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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Greece retroblog, part 2

(Greece retroblog, part 1.)

This post is rated PG-13. You might want to skip this one, Ma.


There were cases full of such durty sculptures at the Delos archaeological museum. Delos, home of the Athenian treasury once upon a time (and equally renowned for its orgies–see above), is an uninhabited island, which is why we stayed two nights on Mykonos (party central, jacked-up prices for the tourists). The food was mediocre and most of the folks we met were entirely too old to be dancing on tables, but as you can see, we made the best of it:

Minster salsas with a crazy Albanian who was bartending at this place right on the beach.

(Speaking of Greek food: apart from Mykonos, we would get the most amazing vegetarian meals everywhere we went–stuffed peppers, dolmades, flavorful baked veggie dishes, and/or fresh salads with lots of feta, and baklava for dessert–plus a carafe of white wine for like €20 total. We had retsina and the most amazing ‘zucchini flowers’ on a balcony at Betty’s at Mithymna, Lesbos…so many memorable meals!)

And now for something completely different:

Poor gawky pelican wandering the streets of Mykonos picking at the rubbish.

One of the Naxian lions (the originals are on display inside the museum at Delos).

Then we took the ferry to Santorini for fun outdoorsy stuff, scuba-diving and riding an ATV all up and down the island.

We stayed at this awesome domatia at Perissa for €35 a night (for both of us). Went swimming in the pool every morning. Great idea to visit Santorini toward the end of the season!

1:25PM — 2 October 2006 — Monday, Perissa Beach

…Our diving excursion off the west coast of Santorini turned out to be one of the coolest, most worthwhile things I’ve ever done…[skipping over the complaints about the sketchy diving company]…but once we were on the boat, speeding past all these breathtaking cliffs formed by the volcano, I felt really happy and peaceful–and that feeling only increased when we went under the water. This flamboyant middle-aged guy from New York told us it felt like returning to the womb–it did!–and another really kind and friendly guy from Long Island said he figured that space and sea were the only frontiers left, and since most of us will never board a rocket ship we might as well explore the bottom of the ocean. He was clearly addicted–they all were…

Our instructor would lead us to different places and point out the fish and sponges and suchlike–he even cut open an anemone (with a knife in a sheath strapped to his ankle) and fed a few fish with it. Saw a red-and-white ‘poisonous fireworm’ too. Sounds cliched to say it was profoundly peaceful on the ocean floor–not that we went all that deep–but how else can I say it? You could look up at the surface and watch your own breath-bubbles rising, shimmering like mercury beads in the light. The second dive was more fun–we were down about seven minutes longer and swam through an underwater cave–the walls were covered in electric blue and orange algae, and to swim around a corner and find the daylight shining through an elegant crevass–oh, it was bliss.

I am sorry to say that the ferry passage to Crete was not at all blissful. Yes, that’s right. I lost my lunch.

The Minoan palace ruins at Knossos, Crete, which were much more touristy than we were expecting. Many scholars take issue with the restorations executed by the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans: Coach tours are offered to Knossos, the disneyland of archeology, where Evans poured concrete to recreate his ideas of what this fine civilisation meant (from this site, which has some interesting info despite a few small bloopers…Evans discovered the site at the turn of the 21st century? Really?) Sir Arthur should have left the ruins just as he’d dug them up instead of reconstructing them based on his own imagination. Anyway, I hope this explains the following exchange:

Min: Sir Arthur Evans, the no-talent ass clown. I f****n’ hate that guy.
Me: Would you like to exhume him and pee through his eye sockets?

2 Comments to Greece retroblog, part 2

  1. Aravinda's Gravatar Aravinda
    September 30, 2009 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Santorini was my favorite, Delphi a close second. You?

    I request a posting of at least an excerpt of the liturgy 😉

  2. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    October 8, 2009 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Did you get any photos from scuba diving? And don't worry about losing your lunch–it happens to the best of us.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.