On an 18-hour ferry ride from Athens to the Greek island of Karpathos last year, I was unable to sleep and had a chance encounter with Russian woman at 2:00 a.m. I was hoping for romance, but I experience something entirely different.
On the back deck of the ship, I have a nice view of the moon and ocean. I can see the shadows of passing islands. Deck lights, which are strung above me like holiday ornaments, reflect in the water. The other seats are empty except for the one occupied by a tall brunette. She is wearing low-slung jeans and a trendy high-cropped white jacket. A sliver of skin is exposed providing a glimpse of the muscles of her back, which pulse as she whispers into her cell phone. Periodically, she takes a long drag on a cigarette. I sit at the opposite end of her row.
She finishes her conversation, snaps the phone closed, and gestures for me to come over. She speaks Russian and German, and a few choice phrases in English, including those that every insomniac longs to hear:
"For tonight, only." "Whisky, whisky." "You look like Bruce Willis."
We attempt to communicate and I learn that she is recently divorced. I look into her moist blue eyes. She finishes her cigarette and throws the butt overboard. She lights another one. I ask her for one and she lights mine. Then she throws the lighter overboard. I point to her and say: "Whisky, whisky?"
She gestures for me to stay in my seat and she walks inside to the bar. She emerges with two Cokes and two cups filled with ice. Then she pulls out two nip-sized bottles of Johnny Walker Black and empties one into my glass. I add Coke. She does the same with her cup. Then she throws the scotch bottles overboard. She sucks down her drink and produces two more scotch nips from her bag.
As we drink, her English improves. It turns out she knows a few more choice phrases:
"F%#k the money!"
Hmmm, I think, maybe she prefers quirky, interesting guys who look like Bruce Willis as opposed to rich schmucks who buy her lots of tchotchkes. My kind of woman…
"F%#k You!" (This one she emphasizes with two middle fingers and points overboard.)
She continues to talk non-stop in Russian with some German thrown in. Her favorite German word is "Scheisse," which is not a nice word.
Sometimes she is talking to me. Sometimes she is talking at me. Sometimes she is talking to someone else that I can't see.
Her body language is also little confusing. Sometimes she rubs up against me like a cat. Sometimes she dances, sings, and throws things overboard. Sometimes she sits quietly and broods.
As we're drinking and talking, the ferry stops at various Greek islands and lets people on and off. At one point the boat pulls into the island of Santorini, which is known for its spectacular beauty and towering cliffs. A series of street lamps illuminates a switchback of roads that leads to the top of a cliff facing us. Though I'm not much of sight-seer, apparently she is moved by the view. I am moved by the fact that we are now in a full-body embrace. My lips are inches from her left earlobe, which looks like a tiny grape. My appetites are stirred and I try to take a nibble.
She turns away. It's now 5:00 in the morning and I'm finally getting tired. In fact, I'm more exhausted than if we had spent the last three hours in adult situations. I tell her I'm going to bed and attempt to kiss her on the mouth. She offers her cheek. I give a light chuck on the shoulder and say, "nice meeting you buckaroo."
Receive My Weekly Blog
Around the World Blog
Four Months, Eight Countries
On a recent solo trip around the world, the author visited at least one country on every continent. The plane tickets alone cost $5600. Was it worth it? more
How To: The world's shortest guide to buying the most essential piece of gear for your trip: the back pack. more
Humor: A tropical disease expert offers his thoughts on one readers mysterious itching attack. more
Short Story: One writer faces every hypochondriac's nightmare when he visits a vaccine clinic. more
World Music: Our recent picks from Africa and Scotland. more
Video: Recent footage from a bungy jump in New Zealand. more