We had just arrived in Greece on our honeymoon, and we were listening to a talk about the resort. Did not expect to hear a warning about snakes. As in, be careful when you walk about at night in case there are snakes on the paths. Half the audience freaked out, some got up and screamed in panic.
No, no, don’t worry, they are only in the hills, she lied.
The next day, I was sunbathing completely covered up, trying to keep the wasps away from me. I don’t know about you, but wasps and nakedness do not go together for me. At this moment in time I was only worried about the wasps. The earth had not moved yet.
I looked at the sea, admired a stand of tall ornamental grass, and cooed over the cute kitten playing nearby. It suddenly pounced into the tall grass, to emerge with a snake in its mouth. Which it ate head first, with snake wriggling until the cat was halfway down it. Then cute cat put the rest of the snake on the steps to our cabin.
There were snakes in the grass, and rats everywhere else. Mostly, the rats were squished on the roads. I stopped counting after a hundred, there were thousands on the road to the town. The hotel dog had some of his dinner stolen by a rat as I watched. A bowl of food was placed in front of the dog. A large rat bounded along, grabbed a piece of meat and ran off with it. The dog didn’t even bother complaining.
Then, that night, or the next one, memory is a blur from checking under the bed numerous times to make sure we were alone. The earth moved. It sounded like a train approaching, getting louder and louder. Then the shaking began. We clung to one another, and I hoped my mother wouldn’t have to claim me like that, looking debauched and dead, and squished like the rats on the road from the falling roof.
Roof stayed on. In the morning, the resort manager said not to worry because those metal rods sticking up through the roof were to keep it on in earthquakes. Not that metal thingies had calmed the Greek guests, who had all rushed outside in various states of undress.
Not us. We were waiting for the tsunami, and I was silently promising to never have sex again (in Greece) if I survived.
What can I say, I lied. And then there was another earthquake and that was it for me.
Except, I forgot to tell you about the forest fires. Fire crept down the hillside behind the resort after the first earthquake. We lounged on our chairs and watched the water bombers scoop up seawater to put it out. Not a good day for swimming, so we just watched the planes and the cute cat catching snakes for dinner.