Oh no. A cold feeling of dread washed over me.
I stepped out of the washroom and there was no one at our table. My new travel friend that was having lunch with me just moments ago was no longer there. So much for solo travel and making friends on the road; I’ve met a thief! Had naively thought Meg was a person I could trust while I visit the toilet for a second. Because I’d simply left my camera and backpack (with my passport inside!) on my seat.
Trusting a stranger mistakenly on my solo trip in Santorini.. or so I’d thought.
I walked closer to the table only to realise, all my things were intact. My bag and camera were still on the chair.
The next table of Korean diners looked at me curiously as my eyes searched the small restaurant. My English-speaking Japanese friend was nowhere to be seen.
Oh well, the loss I’ll make is minimal. At least, I didn’t lose my camera and passport!
Just when I was putting on my jacket, resigned to paying for both shares of this Greek lunch, Meg dashed back into the restaurant, a look of relief on her face. She had not heard me say I’m going to the toilet, because when she turned around (I blame the views of Santorini), I was gone. She asked the waiter if I’d paid and his answer was positive (English-speaking Japanese vs English-speaking Greek), so Meg thought I’d simply left quietly.
In her haste to chase after me, she hadn’t noticed that my belongings were still on the chair. Surely food coma got us both! She, on the other hand, had thought I was a generous lady who has issues with bonding longer with new friends because I simply disappeared like a ninja. We had a good laugh over this episode!
We decided to give this friendship another chance.
Us being designers (yes, she is a designer too!), we made plans to visit a wine museum together the next afternoon.
With an address of “on the road to Kamari Beach“, the bus-driver dropped us off at what seemed like the middle of nowhere, before I spotted the museum signboard ahead. On that afternoon, we were the only visitors at the museum.
At the end of our visit and wine-tasting session, Meg and I walked out of Koutsoyannopoulos Winery, back onto the road. Unfortunately, the bus will not be arriving until an hour later, that’s how infrequent the buses are in low-season Santorini!
As if perfectly timed, rain droplets began to fall from the sky. We stood at the roadside, holding our umbrellas while pondering our next strategy. Hitchhiking came to mind while we optimistically looked out for a taxi to drive part. None did. Cars, taxis, and humans were incredibly few in winter. There were also no malls or anything open in that area for us to take shelter. We decided that we’ll walk in the direction of Fira and see if we can catch any taxis along the way.
No one walks along the road in Santorini in winter.
Except us, of course.
Given that crowds in winter were already low, the probability of an empty taxi driving by was near nil. I had no 3G but Meg had, so we followed where Google Maps took us. At one point, it looked like we were walking towards empty fields and off-season vineyards, away from the main road and nowhere near civilization. Are we lost? I was rather hesitant, but Meg reassured me that we were on the right track, constantly checking her Google Maps.
In the rain, my boots being the only sound crunching on the gravel stones, I wondered,
What if someone jumps out from a random hidden spot and attack us? Is this Meg a serial killer? No one will be able to find my body for a long time. What should I do if I were attacked? I only have a flimsy umbrella and Chaturanga-trained arms. Barely enough, but I guess they’ll suffice to buy me time to run.
My imagination takes me more places than where I go.
And Google Maps turned out to be correct.
After leading us through enough dirt roads, we finally emerged onto the main road once again. Meg had not tried to murder me. Neither did any attacker appear out of nowhere. My companion looked significantly relieved because we had walked a long way against the rain and cold wind. The rain had also stopped.
The bus finally came by and we were back in Fira in no time.
Over dinner at The Bone, we had a good laugh as I confessed the imaginative thoughts I had during our adventure. It was hilarious!
As of the time that I’m typing this entry, Meg is in my Facebook and Whatsapp, we’re still friends living in different lands, and we’re definitely alive and well, hehe.