Sunday 30.09.2001 - Strike

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Our suitcases are packed and with a good spirit we leave for Zaventem.
It turns out to be a false start though, the Sabena pilots have just decided to take it easy... very easy. A first report of a four hour delay has only just come in and a few moments later it has already been augmented to five hours. We are a bit disappointed about this setback, but should still consider ourselves lucky that the flight hasn't been cancelled at all. We fill our stomachs (with) using the lunch voucher we got at the check-in desk and kill time with a game of cards.

Sabena on strike

Eventually we leave with the Greek airline Electra, the plane is an old ramshackle DC-10. The crew only speaks Greek and is not very friendly, probably because they are doing some serious overtime. The food is also of poor quality, but we are on our way and haven't crashed yet, so we shouldn't complain.

It's already 3.30 am when we finally touch down at Rhodes but the thermometer still reads a pleasantly 22C at that time. Meanwhile our schedule for that evening and the first day of cycling has gone astray.
The bike rental shop had booked a room for us for the first night, but since we arrived so late we are in doubt whether it's still worth it to take a room. With this temperature we could easily sleep a couple of hours on the beach, but in order to take a fresh start the next morning we finally decide to take a room anyway.

We ask the only taxi driver around if he can take us to the hotel, but he appears to be already waiting for a customer. He tells us to wait for another taxi a bit further on. After having waited in vain for about half an hour, we start reading the advertising sign of the taxi company and discover that at this hour of night taxis only come on request! Luckily the Jet-Air hostess hasn't left yet and she calls us a cab. Five minutes later - Gert is just about to fall asleep on a wooden bench - we see a taxi approaching. He is heading straight for us but then again, it should be hard not to do so, since we are the only souls left at the airport. Our destination is hotel Summerland in Ixia.

When arriving at the hotel at 4.30 am everything is dark and we start wandering if we will still be able to get a room. As we open the reception door a dozed off receptionist jumps out of his lazy couch.
We are offered two rooms, but just take one to save some money, after all it's just for a few hours. This means though we have to share one small double bed with three people, having a total length of almost six metres. It turns out to be no problem at all since we fall asleep like a log.
It is 5 o'clock in the morning.