The Wonders of no Internet


Is it a sign of old age when you begin a sentence with “Do you remember when …?”


Do you remember when you bought and sent postcards back home during overseas travel?  Do you remember checking in at local post offices for word from home?  Do you remember booking overseas calls through a human operator and being “connected” by them?


I must be getting old as I remember all of these things – quite fondly, actually.  Overseas travel was a chance to be remote – disconnected from the normal day-to-day world.  The internet has changed all that.  These days we hear in Melbourne about bomb blasts in Lahore long before ex-pats who are living there, friends message us from Brussels to say a driver has mown down pedestrians in Bourke Street before we knew of it, and Grandparents in Ballarat can face-time Greece and hear things “as clearly as if calling from next door”.  Amazing.


However I have found certain advantages in travelling in the south of Greece where wifi is still something of a novelty to local villages.  They are mostly aware of it but, like their parents and grandparents before them, see little need for it.  A bit like colour TV in the 70’s and mobile phones in the 90’s – new-fangled technology for the elite but it will never catch on for the masses.  Here we are experiencing wifi withdrawal – a modern ailment that causes anxiety when our iphones say “No Service”.  No Google Maps, no Facebook, no weather reports, no news bulletins, no footy scores.  Did I mention no footy scores?


In a serious error of planning our tour organiser (current wife) booked a 6 week European holiday with no thought for the AFL schedule.  “How could THAT be??” you ask.  I said the same thing.  Had she been fooled by the scribes at the end of 2016 who predicted the Cats were on the slide and might miss the 8 this year?  Had she predicted the rise of interstate teams favoured by soft draws and home games and calculated September action was unlikely for Geelong?  Or did she think that the premature retirement of Enright and the Twilight Years of Mackie and Domsy might make this September a good one to miss?  Sadly none of the above.  She booked a Sept-Oct vacation as the flights were cheaper at that time.


Obviously we have checked flight schedules from Athens to the MCG and have determined we could return, take in the Big One, and be back in the land of souvlaki within 72 hours.  A bonus is we only need one return flight as the wife and daughter are not prepared to give up 3 days of sun-baking to witness the cementing of an AFL dynasty.  While the ticket has not yet been cancelled I have checked on the refund policy after last Friday night’s disaster at the MCG.


We landed in Greece mid-way through the 2nd quarter of the Qualifying Final versus Richmond.  I thought the excited tooting by passing cars may have signalled yet another Tomahawk goal but it turned out to be the normal way to change lanes in Athens.  The game had not started well but we always played better in the second half so as we drove out of internet range I sat quietly confident of a mighty comeback.


I started to worry when my son did not answer his phone 3 hours later.  That has only happened twice before – once when we lost to the Gold Coast Suns and once when there were $1 pots at The Royal, and I knew beer prices had not dropped.  I grew more concerned when crossing a mountain top in the Peloponnese I momentarily connected with phone coverage and received a barrage of messages from Tiger friends.  I would like to think that Rob, Hutchy, Riddles, Lizzie, Snapper, Benny, Timbo and Stretch were texting to wish me a happy holiday though it was highly coincidental.  The bad news was confirmed when my daughter used 3G to connect to Melbourne and could only find rabid Tigers fans screaming “Yellow and Black!!” deliriously on Facebook.  What is the correct term for delirious Tiger fans in September?  A mystical?


It was then that the lack of internet in southern Greece became as magical as a Tiger win in September.  I could not reply to my Tiger friends no matter how much I wanted to send them hearty congratulations for winning an “away” final on their home ground.  I couldn’t read the reports of “too old, too slow” that hadn’t been wheeled out since last September.  Indeed there were some very clear advantages that emerged.


As I ducked in to a local TAB in Mendourgiannika I found the AFL buzz was all about whether Dusty was going to re-sign at Tigerland or head to North Melbourne.  Yiannis had received word from his cousin in Lygon Street that while the team had fared poorly Charlos Kernopoliois could be the new Koutafides, and the Greek Demon supporters were cursing the malakas from Collingwood who had just dashed their hopes of Finals glory.  I quietly placed some modest wagers on the Crows to beat GWS by 36 points, Menzel and Sloan to miss Week 1 of Finals, and Sydney to lead the Bombers by 10 goals at half time.  There were long odds on offer and euros for the taking.


All of this does not erase the pain of relegation to a cut-throat final against the rampant Swans when grander plans were within reach but it has opened up some new opportunities to extend our European holiday.  According to Kosta at the local Sportsbet Australia are no chance to level the series in Bangladesh and Roger Federer is a shoe-in at the US Open.  Life in Greece is not so much about enjoying the moment as about making the best of a difficult situation.



About Scott Field

A dedicated Cat from birth. Responsible for creating 3 additional dyed-in-the-wool Cat fans and converting my mother from "wherever Ron Barassi goes" to a blue and white hoops tragic. Best days in my life were GF days in 2007, 2011 and 2009, closely followed by the birth of my children and my wedding day.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I think it’s a “lid-off” of Tigers, Scott (I almost went with a “premature” )

Leave a Comment