Where Did Joe and Devo Go
Travel, Friendship, Giggles
Hello. This is Joe and I’m Devo.
Two years ago I had never been anywhere. My first passport was completely stampless when it expired. I had, and continue to have, a lot of travel anxiety. Then two of our friends had a destination wedding. One of those weddings you get invited to and you’re like, Yay! Italy! And then you start looking at plane tickets and hotels and you’re like, Jesus. Italy? It was well worth it. That trip taught me that I could do it, that I should do it, and most importantly that I wanted to do it. Joe and I decided that at least once a year we would get out of the country, and I decided for both of us that we’d document our experiences here. Thanks for reading.
I could have sworn the guy next to me ordered cherry juice. “Did he just say cherry juice?” I thought. I looked around. Everyone was drinking wine. Maybe he said sherry. Sherry, please.
We met a dog at a crossroads and Joe asked him which way to go. He asked, us, “Where are you headed?” I’m kidding he started barking menacingly so we turned around and went the other way. It was an answer of sorts.
I’d say the only real problem with what we did today comes from society and the idea that if you’re not doing things ALL THE TIME you’re basically a loser. Especially when you’re on vacation in a foreign city oh man if you’re not exhausted at the end of your vacation did you even take one?
We have arrived on the island of Milos. The island where the Venus de Milo was discovered. An island, according to the travel magazine on the ferry, “characterized by eroticism and unparalleled beauty.” It’s pretty, I’ll give it that.
We finished eating and headed out for Kastanas beach. A (nudist) beach according to google maps. As we would learn throughout the day, this is a meaningless distinction. Every beach is a nude beach, especially if you’re an old man.
It quickly dawned on us that, whether we wanted to or not, we were about to face a test. Maybe it wasn’t what we’d set out for, maybe we hadn’t prepared for it, but it was here. The yes-or-no answer to the question, “Are you cool?”
Then we went to all four bars in Fira. Murphy’s, Two Brothers, The Highlander, and Kira Thira. They were all different but they all featured a saxophone as a decoration somewhere. The Highlander featured live, unscheduled amateur arm wrestling.
When she brought out our food, the waitress asked which one of us was Greek. This is the highest compliment a tourist can receive and I believe was earned purely on the strength of our food order.
Great, I though, we’re gonna pay ten euro each to get stuffed onto this crowded dance floor. Turns out stuffed onto a dance floor is my preferred way to dance. I’m never sure what to do with my arms anyway so it’s a relief to have them pinned to my body.
What are we doing? What are YOU doing. Don’t ask us questions like that. We’re wondering where your parents are, that’s what we’re doing.
They played fast. They played slow. They played bright. They played heavy. It takes real talent to make a flute sound heavy. They were basically the Led Zeppelin of classical Greek instrumental music.
He pushed the button for English and only like, four words turned to English so Joe was like, fuck that, and walked over to the human-being kiosk and bought two tickets from him. Then we walked straight on to a bus that took us straight to the Palace of Knossos. Way to go Joe.
There are no ferrets on Crete but there is something called a Least Weasel, which, as far as names go, is right up there with Pension George. I think the proper article to use when referring to a Least Weasel is ‘the.’ As in, “That’s the Least Weasel of any weasel I’ve ever seen.”
We were too close to it to even get a sense of the shape of the plane. All I wanted was a sense of the shape. Nick made a joke about it not really being a plane but some garbage they put out there to fool the tourists. Not funny, Nick. That one hits a little too close to home.
For the first time I noticed the one Joe was wearing was cut much higher than the one I had on. I found this to be hilarious and Joe insisted that I had known the whole time and had purposefully given him the ‘sexier’ suit. I promise this is not the case. Pure luck of the draw.
This trip is over. It ended when we got back to Heraklion. All we’re on now is a two day ride to the airport. We’re gliding in on residual energy. We’re running out of euros, clean clothes, and patience.
While I was waiting I was treated to a familiar scene in any country, an old lady hectoring the old man at the bakery counter. It felt good to be there, like I was firmly embedded in everyday Greek life.
This trip did not start slowly. I walked off the jetway in Hong Kong with 45 minutes to make my connection and an unblemished naïveté about what it was going to take to do that. Fortunately, the good men and women of the HKIA are used to receiving international jackasses.
it started pouring rain. Hard rain. Heavy rain. The lady offered to lend us one poncho. I’m not sure but I think she was suggesting that we sit on each other’s shoulders and wear the long poncho like two kids trying to pass themselves off as an adult.
