Thoughts and tales from the saddle - on my own in Europe.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Greek-Turkish Border

Passport Control Guy: "Vısa, ten sterling."
Percy: "I don`t have any sterling."
PCG: (Shrugs, holds my passport out to me and points left, towards Greece.)
I smile, not in an attempt to smooth my way but because I was expectıng something like this.
P: "I`ve got some euros, if you..."
PCG: "No!" He interrupts me, shouting, "Sterling. It says it here!"
He shows me the visa sticker and it does indeed say "10 GBP".
P: "Well I don`t have sterling. I`ve got euros," I say agaın but he`s not listenıng to me, he`s throwing his hands in the air in an exasperated fashion, shouting ın Turkish, gesturıng towards me, then glaring at me. "Blimey," I mutter under my breath, "chill out." I go to my bike and return with my wallet. He`s sitting in his chair, still glaring. I decide to exercise my international diplomacy skills which, in this case, consist of shouting back at him.
PCG: "No euros, only sterlıng," he says agaın.
P: (shouting, nearly) "Why would I have any sterling? I`ve not come from England. I don`t even live in England (which is kınd of true). I haven`t even been in England for over a year (which obvıously isn`t true but firstly, how would he know and secondly, it feels like I haven`t). I`ve got euros."

I produce a fan of euro notes from my wallet. Seeing the colour of my money seems to have an effect. He grumbles somethıng then disappears into a back office, speaks on a phone and returns a minute later. "16 euros," he mutters. Thankfully I have 16 exactly. I dread to think what having to produce change would have done to him. The problem, it transpires, is not that they can`t take euros, it was just that he didn`t want to have to work out what 10 GBP was in euros. He had to phone someone to tell him.


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