Travelling has always been one of my passions. Being able to see the world and experience different cultures, has been an education. It has also made me appreciate the world we live in.

I had travelled before with my family, but in ’96 I was visiting family in my native London, England. Some guy I worked with at my part time job in Canada, he had just returned from the Greek Islands. He couldn’t stop raving about the place, it was more what he wasn’t saying and reading between the lines that had me curious.

I headed down to a travel agent on the high street in Wood Green, back in those days they would advertise the travel specials in their shop windows. I saw a ticket for 100 pounds (GBP) flight only to the island of Rhodes one of the Greek islands. I booked the ticket and flew down to Greece for a week’s holiday.

Please keep in mind, I knew nothing about this place that I was traveling to and being young I had no fear.

The flight took four and a half hours from London to Rhodes. Once I cleared customs I went into the airport and there were people holding up signs for rooms to rent. I approached a guy holding a sign, negotiated a price and then I got into his car and headed to his rental apartment.

During that summer, the Greek islands were experiencing a heatwave. The temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius in the daytime. I rented a scooter and rode up and down the streets. I spotted a black guy pumping gas at a petrol station, I was delighted to see another black person. I jumped off the scooter and asked him what the deal was. He told me I needed to go to Faliraki, which was on the other side of the island.

That day I rode up and down on my scooter, getting to know the place. At night, I was riding and the scooter stopped working. A man driving a Mercedes sedan stopped to help me. He said the scooter was out of gas and he lived up the street. I jumped into his car and went to his home. Once we arrived, his whole family was sitting at the dinner table which was outside, waiting for him to come home. There was an empty plate at the table, he offered me to join his family and eat some food. I declined because I was a little shy in those days, looking back I can only say I regret that decision.

The next day, I checked out of the room. I took a coach over to the party side of the island, which was Faliraki. I rented a room above a shop and there was a strip of bars and clubs. At night, the place felt like a March Break party place.
I entered a few bars, in one bar I was sitting on a stool against the bar. Some guy was hitting on the English girls standing next to me, the one girl put her arm around me and told the guy I was her boyfriend. I didn’t bite.

I stayed on the island for 3 nights and was starting to get bored, the next island over was Kos. Someone told me it was a better island. I took a hovercraft and headed over to Kos. I found another room to rent and went to get another scooter.

I went back to my room to rest up, in the afternoon I went for a ride on the scooter to check out the island. Right away something didn’t feel right, I did not see anyone walking the streets, no cars were moving and the place felt like a ghost town. I panicked and rode my scooter back to the place I had rented it, the old man was closing up shop. I frantically asked what was going on. He told me to relax as it was a siesta. Due to the heat, people slept from 1 to 4 and continued working afterwards. The old man that owned the scooter shop, invited me across the street to a restaurant and bought me a coffee. We had a nice conversation about the island and the country of Greece.

That night I hit the town and was walking down the boardwalk. Two Swiss girls rushed up to me and started giggling. They wanted to know if I was “Big George” from London, I laughed and said “No, but you girls are very pretty.” (Great opener, I know).

They ran off and I became excited, I was on a mission to find these girls again.

The party scene was a lot better and more polished than Rhodes. I remember being a bar and giving thumbs up to the DJ, he couldn’t stop smiling. He invited me to stand next to him in the DJ booth. The music was jamming and I think people were wondering if I was a celebrity.

The next few days I was on a mission to find the two Swiss girls again. My last night in Kos, I was sitting on a sea wall in front of a nightclub. Luck would have it that Andrea and Michelle, the two Swiss girls came out the club and saw me, they headed straight over to me giggling and then sat on my lap. I felt like the master of the universe. They took me to the house they were renting, then the fun and games began.

I just couldn’t get enough!

The next morning, I had to run to get the hovercraft that was heading back to Rhodes. I was exhausted, sunburnt and was feeling on top of the world.

I headed straight to the airport, to catch my flight to London. As I was sitting in the departure lounge, some brunette model looking chick walked into the lounge. She made eye contact, looked at the empty seat beside me and rushed to get her boarding pass. When she came back to my area, someone had sat beside me and she looked at me like I did something wrong.

Her flight to Manchester was announced over the intercom and she got up to walk to the gate. For a second I thought about boarding the plane, I then caught my senses.

The Swiss girls were from Lucerne Switzerland, I never exchanged numbers or information with them. This was before the Internet and before the invention of cellphones.

So to conclude, you only live once and try to enjoy life in the moment. I have never regretted any travels I have made and that indeed is the spice of life.

– Rudebwoy.