Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enough said. Stay sober.

I am a weather man today. The wind is from the south this morning. Rare. Whenever from the south, it rains/storms. Lovely out at the moment. Sun shinning. Nary a cloud. However, palm trees bent north from the south wind. Ripples in the pool running north, also.

The weather report says only a 10% chance of rain today. I disagree. Let’s see if I am correct.

The Greek isle of Amorgos is my Shangri-la. When there, I live as the natives. A small apartment on the waterfront. Few amenities. No airport. The boat comes in with people and supplies once a week.

Saturday’s Keynoter had a picture on the editorial page of a fishing net and well attired gentleman who apparently had been mending the net. The net was hanging  from some sort of post in the picture. The picture a 1977 photo.

My Amorgos home was about a hundred yards from Adelphos’ home. Each time I walked into the heart of the village, I had to walk by Adelpho’s place.

Most afternoons, I would find Adelphos sitting on the ground in front of his abode. About 30 feet from the water. In his lap and surrounding him was a large fishing net. He was always mending the net. Daily. Otherwise, the net would fall apart in a few days. The mending involved looking for places to repair and untangling parts of the net that had twisted together. Adelphos worked primarily with his fingers. Adeptly. Sometimes with some sort of needle. About four inches long.

Mending nets is referred to in the Bible in several places. Four of Jesus’ disciples were fisherman who joined him while mending their nets. Mending nets probably goes back to the beginnings of man.

In all the centuries, nothing has changed for Adelphos or the fisherman of Amorgos who came before him. Though it has changed here in the United States and most of the modern world. The mending is more technical and machine driven.

I had to get out of the house early due to the open house. I was at the Plantation Coffee House at 11. Stayed till 3. Would have stayed longer. However, the place closes at 3 on Sunday. I did not know. While there, I did yesterday’s blog, read some Sunday papers, had a couple of cups of coffee and a toasted bagel. Chatted a bit with owner Diana. Yesterday’s blog was unusually long. The spread of European Nazism and the failure of the American media to keep us advised is bothersome from my perspective.

I could not return home till after 4. It was only 3. I was driving along the Atlantic and passed the Key West Airport. I turned around and headed to it. My goal was the Airport’s restaurant.

I am glad I decided to go there. Only when traveling would I normally stop.

It was old home week. Victor was bartending. Several years ago, Victor was the bartender one night a week at the Chart Room. Someone came up and hugged me as Victor and I were talking. It was Jana. I enjoyed seeing her again. Big time!

Jana immigrated from one of the eastern block countries to Key West. She is presently 32. Our connection goes back to the Paradise Cafe. My daily morning haunt of years ago. My favorite place for Cuban cheese toast with tomato. The best! Never that good again!

Jana was the enterprising sort. She opened her own restaurant on Bertha Street after Paradise closed. She had a hard time. The place did not take off. She took a financial beating. I used to go frequently because she was serving the same Cuban cheese toast with tomato that I had enjoyed for so many years at Paradise Cafe.

A few years have passed. Jana looked terrific. Happy. The pressure off her face. A bad business will do that to a person. She has been a waitress at the Airport for over a year. Married, also. A retired military man.

The twenty young men have left the MTV house across the way. Yesterday. Replaced by couples and children. When I went outside this morning, a mother carrying a baby waived at me..

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is in the process of purchasing Miami’s Channel 10. South Florida’s second largest TV station. Welcome Buffett and company. Anyplace/anything he decides to buy has to be good!

Syracuse is a #3 seed in the South Region. I am surprised. I thought it might be higher. That is all I have to say. We shall see how things go as the tournament progresses. Friday is the first game.

Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day!



It is already New Year’s Day in New Zealand and Australia. Auckland was the first major city to welcome 2014 in with a fireworks display. Then Sydney. In both places, people were dancing in the streets. Much like Key West and New York City will be this evening.

I have a blog follower in Papua, New Guinea. Since Papua is close to Australia, I assume Papua has likewise welcomed the New Year.

