DAY 22

I am never going to get out of Mikonos!

The Greek gods are working against me.

First, I wanted to go to Fourni. No way. The boat to Fourni had been discontinued. I decided to stay in Mykonos a few extra days.

Tomorrow, I was planning on leaving for Amorgos. Someone told me there is a monastery worth seeing. The monks provide water and food to visitors through a hole. The monks never see nor speak to anyone from the moment they enter the monastery. Also, Amorgos is considered one of the prettier of the small islands.

I went down to get my boat ticket for Amorgos this morning. Down by the waterfront. I wanted to leave tomorrow. No boat to Amorgos today or tomorrow. Everything cancelled. Even planes. The weather.

Strong winds today. The kind we get in Key West when the water breaks against the White Street Pier and splashes 20-30 feet high. I was on the waterfront this morning. Ten feet from the water. Hitting the beach and shooting up and over all nearby. Including me.

I am becoming knowledgeable about Mykonos weather.

When I first arrived, it was hot and humid. No breeze at all. The last three days big winds. No humidity.

Some natives tell me that is the way the weather is this time of the year. Three days humid. Then three days of wind.

I also started hearing that today’s wind is unusual for June. It is September wind.

Who knows? I just want to leave Mykonos. I have been here too long. It is not my type place. Too touristy for me. Key West is mild by comparison. The flavor and grandeur for which Mykonos is known was in the 1960s and 1970s. Gone. Today’s players are wannabes to that life style.

A great place to visit for a few days and leave.

Wednesday is my scheduled departure day now.

Yesterday was Paradise Beach. The place I had been seeking. All my desires were satisfied. I saw it all! I was a little embarrassed. I never showed mine.

Stayed in last night again. Dined in the hotel’s dining room.

I have been eating Greek food for more than two weeks now. I yearned for something else. I enjoyed a huge portion of spaghetti bolognaise.

Christina is in charge of the dining room. She does a top notch job. Great service, great food and the right touch with personal amenities.

Christina is 35 years old. Looks 25. A short lovely blonde. Fair skinned. A single mother of a 4 year old boy.

I asked Christina where she works in the winter. Mykonos is a summer town. Closes down for the winter months. She says she can always find work somewhere in Mykonos in the off months.

A hard worker. A talented person. I wish her well.

The Greek election. Yesterday. I called it right. The euro supporters won. It was close. The euro people got 29 percent of the vote. The non-euros 26 per cent. Several other minor parties grabbed anywhere from 12 per cent of the vote downward.

Twenty nine per cent is not enough to control. A coalition is required. It is anticipated the winners will form the coalition with the party who got 12 per cent of the vote. Still not enough to make a majority. However, under Greek law the party receiving the largest number of votes automatically gets an additional 50 seats in the national legislature. That puts the euro people over the top. A crazy country!

Forget what you read in the papers and on TV today. This new government is not going to work. The Germans have already suggested they might ease some of the time payment dates. But that is it! The big hard dollar payments still remain. Greece will not be able to make them. The new government and the euro will fail. I give it three to six months.

To put it all in proper perspective, this election is not even a band aid. Some one took a rag and merely brushed the blood aside. A very temporary solution to an ongoing aggravating problem.

I noticed yesterday that many of the older Greek homes have what I thought was some religious design on each house. All alike. A bunch of small triangles set in a large square. The square sits on one of its points. There apparently is space behind the openings. I noticed the newer buildings did not have the design. My initial thought was that whatever it was was intended to keep evil spirits away.

I was wrong. The triangular openings were for doves.

At one time there were many white doves flying above Mykonos. Predatory birds discovered the doves and came in large numbers to feed upon them. This was many years ago. The citizens of Mykonos enjoyed and favored the doves. Ergo, as homes and buildings were constructed, these triangular openings became part of the construction. The doves could fly inside and evade the predator birds.

It must not have worked. I have seen no doves in my time here.

Terri White makes national news again! She was selected by GO Magazine as one of the 100 Women We Love. Take a look at the 6/15/12 edition of the magazine. A terrific pic of Terri and a concise litany leading to her success.

I survived yesterday’s hit and run. Woke this morning with a swelling half the size of as golf ball on my arm. No pain.

I have a pretty good tan. The sun is strong in the Greek isles. Much stronger than Key West. Between walking around and a bit of sun bathing, I am getting dark. Very dark.

I have only shaved once in the four weeks I have been gone. I look pretty bad. I apologized to one woman I met for having such a sloppy growth. She thought it looked sexy. I may never shave again. I wonder how I will look if I do not shave the balance of this trip. Another three weeks.

Enjoy your day!

DAY 21

Today could be the most significant day in history since the close of World War II. The Greek elections are being held.

The issue boils down to whether the Greeks want to continue operating with the euro as money or would they prefer a return to the drachma. I have talked with many since I arrived in Greece. I am getting divergent opinions.

Yes, I saw grown men and women spit on the ground when they heard Merkle’s name at a protest rally in Athens. That is not all of it however. I have found the bankers and very affluent support continuing with the euros. Why not. They are doing terrific under it. Making money!.

