One of the great joys of going to different countries is the whole process of being suddenly a tourist. It is a great irony that when in one’s home nation the perspective of the tourist is completely different, they are, (depending upon your point of view), an essential asset to the nations wealth and prosperity, and should be treated with the upmost courtesy and respect. Or, they are people who get in your way when dashing across London as they move at a pace which is in line with their expectations, as they stop to take in all the rich history and culture that you stopped noticing years ago. They have earned the right to dawdle behind someone holding a bright umbrella, while the tour guide gives chapter and verse on the historic implication of the place that has been chosen as a point of interest.
And so when you find yourself in that joyous position of being the visitor, it is important that certain ground rules are adhered too. First a few” phrases of attempt” as I like to call them always go down well. An attempt at the local hello, please, and thank you, goes a long way. Indeed even attempting some sort of non English dialogue is well received. I recently stopped off at a very secluded and isolated Greek beach to attempt some scenic drone flying shots, all went well and a very relaxing experience it was too. As we meandered back toward’s the car we passed a local cafe where the local ladies were sat having a bite to eat and enjoying a glass of wine as the waves lapped around them.
One of them made eye contact with me and smiled, I of course smiled back and she beckoned us towards one of her tables. Well, it felt rude not to engage and then she spoke fluent Greek, I smiled and said el touristiqye, which meant nothing in any language, I then followed it up by saying coffee, she replied Frappe I then said “Tak” the Polish for yes, she had no idea, I had no idea, but communication of sorts had been achieved. We sat and took in the spectacular views while the nice lady went away. A minute or two later she came back with another lady carrying two large buckets, they then proceeded to sit by the roadside and gut fish that had just been plucked from the sea.
To be honest they were very skilled at their work, irrespective of how disgusting fish gutting was as a spectator sport, i just hope it does not make it into any future Olympic games, but if it did these two would be right up there. I hoped beyond hope that when having completed her filleting duties she was not going to rustle up the Frappe. But all was well, as a younger version of the same lady emerged holding a tray that contained two very nice Frappes, two ice cold glasses of water, and two slices of cake. Now I never eat cake but on this occasion I felt compelled.
So, we sat there chatted, enjoyed the coffee and the cake, and before long we were finished. Now came the complex bit paying for it all and leaving, I motioned towards the key lady who was up to her arm pits in blood as she moved entrails from bucket to bucket (it actually reminded me of a classic scene from Jaws when a lady gets scoffed by the great white and for a split second blood and bubbles are splashed above the water line) however the international language of can I have the bill please was communicated and she came over with the younger lady this time clutching an infant and smoking a fag.
She brought over a piece of paper and raised 3 fingers for 3 Euro’s, this was a real bargain as I had thought it would be at least 6 Euro’s I then felt compelled to say for no apparent reason “Bella Frappe Bella Cake’ She smiled and said Ah Italian. I of course replied in Polish Neh Angielski? She looked surprised and then I said I am English. She replied and said she speaks English nodding to younger version who then said in English he just said that he likes the coffee and the cake but he said it in Italian. Honour restored all round and a tribute to the old saying a little goes a long way.
So, there we have it the joys of being a tourist, as well as the challenges. But that is what makes te whole experience so much fun, you literally never know what adventures beckon when you visit pastures new but they all make for great experiences and memories.