cut." Sarah was vocal about her fear from the beginning to the end of that endless hour, but I only felt the icy chill of fear as we descended another rocky slope and I felt my front tire smash against another in a long string of sharp rocks it had smashed against. It occurred to me in that moment that if the tire blew out we had no spare to replace it with. I suddenly realized how long the shadows of the trees were growing on the path ahead of us. I checked my watch, but couldn't remember when the sun would go down. I wondered with fear how much time we had left before evening would descend on this remote spot in the wilderness. Then I remembered that we had brought no cell phone with us on our "day trip." We found out that we were only about twenty minutes away from a reasonably paved road at that point and I will never forget the feeling of relief as I drove into a village with people and a cafe and a gas station. But I will also never forget the icy chill of fear I felt in the pit of my stomach at the bottom of that rocky slope, when I realized that one sharp rock and one blown tire could very well mean a night spent with no food, water, or shelter as my poor wife and I wandered aimlessly in a huge, dark forest. The next video is the last record we made of this terrible hour, during a time when we still clung to the hope that we were just silly tourists who made a harmless mistake.

By the time we shot the next video we had been bouncing along the roads of Rhodes for the better part of 6 hours. We were tired, hungry and exhausted. And the last hour on the goat path had sapped our will. All we wanted was to get back to familiar surroundings and stop wrestling a moped up and down mountains. Sarah's posterior began to hurt so badly that at one point she just climbed off and began walking. I putted along behind her until she had marshaled enough will to climb back on.

My face really says it all I think. It turned out that we were nowhere near any familiar surroundings. In fact, we had another hour-and-a-half drive in front of us. We managed to laugh on the journey home in spite of it all and finally dropped off the moped and walked to our favorite little Italian place.

I finally dragged some final thoughts out of myself. The meal was fantastic and we turned in early soon after.

I can already hear you now, "Wow guys, what tough GREEK VACATION you're having. You two should really consider taking a break from your NO JOBS AND CEASELESS LEISURE before you give yourself a hernia."

It's pretty hard to muster sympathy for us, so don't try. We wouldn't know what to do with it anyway :D

1 comment:

  1. I've been worried something or someone might put you in harms way but now it looks like you two are your worse enemies!! ha ha!

    Mom W