Expat Magazine

Connecting People

By Sofia1 @SofiaEssen

A couple of years before I moved to Crete, I left Singapore to travel around Greece for the summer. Eager to get to the islands, I spent less than a day in Athens before boarding the ferry that would take me to Rhodes. Thanks to a wonderful friend, I was booked into a beautiful cabin aboard the ferry and was relishing the opportunity to travel in style.

Curious as always, I threw my one piece of luggage into the cabin (I’m a light traveler) and began exploring every nook and cranny of the ship that I was allowed access to. To my surprise, I stumbled upon a fancy restaurant. The prices listed in the menu gave me the hiccups but the Grilled Vegetable Tower I ordered was worth the substantial hole it burned into my wallet.

Well enough fed to be on the verge of falling into a food-induced coma, I waddled back to my cabin and fell asleep the instant my head hit the silk-covered and down-filled pillow. Due to the combination of jet-lag and unfamiliar surroundings, I woke with a sudden jerk in what I assumed was the middle of the night.

I never wear a watch so I fumbled in the pitch-black darkness for my trusty Nokia, which told me that it was 2 o’clock in the morning. I was just about to switch the phone off when I noticed something odd… “Turkcell.” I was supposed to be heading to Rhodes, not Turkey. Had I boarded the wrong ferry?

In a slight panic, I threw on a robe and went to pound on my neighbor’s door – a sweet American couple on their Honeymoon. When they opened the door with more than a touch of apprehension, I asked, “Do you know where we’re going?”

“Um, Rhodes,” the man replied rubbing sleep from his eyes.

“We’re heading in the wrong direction!” I exclaimed and thrust my phone in his face. “Look!”

Of course, we weren’t actually heading in the wrong direction. We were just close enough to Turkey to pick up the “Turkcell” signal, which the just-married man sleepily explained with kind patience.

The next day, I bumped into the couple as I was about to disembark the ferry and plant my feet back on dry land. “Welcome to Rhodes,” they said and winked at me.

To this day, I still get text messages from the honeymooning couple. They’ve taken to updating me on their exact location via texts whenever they travel. Their latest text, from this morning, says, “In Bangkok – picking up THAIS network.”

Nokia… Connecting People indeed!

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