The ticket

 

We, my good co-driver and I, have just finished our fifth day harvesting olives together with our Cretan family.

There are plenty of jokes, many crazy stories good and bad told and of course lots of laughter. I guess that is a way to

forget about the pain in your back and yours arms.

We are on our way back to Chania and look forward to a nice and cold shower.

Not much traffic on the highway.

From Kavros is a long stretch, then a bend and finally the crossing to Georgioupolis and there at the bus stop is the police

waving us in.

We are caught in a radar control.

“You never learn, do you?” It is my co-driver telling me the truth.

“I know dear but as you know I am a slow student (and apparently a driver going too fast), this is the second time

in 43 years” 

She knows I am right and that I have been on the roads almost every day since I was 18 years old.

“Kalimera may I see you driving license and insurance paper please” the officer is very polite.

I give him the licence and registration paper.

He looks at them and says:

“Is this your insurance paper?” he holds out the registration paper.

“Yes all in one you know!”

 He is satisfied.

“Do you know the speed limit on this road?”

 Do I really, probably 80? I have to take a chance and then look innocent.

“I have been told 100”

“Yes but here is a village and the limit is 60”

Did I see that sign? No! Was 100 km/hour right then? I wonder!

“………and you were driving in 96”

“Ok officer my auto-pilot was put to 95 in order to be on the safe and legal side and I did not see that 60 sign

so what can I say”.

We are discussing back and forth and he is slowly beginning to give up when another car is caught.

Now he is clever and smart and plays this new trump in a very polite way.

“I am sorry sir, my colleague just caught another car and as I am sure you understand I can make no exceptions”

I have seen all in my mirror.

“Come on officer give me the fine then!”

He starts to fill in a red ticket.

“What is the name of your father?”

?????

“My father?”

“Yes your father”

“My father is dead; he passed away some 20 years ago!”

“I need to know his name”

“Why, I told you he is dead?”

Suddenly he looks frustrated.

Even though I cannot understand what my dead father has to do with me getting a ticket, I tell the officer

his name.

He is just doing his job so why make it hard on him.

The amount to pay is €33.

Everything written in the ticket is in Greek. If it is hard to read and understand printed Greek text then it is

impossible to read and understand the handwriting of this police officer.

He seems to be aware of this, starts to explain, and finally tells me to pay the fine in Chania.

   

“How much?” it is my co-driver again.

“€33! That is cheap for all the fun we have had today. That amount is nothing if you think of all the olive oil

we will bring back to Sweden.

Don’t you agree?”

She is smiling back at me and I know why, it is not because of our olive oil no it is because the fine was only €33

and not €330.

We leave the police officer with a smile on our faces.

Two minutes later:

 “Do you think it is possible to pay the fine on the spot directly to the police?”

She is clever my co-driver but a bit slow.

We turn the car and when we reach the bus stop, the police are gone.

“Let’s find the sign then”

Back on the stretch again and there they are in the parking area where a local baker is selling his

bread every day.

The officers look surprised to see us again.

“Is it possible to pay the fine to you now?”

“No sorry!”

On our way back we cannot find the 60 sign. Is it really a limit of 60 on the stretch all the way from Kavros?

The shower is now more tempting than finding that invisible sign and we drive direct back to Chania.

 

 

On the next day, after we have finished the olives, we try to find out what really is the speed-

limit from Kavros to Georgioupoli.

The beginning is easy to find but where is the end of 60 km/hour. No sign of such a sign.

We are going very slowly and when we reach the bend just before the bus stop:

“THERE behind those bushes, do you see it?"                                                                                                                                          

She is right. Well hidden behind bushes and a big Nerium plant…impossible to observe from a distance more than maybe 5 meters away even if you are driving in 80 km/hour I see two signs.    

The lower one, slightly turned away from the road, is the 60 sign.

To slow down from 80 or as in my case from 96 to 60 must be mission impossible if you do not want to step on the break with the risk to have someone to crash into your back or to have your

passengers in the backseat to join you in the front seat.

“Of all the stupid, crazy, incompetent…………..”

“Take it easy dear” my co-driver knows very well what is inside of me and that it might explode any second now.

“Take a deep breath, take one more” her voice is very soft

“Ok it was only €33, but I am not sure I will pay.”

Even though it has started to rain, I am out of our car with my cameras to take pictures.

I even use my video camera passing the sign in about 80 km/hour and you cannot see anything of that sign.

Before I pay, I will show the pictures and the videotape to someone in charge just in order to see his or hers reaction. 

That sign must be one of the best sources of income in Crete.

 

Two weeks, maybe two and half weeks later, we enter the light blue coloured police building on the road  out to Souda.

(We were told to go there by a girl in the Dimarxio of Chania)

It is very quite.

Inside in the hall we find the officer in charge of the information desk, half-asleep half-lying down in his chair watching TV.

Oh yes, he will have a bad back tonight.

I show the red ticket to him.

Without saying a word, he points to a room on the other side of the entrance hall.

We enter the room and we find another officer in the same position. Again, I show my ticket, he looks at it, and then he says:

“You cannot pay here; you have to go to Vrisses to the kapetanio there”

I show him the pictures in my mobilphone.

He laughs and says: “Greece”

 

Of course we have to go to Vrisses, this looks exciting.

30 minutes later, we enter the town hall where a friendly woman tells us that the police station is just some 75 - 100 metres further down the street.

The station is a small villa with a nice garden in front. We enter and ask for the kapetanio.