An historic event occurred yesterday/Monday. The first flight from Key West to Havana took place. The first in more than 50 years. It will not be a regular flight. At least not yet. This one took two years to arrange. The rules limited the size of the plane to a ten seater.

Castro screwed the Cubans when he took over. Especially the affluent ones who lost everything and had to escape to the United States. I would hate Castro if I were one of them or one of their families. However, all that took place was three generations ago. The Cubans who came to the United States have as a whole done extremely well for themselves. Especially in South Florida. I believe the time has come to lift the travel and trade ban.

I walked yesterday. Not long. A half hour at Home Depot. It was a bit humid and rainy. Michael was working. Michael was on our bocce team several years ago. A good player. We exchanged New Year greetings. Michael told me about the home he and his wife are in the process of purchasing in Mexico. They close on it next month. Good for you, Michael!

I needed a few things from Publix. Yesterday was the wrong time to shop. Everyone was. The aisles were two way traffic. I only needed bread, Weight Watcher cakes, bananas and yogurt. Took forever!

I now have three books in the works. The newest one concerns the parents of today  who are a forgotten generation when it comes to their adult children. I have to settle into one book and go for it!

It was the Chart Room first last night. I was all alone. The place was packed. However none of my usual acquaintances were to be found. I chatted with Gary who works a rescue boat when a boat breaks down on the high seas.

There was an interesting occurrence. I am not trying to be gross as I share the experience with you. There was a lovely young lady in the Chart Room with exceptionally large breasts. Had to be man made. She was wearing what appeared to be a very strong halter which she occasionally pulled down to exhibit her good fortune to admirers. She was proud of what she had. Rightfully so.

I had a similar experience earlier in the day when I was walking in Home Depot. Another young and beautiful woman. Her breasts huge! Too big! My initial thought after WOW! was how can she balance herself as she walks. Obviously man made, also. Had to be.

I walked over to Hot Tin Roof hoping to run into friends. None to be found. Asked Sheila where everyone was. She found it strange also.

Even without my local friends, the place was packed! A good business night!

Met Matis. He is a new bartender. Recently arrived from Rhode Island. We talked a bit about Block Island.

Traffic  was a pain yesterday. My evening trip into Key west took 45 minutes. Normally, 15. I figured let me get home and avoid the people and traffic later in the evening. Home I went. It still took me 40 minutes to get home. The traffic was a combination of the boulevard construction and the exceptionally large number of tourists.

When I finish this blog, I will be off to Home Depot again. Walking two days in a row will be a major accomplishment.

This afternoon I will either watch the Syracuse game or work on Friday’s TV/internet show. I am not sure who Syracuse is playing. The game is this afternoon. If it is not on local television, I will not be seeing it. I do not wish to handle the traffic to get to John Lukas’ Sports Bar.

Tonight, I am not sure. I have a couple of parties to attend. I might watch Sushi drop in the red shoe at 801. I may stay home. At the moment, home is attractive to me. I am lucky. Every night is New Year’s Eve in Key West.

This day reminds me of a special one I had about fifteen years ago. I thought it might be my father’s last New Year’s eve. I decided he and I should spend it together. We did. Quietly alone in my living room in front of a roaring fire. We spoke of many things. Mostly from the past. His past. Our past together. His wife, my mother. I treasure the evening.

I was wrong that it might be our last together. My father did not pass away till last year. He was 98.

Happy New Year. Chat with you in the morning. The first morning of the New Year.


I’m Greeked out! I am ready to move on. This does not mean I do not like Greece. It just means I have experienced it all for this year and boredom is starting to set in.

My time in Greece was extended from originally planned. I sensed something happening in Greece the first week I was here. I wanted to verify my feelings. My plans were juggled to permit me to extended my Greece time by two weeks. Whatever I wanted to accomplish has been accomplished. In my mind. My thoughts to be shared when I return.

For me, Greece is three islands and Athens.

Athens is pure love. It is one of the world’s great cities. Like New York, Paris, and London. What is there not to like? My return to Athens is for three nights. Then to the Italian alps. A Swiss chalet half way up Mont Blanc. Within an hour’s drive to Switzerland and France.

