Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Dear Friends,

I know we have all heard the expression, “I thought I had seen and heard it all until...”  Well, I have now joined the ranks of those who have used that expression.

Before sharing my tale with you, I feel compelled to first give you some background information.  The little apartment building in which I always stay for my annual three month visit to Crete is located in the small seaside village of Amoudara and is only about six kilometers to the west of Iraklion (Heraklion).  The building has about nine or ten apartments and is owned by my landlords, Nikitas and Stella.  My apartment is located on the ground floor and is situated in almost dead center of the building.  When I am in the apartment, I almost always leave my front door and my front window open.  This permits the air to circulate and I only close the door and window when it is oppressively hot and there is a need to turn the air conditioner on or when I leave my apartment.

When I am in my apartment, I am quite frequently at my computer which sits on my little dinette table and is clearly visible from the street by passers by.  It is not uncommon for those who pass by my apartment and who see me typing away to mistakenly think that my apartment is actually the office for the little apartment building.  And, on occasions too numerous to count, I have had complete strangers to walk right into my apartment and inquire about the availability or rates for apartments there.  When I explain that my apartment is not the office they all have apologized for the intrusion and then politely backed out of my apartment.  Now that I have laid the groundwork details, I can proceed with my story:

It was about 10:30 PM one evening around the middle of September of 2012 when I was in my apartment and sitting at my computer.  I was surprised when I heard the sound of footsteps moving across my patio toward my door.  I knew that none of my friends on Crete would be visiting me at so late an hour, so I just assumed that it was someone who mistakenly thought that my apartment was the office.  A young woman of about thirty years of age briefly paused at the threshold of my door before stepping out of the night and boldly into my apartment and walking over to the table where I sat at my computer.  With a heavy Greek accent she asked, “How would you like to have all of this for only fifty Euros?” and then she made a sweeping motion with both hands moving down either side of her body from just under her armpits to about mid-thigh.  I couldn’t believe my ears!  I looked at her and responded, “Lady, I wouldn’t give you five Euros for all of that!”  Her eyes widened in a combination of disbelief and consternation as she turned and stormed out of my apartment and back into the black of night.  I was somewhat pleased with the ease at which I had I dispatched her so quickly.  I turned my attention back to my computer and resumed typing.  However, my relief was only short-lived.  In less than five minutes, I once again heard the now-familiar footsteps on my patio moving toward my door.  It was the same woman.  This time she didn’t pause before stepping into my apartment and approaching me at my table.  She spoke, saying, “The price has just gone down.  Now, you can have all of this for only twenty Euros,” she said, almost as if she were promoting a "K-Mart blue light special" and once again motioning with her hands down either side of her body.  With a stern look of determination, I said, “You are right.  The price has just gone down.  I wouldn’t give you one Euro for all of that!”  She slammed her foot down on my apartment floor and then stomped angrily out of my apartment, across my patio and disappeared into the warm Cretan evening.  I smugly smiled at my choice of words and felt that I had dealt with this “lady” in such a manner that she would be unlikely to visit me again!

The following afternoon, I had gone down the street to Popi’s little taverna on the beach to meet my friends and have a beer or two and perhaps a shot of raki (Cretan moonshine!) with them.  After having a beer with my friends I recounted the events of the previous evening.  They all laughed and joked at the choice of words I had used to persuade the “lady” that I was completely uninterested in her “generous” offer.  We had a couple more Mythos beers and then the raki began to flow.  Usually I only have two raki’s after a couple of beers, but this evening it seemed that every time I left my chair to go to the restroom or when I briefly turned my back, my little shot glass would mysteriously refill with raki.  I am not really certain how many of those tiny glasses of raki I had, but however many it was waaaaaay too many!  When I left Popi’s that evening, I was feeling no might even be said that I was just a little more than pickled!  Upon arrival at my apartment, I opened my door and window before seating myself at my computer and then making a feeble attempt to boot it up.  However, at some point before I was able to successfully get it turned on, I slipped into what could only be called a state of “twilight” – not awake, nor asleep – not completely drunk, nor completely sober either...I had entered into the alcohol equivalent of “The Twilight Zone”.  I am not sure how long it was that I sat slumped over at my computer, but I was roused from my state of half-sleep by the sound of a familiar woman’s voice with a Greek accent.  “You know, you should never leave your door open like this.  It is not safe.”  It was the same “lady” who had offered her services the previous evening.  I was a little startled and not really knowing what to say, I stammered, “Uh, yeah.  Right.”  With that she turned and evaporated into the night like an evening fog.  I sat there for several moments trying to rid the cobwebs from inside my head and attempting to understand what had just happened.  In only a matter of seconds my head began to clear and it was then that I wondered just how long she had been inside my apartment.  I left my chair and moved around the partition that separated my little bedroom from the rest of my apartment.  I always kept my billfold and my passport on the ledge of the side of the partition facing my bedroom.  I stood in absolute horror as I realized that my billfold was GONE!!!  I immediately raced from my apartment, across my patio, and into the middle of the street.  I turned right and ran down the narrow street in the direction of the beach, looking down little side streets as I went, hoping to catch a glimpse of the thief.  Upon arriving at the beach and not seeing her, I retraced my route back up the same street, past my apartment to the main street that passes through the middle of the village of Amoudara.  I looked to the right down the sidewalk and then the left.   Not seeing her, I hastily made my way back to my little apartment while muttering choice words along the way, mostly aimed at myself.  Upon re-entering my apartment, I saw my billfold lying on the sofa.  I never place my billfold on the sofa, so I expected only the worst.  When I opened it, I found that it was completely devoid of all money and that my ample supply of bus tickets had also disappeared.  Fortunately, I only had between 70 and 120 Euros in my billfold; the rest were securely locked away in the wall safe in my apartment.  While I was angry, both at myself and the “Lady of the Night”, I also felt that I had been violated and that my Crete had lost some of its innocence.

The next afternoon, I went back to Popi’s little taverna down by the beach.  My friends were all assembled there and after a cold Mythos beer, I recounted to them what had transpired the previous evening with the “Lady of the Night”.  My friends were appalled at the audacity of the woman and concluded that she must have been a true professional and had most likely committed this act many times before.  I completely agreed with their assessment.  Then, one of my friends, smiling, said, “You know, Bobby, you probably would have come out ahead if you had just accepted her discounted offer of only 20  Euros when she re-entered your apartment that first night.”  All of my friends couldn’t help but laugh, and I couldn’t resist joining in either.  After all, 20 Euros would have been a lot less than 70 to 120 Euros!  LOL.

Your Friend and Fellow “Silent Warrior”,

Bobby (Bob) Armistead


Anonymous said...

Bob, I am so glad you decided to start writing again. Your adventures and stories keep Crete alive in all of our hearts. Thanks for sharing again and may you stay safe in your travels.

Steve Dietz, Dover, PA
7276 SPS (1981-1984

John Cocuzzi said...

Glad to have you back Bobby! Look forward to hearing about your future adventures and hope to join you on Crete in the near future!
John Cocuzzi ( fellow Cretophile

James Gill 88-90 said...

I too am happy to see you back on air! I am jealous of your return to crete, once again!

This post is most obviously a gypsy. Only they are brazen enough to walk into your home.

Report it to the police so when you see her you can bring the police. She will again be brazen and not care if you see her or not, so be ready! I doubt you can get your money back, but at least the police can give her a hard time and make her go away.

That aside, don't let it get you down. It adds a little cost to the trip, but a trip to crete is always priceless! Enjoy all you can and keep your door locked!

James Gill 88-90