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Friday, November 19, 2010

Back to Athens

Around midnight we pulled up to the Piraeus port in Athens. We headed out of the boat with the two girls we were planning to share a taxi with. There was a procession of people all heading for taxis and they had a roped off area for a line to wait as the numerous cabs took turns pulling up and taking the first group in line. We were quickly in a cab and on the road. It didn’t take long however to realize our cab driver spoke NO English and had no idea where we wanted him to take us. We showed him the address, we told him it was across from Haydrian’s Gate, and then we just “Acropolis” and yet nothing seemed to be registering. He pulled off to the side, I have no idea why, and another cab pulled up and tried to translate but he still didn’t seem to get it. We continued on and he got on his cell phone, which he handed to me. Whoever was on the other end spoke great English and I said again the address, the gate, or the Acropolis. Then I gave the phone back. The driver still seemed confused. We pulled over one more time and again none of us knew why and there was no hope of communicating with the driver. Ryan and I looked at the meter and it was getting really high. It hadn’t occurred to me that after midnight the fare went up significantly. And I was not happy that each time we pulled over he was not shutting the meter off. Later Ryan read in a tour book that the majority of people come away from Athens with a story of feeling taken advantage of by a taxi driver specifically when picked up at the Port. Finally things started to look familiar and we were heading past where we wanted out and on to the Acropolis. So we started saying “stop, stop, stop” until he got the message and literally stopped the cab in the middle of the road. We handed him the money that the meter reader showed we owed and he started demanding more. All we could gather was that it was because he helped us with our bags, but by help I mean he put them in the trunk and took them out of the trunk and wasn’t even letting us do it ourselves. So eventually after trying to argue we just walked away because we already paid nearly 3 times as much as when Ryan and I took a cab to the Port a few nights before. I hate being taken advantage of!
So we led the girls to our hostel and as we assumed there was room for them as well. We said goodnight to them, found our room, and were quickly asleep.

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