The three islands I have come to know are Mykonos, Santorini, and Amorgos. Mykonos has the best beaches. Santorini the best view. Amorgos the best wind. Amorgos also has the promise of tomorrow.

I spent two weeks in Mykonos last year. Ten days planned and four extra days because I could not get a ferry boat out due to the bad seas. I did not like Mykonos. Ergo, it was not on the agenda this year.

Mykonos became famous back in the 1950s and 1960s. Movie stars and jet setters popularized the place. It became their playland. 2013 is 50-60 years later. Mykonos still has the reputation. However, there is not a movie star or jet setter on the island. It has become a tourist haven. Wannabes looking for the excitement of yesterday. Additionally, a tourist trap. Merchants hustle everyone. Friendliness lacking.

Therein lie the reasons I did not return to Mykonos this year.

Mykonos does have one non-comparable attribute, however. Its beaches. The best I have ever seen. Soft sand. Quiet water. Great beach bars and restaurants. Plus, topless and nude women. The women merely frosting on the cake. The beaches are that good.

Santorini has a view that is spectacular. Absolutely spectacular! The Lord could not have planned it better. The cave apartments also add to the ambiance. However, you cannot sit on a cave terrace and watch the view all day every day. That is where the problem comes in. After a volcano visit and catamaran trip, there is little to do.

Santorini is becoming a tourist haven. Most merchants on the hustle. Waiters disrespectful. Food not always the best. Prices very expensive. Note however there are still many places and people to the contrary. Such as the Taverna Katina and my cave apartment landlords Nikos and Maria.

Santorini is still good. I fear however it is becoming the tourist trap that Mykonos is.

Amorgos is like a five year old child. On the verge of blooming. It awaits the world.

The island is yet to be discovered. As I have stated in the past, it is a 100 years behind the times. Sitting on the Aegean, waiting for the world to visit it. Prices still dramatically cheap. Anywhere from 50 to 100 per cent cheaper than Mykonos and Santorini. The merchants love you and you love them. They care for you, are thankful for your business, and do their best to please you.

The beaches leave something to be desired. Stoney beaches. Water clear, however. Think Le Grand Bleu.

Amorgos has the wind! A big wind! Kept Katopola where I was staying comfortable all day. A strong cool wind off the sea is almost a necessity of life on a Greek isle in the summer months.

My sense is that Amorgos will be where Santorini is today 20 years from now. Sad. Enjoy it in the meantime.

I spent four hours yesterday morning at the internet store. First correcting my messed up blog from the day before, then doing yesterday’s blog, and finally writing next week’s KONK Life column. The article is interesting. The Real America. It starts with Michael Moore. Then goes from Travon Martin to Obama to Bank of America to the Religious Right to Pat Robertson to Halliburton. The column closes with Weiner and Spitzer. A revealing commentary in many respects. Some things you may not have known.

Lunch was at Mezzo. A chocolate milk shake again. I am a little boy at heart.

Later this afternoon, I start the trek to Athens. Tonight the Plaka. Dinner at the foot of a lighted Acropolis and Parthenon.

I will be in Athens three nights.

The family and I are in touch. Jake is getting car sick. Just from a short ride around town.

Enjoy your day!


After three delightful weeks on Amorgos, I have returned to Santorini for a week. Santorini will be an enjoyable stay.

The two islands are different.

I love Amorgos because it is yesterday and laid back. Santorini is the view. Different flavors, different strokes. Each satisfying in its own way.

Santorini is a one hour ferry boat ride from Amorgos. It took me all day! Yesterday had its negatives.

I did not know till 3:30 in the afternoon whether the ferry boat was coming. Bad seas. In the meantime, I had to pack and leave my apartment because new tenants were coming in. Eleni was good, however. She arranged a room for me in the event I had to stay another night on Amorgos. However, I could not gain access to the room till it was certain I was staying over.

I was with a large suitcase with no where to go. I stayed on the terrace in the sun. Spent some time at Mythos. Said my goodbyes to three special friends I made. Spyros, Vangelis and Suzanna. Good people all!