Then there are the small businessmen. They are struggling. They want a return to the drachma like yesterday. They also want out of the European Union.

Then come the people. The Jims and Janes on the streets. Those going to work every day to put food on the table. They feel the oppression of the euro. But I suspect they will not vote in large numbers. They claim it is too late. The Mafia is controlling everything.

I find it surprising that people still revert to the Italian wrongdoers of old to blame. I think they do not really mean Mafia per se. What I sense is that they believe that government has been bought by big business. Believing that, I suspect most will not vote. Simply because they believe their votes will mean nothing. The banks and big business will control in the end no matter who wins.

Sense a similarity with the USA?

Germany could ease the pressure. Germany is making money with the euro. Germany has become in effect the banker for the rest of the euro nations. Which includes Greece.

Germans as a people tend to be anal. Black and white. By the book. Greeks on the other hand go with the flow. They take everything in stride. Are not as serious about things as they probably should be. Like money.

Germany is in a position of power. The third time they have so been in less than 100 years. The Kaiser in 1914 and Hitler in l939 were two instances. Germany felt it was omnipotent. Two world wars resulted.

This Germany/Greece thing is a war that is erupting. Except this time it is with money instead of bullets. Each can have a devastating effect. This euro thing can result in a world wide recession of a sort never before experienced.

I have a suspicion. It is based on what I have experienced and read over the past three weeks. I believe the euro people will win. Why? Because they will vote. They are doing well as indicated hereinbefore under the euro. The people on the street appear to have already given up. They will not turn out in the numbers necessary to throw out the euro and return to the drachma.

I cannot wait till later tonight to see if I have called this correctly.

The trip caught up with me yesterday. I have been at this three weeks. All of a sudden I was tired. Dead tired.

I walked into town and had lunch. Something I have not done since arriving. I then sat in the shade at the sidewalk cafe where I had lunched and watched the world walk by.

Eventually, I got back to my hotel. And my bed. I slept the afternoon away.

I was still tired when I woke. Opted to remain at my hotel and dine in its dining room. Glad I did. A great meal! The service unusually spectacular. I am staying at a small hotel. I have gotten to know everyone. This was the first time they had the opportunity to show me what they could do. They wanted to show me, to please me.

And please me they did! I won’t go through all the specifics, except to relate that the meal was heavy with tomatoes, olives, cheeses and oil. Dessert was a Greek chremboule. Two gins. Beefeater. One of the few places in Mykonos that stocks it. And a shot of something after dinner on the house.

I could not thank them enough.

I was up and out early this morning. Needed a manicure and pedicure desperately. The last ones were more than 3 weeks ago.

I had to walk up the highway about a quarter of a mile. A beautiful salon for nails and massages in a small strip mall. I was their first customer. Everyone sitting around. Ergo, I had three ladies working on me at one time. One on the toes and the other two each had a hand a piece.

A good job! I was pleased.

I asked them if they had voted. They said no. I asked if they were going to vote. They said no. Why, I asked. Mafia!

Not a bright response, but that is the way it is. Again, I have heard that same response many times over the past three weeks.

Now for the fun part of this morning.

I got hit by a car.

There are no sidewalks. The driving lanes are narrow. Drivers speed constantly. The only place for pedestrian traffic is on the edges of the road.

I was in an area that had a three foot stone wall running on both sides of the highway. Between the road edge and the wall was two feet. No more.

I was casually walking down the road against traffic. Staying in my little two feet. All of a sudden this guy came around a curve. There was no oncoming traffic. He had a good fifty feet after the curve to see me. He never tried to avoid me. He clipped my right arm with his passenger door mirror. I went flying over the wall. I looked up to see the car speed away. The driver had to feel the impact and hear its sound. The thud was loud.

I was concerned. The last thing I want is to be sick in a foreign country. There was no one around who saw or could help me. I eventually got up. My right arm beneath the elbow was sore. As was the right side of my neck.

I walked back to my hotel with no difficulty. It has been about two hours since the event and all I am experiencing is pain in the two areas I complained about. I lucked out.

So far on this trip I have survived three earthquakes and one auto accident.

I still have three weeks to go.

A beach day again today. Paradise Beach. The one two days ago was Super Paradise Beach. Two separate beaches. One old, one new. I am going to the older one today.

Enjoy your day! And be careful as you walk.

DAY 18

Mykonos. Nothing to compare it to. Perhaps a bit like the Jersey Shore, Coney Island or Jones Beach of old. Trying to be the Hamptons, but not quite making it.

Hordes of people! More than I can describe. All on holiday. Tourism is the major industry. The only industry.

Besides the original natives, way back in history there was an influx of Egyptians and Phoenicians. There are many wind mills. Known world wide as Mykonos’ landmark.

The name of the island is Mykonos. The name of the principal town is named Mykonos, also. Unusual.

