In my first summer as a newbie rep I was stationed in Halkidiki on mainland Greece. I was based in a little village called Fourka with 2 other reps. As a first season it was definitely on the more boring side of life. A taxi to get to the heart of all the action was very expensive so, CG and I simply made do with the local entertainment…if you could call it that. I guess having been made to live in a rural village I was not aware of what excitement lay beyond the boundaries and confines of this small village existence.
I had become used to hotel Greek nights and quiz nights as my only form of entertainment and I would relish in the delights of free food in the tavernas and bars since the 3 of us were the ONLY reps stationed there. After 6 months of deprivation in a 16×16 prison cell, with no home comforts and a totally new culture and language to traverse, I was looking forward to placement day when I could choose a new destination…to live somewhere far less remote and hopefully have an itsy bitsy taster of certain modern conveniences…BUT NO! It was not to be like that…because I was advised on placement day that the only choice I had was to return to the same destination for my second season or quit! WHAAAAAT!!! Ok so breathe…it turned out that the new policy was that new reps HAD TO return to the same destination for their second year – the reasoning was that it was survival of the fittest. The company had invested time and money and they needed to see who was strong enough to keep going before they invested anymore time and effort. Well, I was no quitter…but I made it clear from day one…I was NOT going back to Fourka!
I did not end up in Fourka for my second summer…I ended up in Polichrono…which was a little more lively, a lot closer to the action of Hanioti and definitely provided me with a different type of summer season than my first one.
I admit I can write a damn good sales pitch, but that doesn’t mean that I am a sales person. That’s right folks, I was the only rep in Polichrono with 4 self catering units and I made zero money in all of them! I made no money and I was proud of it. I got damn good CSQ’s but I was broke as hell! But in Greece, especially Halkidiki, there is no such thing as being “broke”! Every taverna and every bar…they want you in it because it looks good when guests see a rep in their establishment. That season I worked my ass off promoting bars and restaurants in the resort just so that my broke ass could eat and drink for free. *GRIN*.
Did I visit any of my units I hear you ask…hmmm…I did…for about 10 minutes at a time (if lucky). I spent most of that 2nd summer season using my desk flip chart – which either said “out sick” or “in office”. Where was I, I hear you ask? Well, I spent most of my time on the beach chilling with my new friend RG and a few other new pals, or I was on the back of a motorbike exploring the countryside. Yes my friends, I made it my mission to dodge work for an entire 6 months and not get caught…and am proud to reveal…I succeeded!!! However, I did get busted once…when my manager spotted me on the back the same bike without a helmet…but thankfully it was ON MY DAY OFF! Phew, that was close trust me! I got a right bollocking for not wearing a helmet – thanks to all those health and safety regulations.
My time in Polichrono could have gone waaaay more relaxed than it actually did if I am completely honest. My landlord (which was also my hotelier) spoke NO English whatsoever…which meant he could not communicate with guests, and guests could not communicate with him. *FACE PALM*. That meant that I was constantly on duty trying to explain and pacify situations. This one time shit flooded out a guests room because they had been flushing the toilet with toilet paper. SIGH. The hotelier was cussing “malaka”, the housekeeper was on the verge of resigning (which is what I got from her body language), the guests were screaming how unhygienic and unsanitary and how much they hate Thomson(s)…and there I was caught in the middle trying to decipher Greek and translate to both parties involved. Talk about “up shits creek without a paddle”. Not how I had wanted to be avoiding my daily routine to be fair.
Luckily there were only a couple of those issues during the 6 months, because I made it my point of duty to explain the toilet situation to prevent any further communication issues. I made a decision that I really didn’t need those sorts of situations interfering with my precious mission.
Life in Polichrono was peaceful and uneventful to say the least – unless of course you were on the late night airport transfer, and you had to do guest drops at self catering units at about 2am. Why I hear you ask…should be pretty straight forward right? WRONG! At 2am the whole world is sleeping…including the hotelier (who only speaks Greek). Which means that when you are dropping off guests, the keys should be in the apartment doors. You are assigned a map at the airport with all the room locations, and on arrival in resort you have to walk around in the dark and figure out where the rooms are from a hand drawn map. Sweet Baby Jesus…someone stab me with a badge! It was horrific…especially if the flight had been delayed, the guests were cranky as fuck, you don’t know the layout of the hotel, and to top it all off ….the fucking key is missing from the door!!!! At this point you want the ground to swallow you whole… or lightening to strike…anything…something ….
You believe that is the worst part of that ordeal..oh no! You need to rectify the situation of the missing key immediately…so what do you do? You have to call the hotelier who is half asleep and only speaks Greek…you need to explain about the missing key and try to confirm the guest who has arrived, because there is a possibility that this guest was missed off the arrivals list….FUUUUCKK!!!! It’s now 4am by the time you have somehow rectified the problem, pacified the guest as best as possible, and made it home to bed to crash for about 3 hours before its time to face people to sell, sell, sell.
Well, that season I wasn’t about that life! I decided I was going to do everything on my terms and on my own time. If I got in from the airport at 3am…I didn’t actually go to work until about 10am (if I felt like it). As I said before, it was a bad ass summer where I called the shots, I made my rules, and I had a blast! I wonder to this day how come I didn’t get caught. People would call me lucky; they would say I had an uninterested manager…all of which is true. But at the same time, I like to believe that the Greek Gods were in my favour that season.
One thing is for certain, there were memories, laughter, adventures and friendships galore that summer.