Then word came. The boat was coming! Joy to me and a hundred other persons.

The ferry boat was due at 5:30. It was an hour late. Did not show till 6:30. I was standing on a concrete dock in the sun for 1 1/2 hours waiting.

The boat got me to Santorini at 8. One and a half hours late. The seas were still rough. The first 15 minutes of the ride were a bit exciting. I thought I was going to get sick! I assume everyone else thought they were going to, also. Up and down, big dips, with no end in sight. Started just as we left the harbor. After 15 minutes it stopped and was a smooth ride the rest of the way in.

Nikos met me. What a great guy! His cave apartments are on the other side of the island from where the ferry boat landed. Maria gave me a Greek hug and kiss when I got to the caves.

Andromaxi welcomed me with a big hug and kiss when I arrived at Mezzo! She was excited to see me. I was excited to see her. You will recall that I described her a few weeks ago as a classic Greek female beauty.

I wanted a cheeseburger! Chbeeseburger in paradise. Another paradise. I had not had beef in quite a while. Delicious!

I stopped in the bakery store this morning to buy a warm roll. The elderly woman who runs the place gave me a big smile and hug, also. First time.

Santorini is a hugging and kissing place. All of Greece is for that matter.

Besides the various differences described between Amorgos and Santorini, there is another. Santorini is more expensive than Amorgos. Tremendously so!

My best estimate is 50 per cent higher for the same item. What was 4 euros on Amorgos is six on Santorini. In one instance, the difference was 100 per cent. A bottle of Beefeaters on Amorgos was 12 euro. The same size bottle last night on Santorini was 23.90 euros.

Accomodations are also significangtly more expensive.

Santorini is not a poor man’s paradise!

The beauty of Santorini is beyond description. I arrived as the sun set. I was sitting outside this morning when the sun rose. God worked a wonder when He inflicted the volcano eruption on this island some 1,600 years ago.

Enjoy your day!


History repeats itself.

Last year I was stranded on Mykonos four extra days. The sea was too choppy. The ferry boats would not venture out.

It is happening again in Amorgos. The ferry boat did not arrive yesterday. Sea too rough. As I write this morning, I have been told it is doubtful the boat will come in today. Perhaps tomorrow.

I minded the inconvenience last year because I did not like Myukonos. I do not mind if I am forced to stay another night on Amorgos, however. Amorgos is one the best places in the world!

The only problem is where do I stay. I lose my apartment today. Eleni says she has a room for me on the third floor. A hike up long steep stairs. At least, I will have a place to sleep.

The funny part of all this is that I only need a ferry boat for a one hour trip. I am returning to Santorini for a few days. Santorini is one hour away.

I had dinner at Mythos again last night. He told me his fisherman said there would be no ferry boat today. The water beyond the bay is too rough.

There ia a boat in the area which gives me concern. The Greek military vessel at the opening to Amorgos’harbor. It is still there. I am sitting outside doing this blog. The monster is directly in my vision.

The vessel is big. I find it intimidating. I keep waiting for a few shells to fall on this small inconsequential island.

I started asking questions yesterday. Turns out the ship is a Greek Coast Guard vessel. I have never seen anything this big in Key West. Most refer to it as a battleship. I doubt it is. However, believe me, it is huge! Even has a big helicopter perched on the rear deck.

There are two versions as why it is here.

Apparently, the Turks flew two planes over Greek soil last week. The Coast Guard vessel is in response to the unauthorized flight. I amn aware Turkey is close by. Not that close, however.

The other version is the boat is part of a training exercise.

The vessel will not leave till friday. It will have sat in the entrance to Amorgos bay for ten days. Many are pissed it is there. Greece is hurting economically. Manuy island people consider it a waste of money for the big boat to sit idle.

Flora stopped by last night before I went out. All dressed up! Lovely! A bright red skirt and black armless top. The colors of Albania. The Albanian flag is red with a big black bird in the center.

Flora and I have become friends. We moved the relationship forward last night. We became Facebook friends.

