I got into Athens a week ago now on a very early morning flight from rainy London. Athens is enjoying its halcyon days, the sky is an electric blue and the sun is warm, inviting everyone to be outside.
Unfortunately I have not been able to enjoy much of it. Of the seven days I’ve been here I’ve been cooped up in various public offices every morning.
Turns out, the local passport authority disagrees with the embassy on what the correct application process is when ones passport is stolen. And they both disagree with what the central passport authority deems to be the correct process. Only I can only submit my papers at the local authority… whilst they accepted my application this morning I am not sure what will happen next. I now know what being caught between a rock and a hard place looks and feels like.
On a more positive note on Saturday night we went to the birthday party of Captain Stelios. The Captain spent his 70s (and my 20s) hosting on his sailing boat his grandson Paris and Paris’ friends; on one trip I think there were 15 of us on the boat. He taught me how to tie a bowline and embarrassed us all when he’d (more than once) summon us to lunch with his megaphone when we were all pretending to be uber-cool on Platys Gialos. On Saturday, he danced the night away celebrating his 90th birthday surrounded by friends, family and great-grandchildren which got me thinking about the importance of community and personal relationships in the pursuit of happiness.
Theoretically I fly back on Friday night though now I am not hopeful. The solution recommended by everyone is that I go back to the central office everyday and aks about the progress of my application. I am playing a game where the rules keep changing whilst blindfold and with a hand tied behind my back.