Chapter 8: Last Day in Corinth

 

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27 Oct, Wednesday

Docks at Modern Corinth

Docks at Modern Corinth

I wake late and tired, decide to spend one more day in Corinth. I walk to the waterfront, look out at the haze covering the Gulf. It’s so thick I can barely see the town of Loutrakion and Gerania Ori, a mountain range, looming ominously in the distance. A bank of clouds sits on the western horizon. A man stands in large jagged rocks dipping water in a wide-mouth bucket that he lowers into the sea by a small rope. He drops to his knees, bends over two dead octopuses and washes them in seawater. The octopuses are pale gray and look like thick strings of soft slippery rubber. He flushes them, then puts them in a plastic bag. Two men stand with him laughing good-naturedly. Off to my left, a quarter of a mile away, three shipping boats unload huge cargo boxes with tall cranes that pivot about a steel tripod.

Modern Corinth

Modern Corinth

Let’s Go was wrong again. I’ve been looking for a Laundromat. The young man in the hotel has assured me that Corinth has no place I can get my underclothes cleaned, so I’ve washed them myself and now my room looks like the great surrender, white flags flying on every sharp corner. I’ve given a dry cleaners four shirts and one pair of pants. I hope this will discourage the fun that flies have been having with me. My clothes are due out at 1:00 PM, just before the place closes. Today is not a day to lose track of time.

What form of pestilence is this? Until a few days ago, I’d been eating at least four pieces of fruit each day, peaches, pears, bananas, but I quit when I ate the mousaka in Mycenae for fear of diarrhea like that experienced by Hans and Margo. Now I’m in a panic to find a Φαρμακειον, a pharmacy, drugstore. Tomorrow, I’m traveling all day on buses and ferries, not a day to be bathroom happy. Today, my Greek dictionary has taught me two new words: δυσκοιλιος (constipation) and κλυσμα (enema). Every traveler’s worst nightmare, plumbing problems.

By early afternoon I’ve found a drugstore and the man is very understanding, if a little suspicious. Hope he doesn’t think I’m doing this for fun. I tell him in both Greek and English, try to get across the severity of my condition. He’s deliberate with his words, providing all the options: the several-day solution, the tomorrow-morning solution, the today solution. “Κλυσμα σημερα,” I say. “Φερρυβοατ αυριο.” (Enema today. Ferryboat tomorrow.)

Before I return to the hotel, I retrieve my laundry from the dry cleaners, although I don’t open the large paper-wrapped package tied very neatly with brown string to see if it’s all there. I have more pressing business. I read the instructions, administer to myself, and lie on my side on the floor, on the grungy crinkled linoleum, waiting for thunder to strike. Here comes an ant to check on my condition.

*

Docks at Modern Corinth

Docks at Modern Corinth

I’m out on the rocks at the end of the pier. Clouds completely cover the sky and blend with haze on the horizon. Can’t tell if the sun is down. I feel a drop of rain. In the east, large clouds form, but the wind is out of the west, so maybe I’ll be able to sit here at dockside again tonight. The little blue-green light at the top of the pole is to my left, a red one on top of a pole at the end of the other dock. Just in front of me is a white sailboat with lots of rigging but no sail, a red life preserver tied to the forward end. Tonight the water is not just lapping at the rocks, it’s scrubbing them with splashes and pops. I see a white cap now and then, and foam at the edge of the rocks. The lights of homes and businesses break the darkness across the bay.

I’ve solved my bathroom problem and verified I have all my clothes. Cost me 5000 dr ($21.75) to dry-clean four shirts and a pair of pants. Can’t afford much more of that. I’ve also talked to the travel agent about a ferry. The young woman behind the desk assured me one leaves for Mykonos from Piraeus, on the coast just south of Athens, at eight o’clock tomorrow morning. I’ll have to catch the bus from Corinth to Athens at 5:30 AM. It’ll get me into Athens by 6:30. In Athens I’ll have to switch buses to get to Piraeus, but I won’t have to spend a night there after all.

When the Apostle Paul left Corinth for Ephesus, he left from Kenchreai, a small community to the south where he had his head shorn because he’d taken a vow.186 He must have looked like a modern day skinhead, but that is all they would have had in common. The couple with whom he had stayed here in Corinth, Priscilla and Aquila, sailed with him to Ephesus. Ephesus will be my first destination in Turkey. Paul was also here a second time to raise money for the poor Christians of Jerusalem. He was here for ninety days, then left for Jerusalem, the start of an ill-fated journey that would cost him his life.

I see a familiar face coming up the dock toward me. As she gets closer, I recognize her chubby, smiling face. It’s Letizia.

(For next time: On the Ferry in the Aegean)

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