Before Flora arrived, I was sitting outside on the terrace half asleep. Rita from the other day came by on her bike. To say goodbye to the third American on the island, as she described me. It was nice of her. Her next stop was her garden.

Everyone has a garden on this island. They grow their own vegetables. I suspect they can the foods for the winter.

Canning is a throw back in time. I can recall as a young boy in the late 1930s helping my parents can tomatoes and peaches. Fun, but not easy. Hot work. No air conditioning back then. We lived on the third floor of an apartment building. The top floor. The roof was flat. The tomatoes had to be boiled. Contributed to the heat. Then peeled. Then canned in Bell glass jars. Following which the bottled tomatoes had to be boiled again. The heat and sweat big time.

A full day job. Many jars of tomatoes to be done. We ate pasta at least three times a week. The tomatoes necessary for the sauce.

Last night, a wonderful evening. One of the best. I dined at Mythos.

I decided on lamb chops. Vangelis said no. I have a goat. A whole goat. Cooked it myself. Have the goat. You will enjoy. His food has been so good, I did not argue with him.

A whole goat had been roasted. My plate was overflowing with slices and pieces of goat meat. Some covered in a crispy skin. It was fantastic! Tasted just like the pigs we roasted outdoors for parties in Utica. Great flavor and texture.

After dinner, Vangelis and Suzanna sat with me. It was late. Their work was done. Others were cleaning up. We chatted for well over an hour.

Terrific people! Vangelis is Greek. Suzanna, Albanian. As Flora is. I told Suzanna her name was from the old South in America. I sang the first line of Old, Susanna to her. She knew of it.

They met when Vangelis was on vacation in Albania close to 20 years ago.

Hard working people. Suzanna cooks. Vangelis does everything else. He hosts, takes orders, serves. Their 15 year old daughter works incessantly. Without complaint. These people go seven days a week for three months. The daughter is as good as the father in what she does. The ten year old son serves and cleans tables. Then there is the 13 month old baby. Lovely! She is in someone’s arms all day.

Suzanna said she gets to bed about 3 in the morning and is back in the restaurant at 10. Vangelis gets to bed the same time. However, he has to return at 8 to get things going.

They have to make it in the three summer months. Just as Key West restaurants have to make it in the three month winter season. The difference is that Key West has locals to carry them during the off season. Not on Amorgos. Everything closes down. Most on the island have just enough to sustain themselves.

Vangelis and Suzanna have one of the top restaurants. Perhaps the top. They have operated the restaurant for 13 years. They do not own the property. They lease. They have yet to purchase their own home. A home remains too expensive for them.

Vangelis works another job in the off season. He and his brother operate a remodeling business.

Some one telephoned the ferry boat company. They still do not know if the boat will be running today. They will not know till the afternoon.

I really do not care. The only problem is similar to flying and a snow storm shutting down an airport for a day or two. There are not enough seats available for everyone on the first day’s boat out. I could end up staying on Amorgos for two or three additional days. Wonderful! Though I love Santorini, I will not be unhappy to get the additional time on Amorgos.

Enjoy your day!


Here I am sitting on the Greek isle of Amorgos and I will be writing about Germany and Hemingway Days today. Neither has anything to do with each other nor with Amorogos.

The reason the topics are what they are is that I did nothing yesterday. I spent several hours writing next week’s KONK Life column. Then laid around. In the sun, in bed. Period.

The next KONK Life column will be published thursday. The title: Germany…..Biggest Whore House In Europe. It is. Germany has become the sex discount capital of the world.

The thrust of the column has nothing to do with sex per se. It has to do with Germany’s pattern of failing those it initially claimed would be helped. The euro union is an example. All the countries going down the drain economically and socially. Germany pushed the euro union. Promised a new world. Easy money. An end to economic concerns. Fifteen or so years later, Germany is raking in the dollars while other countries are suffering big time.

Prostitution is another example. Germany legalized prostitution in 2002. It was a new day for the ladies of the night. Social acceptance, pensions, medical, etc. Eleven years later, the prostitutes are in dramatically worse shape. Germany on the other hand is thriving from their pain. Big time tax dollars are being collected on prostitution earnings. Germany has become the biggest pimp of all.

