BELATED JULY 4TH GREETINGS FROM AMORGOS

It’s not easy sometime!

Another 2 for 1 blog. I could not do yesterday’s blog. Two things are to blame. Verizon #1. They sell. However, the service leaves much to be desired. Second, I arrived in Amorgos yesterday afternoon at 3. The internet store closed at 2. It is only open 10-2. What a life!

Yesterday was July 4. Happy Fourth of July everyone! Hope you all enjoyed.

I am into my fourth book. Jefferson by Jon Meacham. A good book to start reading on the 4th. A smart, deceptive, cunning man. Just like Eisenhower. Maybe that is what it takes to be President. Especially a great one.

Wednesday was my last full day in Santorini. There is another side of the island. A side I had never seen. It was time.

Santorini cannot be more than 2 miles wide at Oia. The other side, totally different.

Oia is perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The natural result of a massive earthquake some 3,600 years ago. Made the Oia side dramatic colorful cliffs overlooking several islands which broke off from the main island at the time of the earthquake. Man has taken advantage of nature’s work. Business booms because of the beautiful view. I sometimes think Santorini as a whole is becoming too commercialized. I hope it does not become a Mykonos.

The other side of the island was nothing. Zip. The volcano did not affect the area. It was flat. The sea looked as any sea. The waves roll onto the beaches. No cliffs. No people, either. A few homes here and there. Most of Santorini’s development has been on the volcano side.

Greek houses come in two color combinations. White with blue trim, tan with white trim.

After my other side of the island trip, I sat on my terrace overlooking Back Street. Finished reading Eisenhower. A good book. I recommend it. It is a no holes barred revelation of Ike’s life.

I was out for the night early. Stopped at Mezzo for a drink. A necessity. Few restaurants carry liquor. Just beer and wine. I drink neither. So I stop where I know I can get what I want before going to a restaurant.

Mezzo is a small place. Only two servers. One male, one female. The female represented Greek beauty to me. Stands erect, lovely legs, a bit of an accentuated butt, lovely breasts and the face of a goddess. A Greek goddess. Topped with streaked gold and brown hair.

Her name is Andomaxi. She is Greek by birth. Lives on a different Greek isle from Santorini. Comes to Santorini for the summer to work.

Her English is perfection. Since it is a learned second language, each word is clearly enunciated. It was a delight to hear her speak English.

I treated myself to a Greek shirt. They are made of light flimsy cotton. Very cool to wear. Very cool to be seen in. Did not make me Greek, however. My crocs give me away.

I discovered a new tiny Greek restaurant. Off the beaten track. Taverna Kasteli. They had lamb chops! The kind I like. The kind my grandmother used to prepare. The cheap fatty bony cut. Delicious! One of my favorite foods. Lamb is big with the Greeks.

We are now into yesterday. Friday, the 4th. I left Santorini for Amorgos. Another island.

Amorgos is really nothing! Mountains, but no dramatic cliffs. Very few people. No airport. Very few cars. No tourists. The boat till this year used to come in once a week with supplies and people. This year, two times a week.

I enjoy the quiet, the simplicity, the nothingness.

I had to take a ferry boat to Amorgos. The Greek islands are connected by ferry boats. The ferry boats are their buses and subways.

The port was packed. I would estimate 2,000 people at least. All waiting for three boats. All due in at the same time. All came in at the same time. One hour late.

Most of the passengers were going to Mykonos. A celebrity haven 50 years ago. Everyone wants to experience the flavor today. I was there last year. I did not like it. Too many people, a tourist trap, everything expensive and generally not worth it, everyone hustling you. Mykonos is also the place where I got hit by the car and thrown into the air. Where the driver never stopped.

I was on what is called in the Greek isles a high speed hydrofoil. Reserved seats.

This boat had five stops. The first was Amorgos. Everyone seemed to be carrying a big suitcase weighing 40-50 pounds. You bring it on. An ordeal. When on board, you are shouted at and asked where you are going. Your bag is grabbed and thrown into a pile with bags going to the same place. Finding your bag afterwards is a task.

You have to hustle to find your seat. Once everyone is on, the boat moves. No lost time. If you are not in your seat, you are going to be on your ass.

The ride was ok till the last 15 minutes. Then 15 foot waves. Bumpy.

Arrived in Amorgos! Maybe 20 of us got off the boat. Lined up in front off the boat were representatives of the various homes that rent out rooms. No hotels as such in Amorgos. Some homes they call pensiones. Nothing upscale and today. These representatives are actually home owners trying to get some business. They hold up signs try to get your eye, and yell at you for your attention.

I am staying in the town of Katopola on Amorgos. Santorini’s Oia is very upscale. Katopola the other side of the spectrum. Very downscale. I would bet Katopola has not changed one iota in over a hundred years.

Maybe that is why I like it so much.

I was settled in my apartment. Elini’s. Ground floor. My own entrance. My own terrace. The terrace sits 12 feet from the ocean. The views nowhere as spectacular as Santoriini, but good never the less.

I heard a loud thump. Then another. And another. I looked to my side. There was an old man in a bathing suit. He apparently had caught with his hands a large squid. About two feet long. He was beating the squid on the rocks. Up and down many times. Obviously killing it and thereafter would take it home for dinner. Amorgos’ version of the old man and the sea.

My favorite Amorgos restaurant. I still do not know its name. There is no sign. It sits on the port off the water where the ferry boat dropped me off. An old 2 story house. The downstairs has been turned into a restaurant. Tables outside. A roof built overhead. The restaurant is typical Amorgos.

The owner and waiter remembered me. Handshakes all around.

I ate there almost every night last year. My grandmother’s cooking.

Last night it was lamb chops again. Two nights in a row. The same, the cheap cut. The kind you eat with your fingers. I also had a dish of egg plant, zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes in oil. The kind of dish you clean with the bread. The bread was De Vito bread. My Utica friends will understand.

As mentioned earlier, lamb is big in the Greek isles. The only problem is I have never seen a sheep. I see goats. Many of them. I suspect the lamb chops are goat chops.

This morning I was up early. I was standing on the terrace. Down the path/road to my right about 500 feet was a pickup truck. I saw a man come out of the house holding what I thought was a dog. As the truck drove by, I saw I was wrong. Two goats. “Lambs” being lead to the slaughter.

Enjoy your day!

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