We survived public camping without incident, got on the road early, and saw we were low on gas. Riad points me to the "benzene regular" pump and i proceed to fill the tank to the brim with the wrong type of gas.
You read right: I filled a diesel car with unleaded gasoline.
For those of you considering trying this, don't. Not realizing our error, we drove a few kilometers to the next town, parked the car, and were surprised that it wouldn't turn back on. We decided a rolling start would fix what we assumed was a battery problem, but no such luck: multiple pushes yielded a still dead car.
A call to the emergency number brought a tow truck. Its operator had no idea what was wrong with the car, putting him in the same leaky informational boat as myself and my cotravelers. He decided to tow us to the service station, where other mechanics could tinker with the faulty vehicle the next day. Only after he tried to start it several times did he open the gas hatch and inform us of our stupidity.
He pointed to a large, shiny silver sticker with red letters on the inside of the hatch: "DIESEL ONLY."
Yes, I should have seen the sticker.
Yes, it's probably going to cost thousands of dollars to fix (prognosis from Tom's dad, a former mechanic).
Yes, I'm an idiot.
But what can I do now? I debated many options, including getting Riad to cancel the credit card he booked the reservation on before he could be charged for the damages, sneaking to the repair shop to peel off the damn "diesel only" sticker, and pushing the car off a cliff. However, I'm in a different country and timezone now so there's nothing to do but call the shop tomorrow and hope for the best. Riad's in an angry state of disbelief and is seriously talking about ending this adventure after Greece, cutting the trip short by a week and leaving out Germany.
I'm vehemently opposed to shortcutting our journey and going to enjoy myself regardless of how much my idiocy costs me. Sometimes great adventures lead to great mistakes entailing great costs, but it will all work out eventually. I wish i could convince Riad that my optimism's warranted, but it's help to first quell my own nagging doubts...
We spent most of the day at the airport, where the tow truck driver dropped us off with a look like we're some of the stupider inhabitants of this planet. I overcame any reservations about putting this whole ordeal behind me by being nice to some random guy outside the airport: after seeing the smile on his face after I gave him the beer we weren't allowed to take on the flight with us, how can I not feel all warm and fuzzy inside? I just hope he isn't a recovering alcoholic who I just pushed off the wagon:)
The flight to London was without incident, notable only for the fact that I actually stayed awake the whole time. We're flying to Greece tomorrow: the strikes been cancelled, which I found out only after we wasted time developing multiple backup plans but still may represent a change in our luck. Here's an idiot hoping!