By Martin from Maroulas.
It is often reported about the “Crete virus”. It is said that whoever is infected will never get rid of it! What is this virus? Strangely, it only affects visitors or emigrants who enter our beautiful island. It is triggered when it meets the common Cretan, the “Humanos Kritikos”. Before the actual infection, though, the patients suffers for a longer period of time …
In Germany, life follows a relatively orderly fashion. You are born, your child’s benefits are used to get you filled up with Milupa and Grandma puts the education insurance policy for a total unneccessary civil servant training into your pampers.
At the age of four you are put into the daycare center and learn how to sit on a potty – together with all the others. Early in the evening, after watching “Tele-Tubbies” you lie in your lofty bed, suck on your pacifier and look forward to the first cell phone with the logo of an “apple ”.
After the TV Supernannys have taught the dwarfs how to walk upright to school, it is time to learn senseless XY-calculations in order to boost up the Pisa-studies. Before you know it you have already learnt the most important words of the German language, e.g. „Ey boah really cool“. Then the school days are over, provided you survived one or the other massacre.
Despite education insurance, you can only find a training on the job as event manager in WanneEickel or as a call center agent at Müllermilch. You could, of course, consider to cash the insurance and make a living of it. After completing the apprenticeship, you will be fired against a high severance payment just to enter the Hartz IV social security funds – severance pay is taken into account before the security fund becomes effective.
To make a long story short, marriage at 19, child through a paternity test verified in a local TV Sitcom, grandchildren at 40, who are then given the saved education insurance and at 65, before even having reached retirement, you hit the coffin!
But there are exceptions to this well-guarded German way of life. Your chance is that the virus hits!
Just before handing over the insurance to the grandchildren, the brains suddenly start working and you use the money for a “Ey Boah really great” vacation! A travel agent mumbles something about “cradle of culture” and “guaranteed sun” and the plane spits you out at Kazanzakis Airport.
And then it happens!
With a painful face you visit the completely flooded toilets in the arrival hall, where a Cretan of the subtype “Humanos Kritikos Arrivals Hall” skilfully blows the contents of his nose onto the floor. Considering the non-functioning (because nonexistent taps) he wipes his hands on the lever handle of the entrance door when he leaves.
And now the transmission of the Crete virus takes place! The holidaymaker unsuspectingly presses the door handle. The incubation period is only a few minutes and the virus attacks the brain in the regulatory center. Nothing will be the same ever again!
It is no coincidence that “chaos” is a Greek word. In the beginning, the brain tries to match German orderly patterns with Cretan logic, which leads to a mental breakdown after just a few days. The virus now effects the regulatory center in 9 different phases.
Phase 1: The hustle and bustle in front of the airport is enjoyed because the virus pretends that it is organized.
Phase 2: The virus is attacking the hearing center, suddenly you hear that the policeman with the whistle who orders you to take the suitcase off the yellow parking lot lines is called “Giorgos”. The tour guide is also called „Giorgos“, the bus driver introduces himself as „Giorgos“. The man at the front desk of the hotel is also called „Giorgos“, so are is the barman, the lifeguard and the in-house technician who is repainting your room! Thankfully, the maid’s name is „Giorgia“, which brings variety (the virus does this on purpose.). The next day it pretends that the taxi driver is called Niko, just as the baker, the souvenir seller, the car rental company and the taverna opposite of your hotel!
Phase 3: You drive the rental car on the express highway, nicely on the right lane when the virus conveys several illusions! Suddenly, a pick-up with 8 sheep on the loading area overtakes you on the hard shoulder on the right, honking loudly, while you are overtaken on the left by a cement truck! The cement truck is also overtaken by a young Cretan with a “Ninja” motorcycle with 250 kmh and a 12 year old girl in a bathing suit on the back seat, both without helmet!
Phase 4: The virus tells you to have completely new, unknown friends everywhere, which is noticeable by the fact that you are greeted by each of the 15 innkeepers in the old port of Rethymnon with “Hello friend, how are you today?” The virus has spread across the island.
Phase 5: The virus attacks your taste center. It needs food for reproduction and suggests that Raki has the right ingredients! After 10 glasses of this superfood and waking up at 1:00 p.m. the next morning, you will feel severe brain tearing, which gives evidence of the rapid spreading and reproduction of the virus!
Phase 6: Very crucial phase! The virus attacks your acception center! “Giorgios” from the reception informs you that the painting work in your room will probably not be finished this year and that you also have to sleep in a tent on the beach for the next few days because of overbooking. Without arguing, accompanied by an “Ola Kala?” you make your way through grazing goats and look forward to having a sea turtle as visitor over night in your tent digging a deep hole into the sand. You are now thinking for the first time. It could get worse! Your wife is already more advanced and fainted!
Phase 7: The virus encapsulates itself and gives you freedom of thought for a few days! You think you hate Crete, you hate lamb’s testicles that taste like chicken, you hate the cashier who takes an hour at the supermarket to settle your request. You hate lukewarm food and the bus driver who didn’t stop to take you the 10 km back to your tent! You are annoyed that you always call “ena taxi” and no taxi driver ever stops. Your sense of order throws up when you see the wild dumps in the best locations!
Phase 8: The virus seems defeated, you can think clearly again! You know what makes sense again. Not Crete! The holiday is over! Hooray, finally away from this island of goat farmers! You get on the plane in Heraklion, even first, since you didn’t have to check in luggage, because the luggage “Giorgos” accidentally put onto the bus to Chania. Warm food on the plane again, the steward’s name is Bernd, the stewardess introduces herself as Ms. Müller! German time, everything clean, Bildzeitung, a last look out of the window. „Jássas Malákes, you won’t see me again“ is your last thought!
Phase 9: The virus is now exploding! You sit in your 5 sqm office and show your vacation pictures to colleagues. You want to gush something out like “Crete is shit” – and now the virus is taking over entering your language center in the last phase! You hear yourself saying, „nice people“, „great hotel, even with camping facilities“, „we love Raki“, „this peace everywhere“.
You fight against your tongue, but then the virus forces you to the decisive sentence: „We liked it so much, we cannot imagine any other place for vacation“! You even give your colleagues the Internet address of the mountain village of Maroulas, where you had loved to eat the lamb testicles!
Phase 10: You come home and hear yourself say, „I can’t take this German order anymore!“ and your wife almost casually says, „Honey, I was at the travel agency today and booked, August, 3 weeks in the Hotel Georgios!“ Now the work of the virus is done! For you it means Crete 3 times a year! The virus stays active for a lifetime and ensures that you never get away from the magic of the island!
Once Crete, always Crete.
More stories about Crete you will find in our new book: Palaiochora – A short travel guide.