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Fortællinger fra Kreta | 37

Tales from Crete | 37

Sometimes it happens that you meet a person who fits exactly into some story, narrative or as in my case, a book I was just working on, and actually had with me on the plane on the way to Crete .

That was when Cimber Air still existed and had some nice cheap flights from Billund to Chania. Tickets which I was a frequent user of and which meant that I could take a trip to Crete almost on time and off time and just be there for a few days or completely as I wanted. I sat with the other travelers and waited at the gate for boarding to begin. Opposite me sat a lady the same age as myself, with a lot of plastic bags from Magasin, Netto and other department stores and supermarkets, filled with all sorts of things. The bags were so stuffed that she had to sit a little out on the seat, in order to have room for some bags behind her in addition to the ones she had occupied the seat next to her with. That was quite a lot of bags, I thought, and wondered that she could carry all of them on the plane. But maybe she was one of those who traveled without checked luggage. There I sat with my rucksack and waited and it wasn't long before we were called aboard. The lady with the bags was quick on her feet and as one of the first, she elegantly entered the plane lugging 4-5 bags in each hand.

I had already learned then that there is no deeper meaning in being among the first to take a seat on the plane, because it often results in you having to get up from your seat again if, like me, you like to sit by the middle aisle and other passengers must enter the window seat or the middle seat. And back then you could book your seat on the plane from home, without extra costs, so I had chosen a seat near the middle aisle as usual. This time it was even the front seat of the plane, where there is nice legroom.

When I entered the plane as one of the last, I could see that my seat was already taken, so frantically I took my boarding card out of my pocket, only to find that I was right. My seat was full of bags, the middle seat was full of bags and inside by the window sat a lady my age looking out of the window unchallenged.

"Are you going to sit here" she asked when she realized that I was fumbling with my boarding card. "Yes, I guess that was the intention" I replied with a look at her many bags, which she then began to pile up on the middle seat and on the legs by herself. "Should I take some of the bags up into the luggage compartment above the seats" I asked, but no I definitely shouldn't. They should be where they were. Well, I sat down and fastened my seat belt. When she realized she didn't have a seat belt on, she handed me a couple of the bags so she could fasten herself, after which she put the bags back on and practically fell to the floor between her legs. Just then the stewardess came over and politely said that the bags were not to be on the seat, nor on the floor between her legs. But there were now divided opinions about that and the "bag lady" won that battle and the bags stayed where they were.

While the plane was still standing at the gate and the flight attendants were getting ready for departure and the mandatory training in the use of life jackets and information on where the emergency exits are, she poked her head in between the stacked bags towards me and said: "Shouldn't we have a small one? – I hate flying”. It was a bit early in the day for that, but I could sense that it was wisest to just follow along and politely said yes. I didn't even have time to answer before the pocket lark with cognac came out of one of the pear bags and 2 white plastic mugs brought with me were quickly handed to me and poured.

"I should actually have been a flight attendant, but I don't like flying, so instead I got to teach other flight attendants, that is on land, and I know them all here. But anyway, once I came with a trip to Crete and there I met my husband. He is Greek, you understand, that is, a real Greek. He was a nice guy, very charming and then he had just inherited a big house in the mountains that we could move into and I wouldn't have to work anymore, he said, so when he offered to marry me, I was told yes, thank you, before he had to ask" she said and took a proper sip of the fine cognac, which definitely deserved a better glass. "Well," she continued, "the house is also good enough - it's a big, solid stone house that's nice and cool in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. But it has helped a little after the windows now have panes and it has also improved after the door to the toilet has been added so you can keep the goats out while you sit there, you know, in your own thoughts and what you now doing. But now we will also soon have water installed and then we will have to have electricity installed, even though the generator we are using now is doing very well, except that it makes a bit of noise" And so the story continued while one mug of cognac took the other and another pocket lark emerged from one of the other bags.

They completely reminded me of the book I was just reading and which is still my regular travel trap when I go to Crete, namely "It's all Greek to me" by John Mole. If you don't know it, try to get the book, which is good enough in English, and read it, and you will immediately see what it means to be "real Greek"

Have a good weekend and a really nice Pentecost.

Tales from Crete | Elena's - The taste of Greece

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