Sunday, September 23, 2007

Day 20: Karpathos day 1; Mosquito Bites of the World

The ferry ride is 18 hours as advertised. I arrive in Karpathos, which is the stop between Crete and Rhodes, at 4:30 pm. To save some money, I have decided to rent a mountain bike instead of a moped. My hotel is only 10 miles from the ferry and the windsurfing center is only 2.5 miles from my hotel. I consider myself in pretty good shape (though after smoking cigarettes and drinking scotch all night, I'm feeling a little queasy.)

I rent a mountain bike for 5 Euro a day. (the cheapest moped was $13 a day, plus insurance and gas. I didn't price those out. But I didn't want to spend as much on transportation as I did on a hotel) So I put on my 35-pound back pack and mount the bike.

One problem I hadn't anticipated: Like many Mediterranean islands, this ones is all hills. It takes me about an hour to get to my hotel. I am wiped out.

The Hotel Poseidon is quaint, a short walk to the water, has good food, but:
- the beds are too small (I request a room with larger bed. The manager says she'll one for me the next night.)
- there are no air conditioners or fans (you leave your doors and windows open so all manner of wild things can help themselves to your flesh)

After my first night in Karpathos, I've assembled this useful chart.

Figure 1: Mosquito Bites from Around the World

El Yaque, Venezuela
- itch: minor
- welt: none
- vector: mosquitos are fast and quiet, you don't know they've hit you till feel the bite or see them flying around the room bloated with your blood.

Athens, Greece
- itch: intense
- welt: large, red, angry
- vector: mosquitos are slow and quiet, so you can kill them before they bite.

Karpathos, Greece
- itch: minor
- welt: none
- vector: mosquito are faster than brethren in Athens, but slower than those in El Yaque. Note: these are noisy and the buzzing is very annoying.