The bottom line is Germany is not to be trusted. They sell great up front, but do not produce for anyone but themselves in the end.

Hemingway Days. A big weekend the past few days in Key West. An annual event. Sorry I missed it.

Hemingway lived in Key West 10 years. Wrote some of his best novels there. Key West is proud to have been a part of his life.

Two events I especially enjoy. The Hemingway Look-A-Like Contest and the Bull Run.

Roughly 125 Hemingway look alikes compete to see who looks closest to the original. All white bearded, of course. All wandering around over the weekend in white shirt and pants, with a fire engine red beret on their heads and scarf belt around their waists.

The Bull Run is exciting. Replicated from The Sun Also Rises. The Key West bulls are cardboard machete.

Perhaps, I will be more active today. I do not know.

Enjoy your day!


I visited Chora last night. Also known as hora.

Most Greek isles have a Chora. A community of sorts. Generally, a town. Most are medieval in origin. Go back 1,500 to 2,000 years. They still look the same. Unchanged by time. White buildings, narrow walkways.

Choras were built on hilltops. For protective and defensive purposes. Amorgos’ Chora is on top of a tall mountain. Just over the top. So it could not be seen by ships entering the bay. Way back when, pirates were a problem. By constructing their homes just over the crest, the early Greeks were hopeful their community would not be spotted.

If discovered, the set up of the Chora assisted in its defense. The entrance to the Chora was always a very narrow walkway. The attackers were only able to enter single file or two abreast at the most. Chora’s defenders were better able to protect their homes and families and at the same time do the most damage to invaders.

People still live in Chora. Old and young alike. Businesses have opened. Tiny specialty stores and restaurants.

I took the bus to Chora. A ten minute drive. 1.60 euros each way. A bargain.

The buses are magnificent. Large. Air conditioned. Comfortable. The drivers friendly and adept at driving. They have to be. The road up and down is steep and full of dangerous curves. The drivers carry themselves as if they were Captains on a jet airliner.

I walked the same path as last year. You will recall Chora killed me last year. Steps up. Everything up. It was a horrible trip.

This year, I did it with ease. Surprised even myself. I am in better condition.

I went to the same cafe/restaurant as last year. Along the way, I spotted Maria’s store. Maria who did my nails a couple of days ago. Her store is named Kwati. Sells soaps, oils and some foodstuffs. I was especially taken by pint jars of broccoli in oil and garlic.

I sat outside the cafe and drank. Three gins. They were all big. I was surprised. Even had Tanqueray. I sat there close to three hours.

Marie had mentioned I should try raki psimeni. A Greek drink made with burnt sugar. I did. Sweet. Good.

I cannot tell you the name of the restaurant. It was in Greek. Not an easy language written wise. Letters not arabic.

I have discovered that when I ask someone to spell a Greek word in English, there is difficulty. However most can spell it in Latin. It does help. I took three years of Latin in high school and also served as an altar boy.

Cats are a big deal in Chora, as well as all of Amorgos. They are well liked. Permitted in restaurants and cafes. They are beggars. People constantly feed them. I cannot. I find it repulsive.

Trees. I mentioned yesterday or the day before that there were no trees on Amorgos. There are. In Chora. Tons of them. Why not elsewhere, I do not know.

The evenings have been cold while I have been on Amorgos. Chora was cold by day and even colder by night. The wind on top of the mountain was strong. Could knock you over. You bent with it. Came from every direction. Buildings were no protective help. The wind moved around corners with ease.

I had planned to have dinner in Chora. The cold dissuaded me. I decided to leave.

I screwed up. Got the return trip wrong time wise. My fault. I did not understand the bus driver. Missed the bus. There was a 1 1/2 hour wait for the next one.

The bus stop is just outside Chora. No protection. The wind bellowed. So cold I could have used a winter jacket. And long pants. I was wearing shorts. Fortunately, I found a small bar just at the entrance and got the protection from the wind that I needed.

Enjoy your day!


