I know, I left you guys at a bit of a cliffhanger after my last post, but I figured hearing about things chronologically would be a little too tiring. So, I’ll be organizing my posts around stories—and there are many! AND on top of that, I never finished writing about my Germany trip! Yikes.
Before arriving, I had this vision of me zooming around the beautiful Santorini coast via scooter. Since renting those requires a certain clearance level on your drivers license, I opted for a Smart Car instead. It cost only 30€ a day to rent and I wouldn’t have to depend on the unreliable public transportation system on the island.
The first hour of it was everything I imagined—wind blowing through my hair, speeding up various mountainous regions of the island… it was at the end of the hour where things went dreadfully wrong.
After taking one of many wrong turns, the road led me down to this beautiful rocky beach with restaurants lining the side of the coast. Perfect for a little photography session. I parked the car on the downhill slope and got out of the car. As I finished taking a couple of shots, I turned around to get back to driving and instead saw my car rolling towards me. Oh no, I could’ve sworn I pulled the emergency brake! I thought, frantically bracing my hands for impact. It’s a SmartCar… how heavy can it weigh?
It turns out the SmartCar weighs a lot. Enough to push me off the ledge and onto the large rocks on the beach below. The car tilted dangerously to the side and then came to a stop. I’d like to think that I was the one that stopped the car from rolling into the water, but I don’t want to entertain the thought of what would’ve happened in that circumstance.
So here I was, my car stuck on rocks about the size of each tire, without a phone and without any idea of how to even proceed. The locals that were enjoying what was probably a quiet, peaceful time on the beachfront rushed over to ask if I was ok. One of them called the company for me and the other one invited me for a cup of coffee at his restaurant while I was waiting.
As he led me to his restaurant, we passed the car and I saw pieces of it lying on the rocks. Oh my god… how much am I going to pay for damages?!
Finally, what looked like 3 thugs came out of a huge black thug jeep and started standing around my baby. Eventually, they hooked her up to their huge 4×4 monster and slowly dragged her out.
As I was being taken back to HQ in their thug jeep, I tried striking up a bit of light conversation to maybe soften them up so that they reduced the price. Hey, it couldn’t hurt to try, right?
“So… has this ever happened before?” Yes, Michelle, soften them up by reminding them how badly you wrecked their car.
“Um… usually we get calls to pull people who get stuck in the sandy beaches… but never to this extent.”
I laughed stutteringly. Shit.
They made me stew in the reception area for a good 30 minutes, marinating my developing ulcers in my stomach. Soon, I sat before this one woman who looked seriously at a calculator. I fidgeted.
“Ok, so if you count the damage you did to the hubcaps, the underside of the car, and the piece that fell off…” she said, tapping numbers into the calculator, “it adds up to be about [insert enormous amount here].”
I was about to puke.
“BUT, I talked to the guy at the auto repair shop, and we can give it to you for [insert entirely amazing reasonable price here].”
With a sigh of relief, I handed over the money in cash.
“You know, I have no idea how she did it. If it were me, since I’m an employee at this company, I would’ve had to charge you full price,” said the disgruntled man who picked me up in the 4×4. “Anyways, we’re going to have someone re-teach you how to use the emergency brake—” He shot me a look.
“Wait, you’re going to let me drive the car again??”
“Well, yeah. Just because you had an accident, doesn’t mean we don’t want you to have fun while you’re here.”
Inside, I was thinking, oh god, please not again. I just want to stay in the hostel now.
But I manned up and drove around the rest of the day, albeit very cautiously, and ended up at Oia for a magnificent sunset.
The best part? This is the view that I was so happily taking photos of:
I wouldn’t exactly say it was worth it…