“That’s enough.” I said. He seemed to accept this. And we got back on our way. We rode for another 15 minutes until we got to a road with a ton of scooters on it. He waved us on and left. Nice guy, really. He shook us down for about 15 bucks but I gladly would have paid twice that for good directions and to not be killed.
“Oh yeah sure you just stay on this road here, go straight through the roundabout, keep the river on your right. Eventually you’ll see a super tall pagoda off to your left, that’s where you hit the 1A. Go the wrong way up the exit ramp, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that’s a perfectly acceptable thing to do here, take a right and stay on that road all the way to Hanoi. Can’t miss it.”
It occurred to me yesterday that without this bizarre schedule, the blog might not be happening so embrace it! Revel in these free hours before the day gets going. However, if you came here to read about what happens in Vietnam after 10pm, you’re going to be disappointed because I do not know.
An eerie calm settled over the table as we waited for the broth to boil. The restaurant cleared out. I shifted in my seat, suddenly unable to get comfortable. Two geckos chased each other on the wall. I poked the larb. Finally the broth was bubbling and the battle was joined.
Joe went in the water and said it was hot. He also said there were visible fish. I’m not sure if this was a selling point or a deterrent. I skipped it. Warm sea water is nice but not for a super hot day. It’s like when people keep their pools too warm. Pools are supposed to be cold. Cool at least. You want hot water get a hot tub.
There were a bunch of dogs sleeping near one of the temple entrances. Joe tried to get close enough to get a picture but they noticed that he hadn’t taken his shoes off and started barking. It was pretty alarming given how quiet the place was, so we fled the scene.
Out in front of us, where the road should have been spooled out through the pretty countryside, someone had taken a pencil eraser and rubbed away the picture that was supposed to be there. All that was left was a great grey smudge where our path should have been. And it was getting closer by the minute. By the time the first drops hit me I was still coming to terms with what was happening. Then we rode right into the teeth of a monster storm.
This day was kind of a slow day, but I think we needed a slow day. I know I did. I’m still fighting a head cold and my patience for scooter traffic is wearing thin. No one walks here. If you have to walk somewhere, you ride a scooter. I even saw a man carrying a tray with two bowls of soup, on a scooter. For real? How far are you taking that soup?
The bun cha was delicious and was far superior to the bun ca, in my opinion. Little sausage patties in a delicious broth with noodles and greens. Probably my favorite dish so far. We managed to take zero pictures of it. I didn’t even take a picture of the right menu page. We are terrible food bloggers.
So with the curtains drawn and the K-pop blaring, perhaps it’s time we looked in. Time we we leaned into the mirror and traced the lines that years, pain, and lack of a decent moisturizer have scored into our faces. Time we washed our hands of the emotional and physical grime that one accumulates in this ceaseless pursuit of money and bad decisions, and ponder the murk as it slowly drains away. On second thought, maybe it’s time to talk about this thing.
I thought I had a good thing going with this country. They aren’t overly eager to do shit for you like take your bags up to the room or load them into cabs, but this lady was determined to get my coffee for me. So I waited until she left her post and went for it. I got to the coffee station, grabbed a cup and turned around to go back to my table. There she was, filling the cup I’d left at the table. Fine. Stand there and watch me double fist these coffees.
He was so drunk he kept skipping Joe’s turn and the game ended when he stopped playing completely to tell us, that his father and grandfather were the heart of Beijing? Or possibly that he was old, but young at heart? Something about 100 years? Then he was carted away by his friends and we finished the game with Oscar, a good dart player and a serviceable singer.
This is something that everyone agrees you have to do. With our morning already squandered and a dinner reservation at 7, we set out to summit this bitch. What lay ahead was impossible to know so we did what all endurance climbers do when they’re prepping for a difficult climb, ate burgers and cheese fries and forgot to bring water.
We checked our bags at the front desk, and set out on our last restaurant wander. This is where I follow Joe for a half hour as he walks past 30 restaurants where I would happily eat until he finds just the right one. I call it the Joe Paradox. Given the number of habitable restaurants in the known universe, why hasn’t Joe attempted to contact one?
We’ve been getting A LOT of requests for a playlist of our most watched videos while in the hotel rooms of Vietnam. We probably saw each of these videos upwards of 10 times. Enjoy, or suffer, as we did.