Chora is the place to be in Mykonos. It is a special area of the town. A neighborhood unto itself. Stone buildings built close together. Narrow streets between them. Very narrow. Like 3-5 feet. The buildings were built close together many years ago to protect them from the sea and its storms. Today those alleys/walkways are the playground of Mykonos. Stores, bars, restaurants and I do not know what permeate the area.

These alleys of Chora go every which way. Like a maze. Easy to get lost.

Little Venice hangs on the ocean side of the Chora. It is called such because its houses literally hang over the sea.
At least the balconies do.

I find three differences between Mykonos and Santorini.

One unquestionably is the weather. The humidity on Mykonos is a killer. The evening brings no relief. Breeze. What breeze? There is little, if any. Whereas Santorini had no humidity, was hot by day and cool by night. A sweater or jacket was required in the evening. Air conditioning not used. Open a window or door and sleep comfortably under a blanket.

It is said the difference in humidity, etc. between the two islands is the height of each. Santorini is high and buildings are on top of the cliffs. Mykonos is relatively low. Hills. Gradual, however.

Only about 100 miles separates Mykonos and Santorini. Mykonos is to the north of Santorini and normally would be cooler. It is not.

A second difference is the number of people visiting each island. Mykonos is jam packed. An avalange of people arrive daily. Every nationality visits and works on Mykonos. I would describe the crowd last night in the Chora area as being just slightly less appearance wise as Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Santorini has significantly fewer visitors. Comparatively speaking, I would estimate Mykonos has more vistors than Santorini by 30-1.

The final difference is in the atmosphere. It is in the air. Everyone whoops it up on Mykonos. Party time till the wee hours of the morning. Santorini is in bed by 10. The streets are totally empty by 11.

Life begins between 10 and 11 in Mykonos. Last night as I was walking to my hotel away from the Chora, tons of younger people were walkimng in the opposite direction. Towards the Chora. The ladies dressed. Dressed! Like in minis, knee length and other size dresses. Heels. Tall. Made up for a night on the town.

I felt sorry for the ladies. The humidity was so heavy I could see their make up starting to run.

By the way, I was walking up to my hotel at 10 while the younger ones were going downhill into the Chora to begin their evening. A difference between the generations.

I had dinner last night in the Chora. Overlooking the sea. The restaurant was Antonia’s. Just like in Key West. Key West’s Antonia’s puts out a better product, though I did enjoy my meal. A lamb casserole.

After dinner, I was off to find the Montparnasse. It is a piano bar. The only piano bar in Mykonos.

Donna and Terri suggested I stop there. Teri sang there at one time. They told me the owners were a Judy and Nikko. Terri said tell them of our relationship and be prepared to be treated royally.

I never did. I could not find the place. It is in one of those alleys I described earlier. I asked three knowledgeable Mykonos citizens where it was. Each knew. Each sent me to a different place. Each was wrong. By this time, the humidty had gotten to me and I said screw it.

Bobby Peaco, who played and sang at the Keys Piano Bar, is playing at Montparnasse now. I was looking forward to seeing him again. I was also looking forward to boozing it up a bit. Did not occur because this man could take the heat no more.

Perhaps tonight.

The stones constituting the walkway in the Chora alleys interested me. I was told they have been there forever. They reminded me of the stones making up the Appian Way. Thirty years ago when in Rome, I visited the Appian Way. The roads were constructed of larger stones than in Mykonos. The same stones which the Roman chariots traveled over. Back before the birth of Christ. The Mykonos and Appian Way stones were similar, except in size.

Mykonos is definitely a tourist town. The prices 25-50 per cent higher than Santinori. Gin on the rocks was 50 per cent higher. For Gordon’s! I did not find this gouging on Santorini.

Today the Super Paradise Beach. I have been assured by many it is one of the world’s finest beaches. I am looking for to experioencing it.

The bottom line is Mykonos is a terrific vacation place. For many from all over the world. It is not my cup of tea, however.

The Greek election is Sunday. Very significant! The result will have world wide impact.

I compare this election to Governor Walker’s recent recall election in Wisconsin. I thought surely he would have been beaten. He was not. Walker has now set the trend to be followed for the next ten years at least in the United States.

In Greece, the issue is the euro or back to the dracma. From what I have experienced in Athens and Santorini, the populace wants back to the drachma. Except for my friend and recent landlord Nikos. He wants to stay with the euro. Nikos represents the affluent. The others I spoke with the more common people. A Wall Street / Main Street battle all over again.

No one is talking politics on Mykonos. The locals are too busy making money. The tourists too busy having a good time.

Sunday will tell the story.

Joanna is my saviour! Her grandfather built the hotel I am staying in some fifty years ago. Her uncle now owns it. She manages the place.

Joanna is some place in her twenties. Industrious. Charming. Ever so helpful. You have to inderstand my cell phone is down, whi fi does not work that often here, and Louis needs a computer to do his blog.

I explained my problem to Joanna when I checked in. She said no problem. You will use mine as long as you are here. So here I am, sitting at her desk, punching away.

An international hotel chain should look at Joanna. Her experience is in the blood. She would make a great acquisition.

Enjoy your day!