In a room to the left, we find the kapetanio, smoking. Papers all properly fixed in piles cover his table.

He seems to have everything under control.

We salute him, show him the red ticket, and tell him that we want to pay.

“It is too late for you here to pay!” his English is not so good.

“Too late?”

“The day to pay is gone and I could do no thing to this now.”

He explains some unreadable figures on the ticket.

“That is day to pay; you have to go to court 18th January in Vamos”

“Excuse my troubling you sir but we will leave Crete before that. It must be possible to pay and if not

I will simply not do it”

He looks embarrassed.

He is calling for Alex who is much younger than his kapetanio. They talk fast and I am not able to follow

 their conversation more than I understand that Alex will try to explain the whole situation.

He does and we will of course continue this matter in Vamos.

Before we leave, I show the photos to both of them. Same reaction as in Chania; laughter.

It is impossible to see the signs” my voice is not as soft as before and I notice their features are tightened.

“You know this is not our responsibility. There must be someone, probably from Georgioupolis, who shall clean this area.”

“……and you just have to go there to collect the money. Is that it?”

The kapetanio surrenders and leaves the room.

I ask Alex if he is passing this sign sometimes. 

“Every day sir, I am going by bus from Rethymnon but I am always sitting in the back of bus and cannot see anything.”

!!!!!!!!!!!! Sigh!!

 

On our way towards Vamos we cannot do anything better than laugh. This is fantastic.

Without knocking, we enter the room of the kapetanio in Vamos. He is occupied talking to two couples from England (Hello again! Remember?).

The same story as in Chania and in Vrisses once more.

The result this time is that we are told the way to the courthouse further down the street….. and of course the good laughs  as we once more show the pictures.

  

It is easy to find the courthouse. The door is open but in fact, the court is closed.

We follow a staircase to second floor and there in a tiny room we find a man and a younger girl.

Again the same story.

They are both very helpful and of course, there will be no problem to pay.

The man makes a telephone call and explains to someone in the other end of the line.

“You have to go to the Dimarxio, it is a white building up the street, and there they will  help you.”

We bid them farewell with big smiles on our faces.

“Do you believe this is end of story?” my co-driver looks like a question mark.  

“Den xero agapi mou!”

What?

“I don’t  know  dear   

 

The Dimarxio is a mess. Papers all over and a man almost dying from stress.

Poor man and now he has do deal with us.

“No, no, no you can not pay this fine here” he is red all over his face.

“But we visited the court and there………”

 A young girl interrupts us: “Of course you can pay in Chania or if you like, to go to Georgioupolis”

The man suddenly explodes with a big POFF!

The girl insists and we trust her judgement.

She writes an address in Chania on a piece of paper, which we keep just in case. We will of course,

without no doubt what so ever, drive down to Georgioupolis.

The criminal always returns to the spot of his crime.

 The police officer is a nice young man and as we show him the ticket and the pictures, he smiles (why should he not).

“Over there is a small office where you can pay” he points across the open market.

Five minutes later we are back: “There are only tabernas there”

He smiles and joins us and there between two tabernas is, as he said, the small office.

Before he turns back, I ask him if he knows of the persons responsible for making the signs visible.

His body language is very unveiling.

“It is not a police matter” and there is a big smile on his face again.

From the deep of my hart I love this country called Greece.

  

 

 

A tall, good-looking young girl finally takes our €33 and in return, we get what I would call four coupons.

“Now you have to go toVrisses and show these coupons to the police there.”

She says it with a fantastic voice so tender and soft  and I cannot avoid kissing her forehead.

She looks surprised but she does not know what we have been through today.

We tell her and with glittering eyes she smiles .......of course,

what else is possible……..or are my co-driver and I not focused any more?

Back in Vrisses, the kapetanio gives us big eyes as we enter his station once more.

He looks at his watch. Yes, many hours have passed since our first meeting this morning.

I wave the coupons in front of his nose as he shows us into a room with two women dressed in uniforms.

“Eleni se parakalo”

One of the women looks up from her papers on the table and the kapetanio hands over our coupons to her.

She produces four new coupons using all her power on two different stamps and finally signs them.

The kapetanio follows the procedure very closely.

“Do you smoke?”

“No,  but please tell some one to clean in front of the signs and don’t put the speed limit control there again before this is done!”

“I promise not, there is village you know”

We leave the police station with four new coupons in our hands. End of story?

Not quite!

 A couple of days later we will once more pass the bus stop at Georgioupolis but this time I have a hunch; the police will be there again.

I am slowing down to 40 km/hour and of course there they are the same two.

I just have to stop and tell them about our story.

“I see you know the limit now”.

“Yes and you still know where to make good money. Was I not driving too slowly, is it 60 km/hour, here is a village.”

I give him a big smile.

We tell them what we have been through and all of sudden they both look very downhearted and sad.

Then the closing remark from our polite and very embarrassed Cretan police officer:

“Sir if I had known all the trouble you have been through I would never have given you that ticket.”

I look at my co-driver and she smiles back.  

One thing is for sure, we saved many from being caught while we were telling the police our story.

We had turned from two fastdriving criminals into talking saviours, not bad for two Swedes loving Crete even more.

 

On our visit to Crete in April/May this year some of the bushes were gone but the big plant just in front of the signs are still there.

If you are caught driving too fast when passing Georgioupolis please give our love to the two officers.

 

Kriti stis kardies mas

lars with co-driver Sofia

 

No sign of a sign and it is only 5 metres away!!!

No wonder we were caught here because as the officer told us:

"Here is a village"