Jon looks summery this morning, no? His ticket on the Superfast Ferry to Italy, costing an extra fifteen euros, is marked ‘Cargo Co Driver’. He is the Jeeves to my Wooster.
‘I virtually am cargo,’ he weeps plaintively, and we take a stroll around the poop deck to improve morale.
Namibian emerges bleary-eyed, far from well rested. He has shared a cabin with his equally corpulent co-driver (whom Namibian has the gall to call fat), snoring at each other through the small hours. Now if an earplug manufacturer could drown out the cacophonous din in that cabin, it would indeed be a sleeping aid worth purchasing.
Burping, coughing, farting, wheezing, and talking utter balls: coo, what a night that must have been. Apparently they’ve had separate beds, but I briefly wonder – from a scientific point of view, you understand – if two porkers are anatomically capable of “spooning”. No, we don’t need any wise cracks about swine flu, thank you very much. Tempting though, isn’t it?
Just before we dock – an hour late, so Italian time is now effectively Greek time? Agh! – I check the ramp carrier (underneath the trailer) and the air deflector (above the cab) for unwelcome hitchhikers that may have stowed away during the crossing. Oh, those poor homeless Balkan chappies cause us such a headache.
Now the big drive begins. While the rest of AC/DC’s crew sip snowballs and screwdrivers in Athens – they fly later in the week – us truckers now tackle the whopping 2,500 kilometres to Lisbon. Oh, and “Balkan”, I’m told, comes from the Turkish word for mountain.
Now, “Wrecker” Jon has really only come on this trip to drink lattes and ‘large it’ up the French Riviera, and is displaying all the symptoms of a man on holiday. And he’s forgotten the one item I asked him to bring: a box of teabags. Tut-tut, Jonboy.
Well, he’s in for a shock if he thinks he’s got it easy – on a drive of this magnitude, we don’t even have time for a round of golf as we pass Monte Carlo.
Oh, I’m exaggerating. We pull in for a latte macchiato at pretty much the first service station we see – a pleasant stop with a fleet of tiny rally Fiats. They are stopping to use the facilities. Well, the drivers are, not the cars.
Aah, the Fiat 126 is so cute, a tiny car that could almost fit into my coffee cup. A collision with a pedestrian would write one off, I imagine (the car, not the coffee cup).
Easing out on to the highway once more, we’re prepared for the Italian police this time; I have written out fifty times, ‘I shall not show my penis to Italian policewomen.’ But just in case we are stopped and asked to produce tachographs, we have a little jape in store for the authorities (see photo)..