Friday, May 05, 2006

Gilliganalous Island

Santorini, Greece

Santorini had everything that you would expect from a Greek island. The one city of any size was made up of super-white buildings with blue trim piled up on the edge of a cliff and separated only by narrow alleys and the occasional simple church or small road. The city center was overrun with moneyed tourists and the kinds of things that moneyed tourists like to find in city centers: cafes, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and trendy boutiques. There were no high rise hotels or apartment blocks to break up the view. From the terrace of some lucky establishments, you could see straight down the cliffs to the blue water and clear across the sloping land to the similarly azure sea butting up against the beaches on the other side.

There were a few surprises, though. The ferry docks were far below the city at the base of a formidable cliff. Newly arrived passengers could get up to the town by walking on a steep cobbled path, taking the twice hourly cable car, or hiring a donkey for the trip. It was the last option that was unexpected. In an uncharacteristic display of energy, we walked down to the port one day. Not long into it, we were assaulted first by the smell of accumulated mule poop and then by a chorus of voices repeating the queer mantra of "want donkey?". A more unnerving surprise was that a previous settlement on the island had been completely obliterated by the eruption of a volcano, the still active cap of which was visible in the harbor. Also of geologic note, sun worshippers on the island have their choice of red, black, or white sand upon which to drop towel.

We did not take advantage of any of the sandy hues on offer. Early May is a tad bit too far from summer for serious beaching of this whale. Instead, we spent most of our time brooding over coffees, tucking into plates of seafood, and getting our dance on. The cafes were accommodating places where we were free to sit and chat or read for hours for the cost of but one round of drinks. The restaurants were of a very high standard. I had a pasta and shellfish dish that was of particular note. Despite it being the first days of the holiday season, the bars were busy with Greek and foreign folks alike. I spent a solid wad of euros on booze.

As a bit of a footnote...

As the frequent reader may recall, I get bad hangovers. In an effort to combat my post-revelry sickness, I picked up some special pills in South Africa. The box claimed that they were designed by the KGB to keep their agents from getting drunk and that though they failed in their intended mission, they do have the property of curbing those day after blues. After night one, the pills seemed to be working, so I carried on using them into night two. That evening turned into a particularly heavy session. After some sixteen hours of sleep, I woke up stinking of stank and in a state of mild disorientation. Not only had the KGB pills failed to stave off a hangover, they also robbed me of consciousness and somehow conspired to produce a horrific odor. I recommend steering clear of the horrible things.


Blogger jason said...

Lauren has a particularly vivid memory of this odor, while I was only really able to experience it by proxy. Maybe she'll log on and tell y'all about it.

Stanky-poo. Thinking of you.

5/11/2006 11:27 AM gmt


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