Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bubble Butts of the Gods

We've all gone Greek - lazy early mornings, wanders in the afternoon, long siestas, sunset drinks, and dinner at midnight.

We went to Delos yesterday, and it was stunning. The island was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and became one of the holiest sites in the Cyclades. The Delian League controlled the surrounding islands, and used their wealth to build what must have been a stunning city. The streets were lined with marble lions. Traders were allowed to build temples to their home gods, and the hills are dotted with sanctuaries of the gods, goddesses, and heros of Greece, Syria, and Egypt.

The tsunami from the Santorini eruption - the same one the destroyed the Minoan Civilization on Crete - destroyed most of the shoreside houses. Later most of the population was sold into slavery. The Mykonians plundered a lot of the ruins, pounding down the marble to create whitewash for their houses. The island is now uninhabited except for ghosts and a few French archaeologists.

We only had a few hours to explore. I could have spent all day. There couldn't have been more than a couple dozen tourists there, so it felt like we had this ancient, crumbling city to ourselves. And while I usually hate museums, the one on Delos almost moved me to tears. I can't even say why. The beauty and realism in the sculptures was stunning. I had no idea - textbooks and photos cannot convey how vivid some of these pieces are. Coming face to face with men and women two thousand years old, and being able to see the emotion in their eyes, hit me hard. I was glad to see that Joseph's eyes were a bit red and watery too.

And if you want an explanation for the title of this post you'll just have to look at the photo album.

The night before was a bit more decadent. We went out for a sunset drink, and ended up crawling into bed at 3am. Four seems to be a good size crowd to travel in. We had the right critical mass to draw other travellers into our orbit, and soon we had Leo from Amsterdam, John from New York, & Gerde from Heidelberg with us. Leo was the catch - he's been here over 36 times, and seemed to know everyone at all the right places. He's the kind of guy who walks into a joint, and the owner and all the staff come out to kiss him on both cheeks.

Our first stop was Kastros for the sunset. It was half gay, half seniors on a package tour. Their guide was a flamer in a yellow sweater. I ignored the sunset to watch him run around the bar like a mother hen, making sure all the old ladies and gents were comfortable and enjoying their ouzo. The bar blasted Vivaldi as the sun went down

Many ouzos later, long after the sun went down and the seniors got back on the bus, Leo led us to Nikko's Tavern. I had a lamb shank in a spinach and avgolemono sauce. It was sublime, and that ain't the ouzo talking.

Next stop: The Piano Bar. By now it was ... maybe 1am. I was buzzed, stuffed, and dead on my feet. We were joined by Marcus, a hella cute guy from London. I had no energy left to talk to pretty boys; I managed a 'wassup' and went over to sit down.

Mea Culpa, Alastair, if I had known that night what I learned in the morning I would have chatted him up, just for you. Turns out he was an actor, and his big role was in Tales of the City. And now all I can do is sigh. I threw shade at Michael Mouse.

And after all that, I was still up at dawn.

No big adventures beyond that. We've been sticking to Maria's Kitchen for lunch - it's a small place just outside the main town. Her fried calamari is to die for. Jospeh went into the kitchen to see how she did it, and it was surprisinly simple. She dusted the squid with flour, and fried them in a skillet with olive oil. The trick, she said, was to get the oil hot enough to make the calamari crispy without overcooking them, but not so hot as to burn them. So simple.We sweet talked her into posing for a picture for us.

Last night we had an American couple over for dinner who were on R&R from Iraq. They have the same take every single person I've met who's been there recently has - the occupation has failed completely. They see no way out, that the civil war has started, and predict that America will declare victory and leave before the year is out.

Today the plan is to take it easy, and check out the nightlife again once the sun goes down.

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