It’s called living and learning!

I saw a big white goat a few days ago. I assumed it was an albino goat and reported it as such.

Wednesday, I rented a car to drive the island exploring. As I came around a very tight curve, what do I behold on the road walking towards me? Two white goats! There cannot be three albino goats on this small island. It would be like finding three albino chickens in Key West.

Thursday, I was walking one of the many dirt paths on Amorgos. I saw a pure white mule. Would you believe!

An albino mule?

This time I was a bit cautious. I discussed the mule and goats with some friends afterwards. There are many white mules on Amorgos. Why white, I do not know. But here they are! There are also many white goats.

Obviously an albino expert I am not!

While driving around Wednesday, I found a lovely small beach. A big cove. About fifty bathers. There was a small shack. Hamburgers, beers, and the like. Enjoyed a hamburger and beer and took in the scene.

My car was parked in a line of cars. The lot was not that full when I arrived. Upon leaving, it was car to car.

When I tunred into my car to get in, there was this lovely woman. Standing between her car and mine. Bare ass! She was changing into her bathing suit and I came upon her at the right moment.

I smiled. She smiled. I turned my back and walked away. A gentleman am I. What more could I see anyhow? I had seen it all.

I gave her a few moments and returned. She was just walking away. Smiled again and said something in Greek which I assume was thank you.

Another port concert Wednesday night. I ate at Mythos so I could watch. Terrific! Many violins. Violins are big musical instruments in Greece. A 50ish stout woman was singing. Turns out she has had a successful career as a singer. I enjoyed the show! Traditional Greek music. It had the Greek beat. People jumping up and dancing. All ages.

I met Maria thursday. She gave me a manicure and pedicure. Turns out her young 20s son was one of the featured violin performers the night before.

My finger nails and toe nails were a disaster. Three plus weeks. I could find no clippers to buy. Finally discovered there was a woman in Chora who gave mmanicures and pedicures. Even better, she would come to your hotel/apartment.

I tracked her down. The lady was Maria.

We got together yesterday afternoon at my apartment. We enjoyed each other’s company tremendously. Maria has a terrific sense of humor. Aided of course by the three gins we each consumed during the process.

I still have all my toes and fingers!

Maria is 49, married 23 years and lives full time on Amorgos. She resides in the old town. Chora. She also has a place of business in Chora to do manicures and pedicures. She is professional at her work.

Maria and her husband also have side businesses.

Katwi is the name of their Chora store. They make special soaps containing olive oil, creams with olive oil, marmaledes from their own garden fruits, and a traditional Greek drink called raki psimeni. The raki is made with burnt sugar. I look forward to tasting it.

Maria and her husband are multi-faceted. They also raise chickens and sell them to the local restaurants. In addition, till recently a carpentry business. The building where they did the work burned down. No insurance. Very few have insurance for anything on this small island.

The fire has created many problems. They still owe the bank on the mortgage. I felt sorry for them. She described the situation as having to start all over again.

We talked about business generally. Tourism is everything. Come September, there is no more money to be made till next summer. Business has been down not only on Amorgos, but in all of Greece. Her estimate is 30 per cent. She envisons hard days ahead.

Her husband’s name is Nikolas. I met him when he came to pick her up. A nice guy. Unfortunately, we were not able to communicate. He spoke no English and I no greek.

Maria was one of the persons who told me there are white mules all over Amorogos. I got into the lamb chop scenario with her, also. I am not conviced yet that the lamb is lamb. She told me I was correct. The lamb is really goat.

I knew I was right! Though it tastes as good as the real stuff. In fact, I had “lamb” chops for dinner last night.

I am hoping to have lunch today with Spyros. I enjoy talking with him. He is a knowledgeable businessman and familiar with Greek politics.

Enjoy your day!


A true to life tale reflecting on how well most of us have it. If you do not agree, complain not. For if you do, Flora’s story will put you to shame.
Who is Flora?
She is the cleaning lady at the pensione I am staying in on Amorgos. She cleans my apartment and every other apartment in the complex once a day. I do not know the exact number of apartments. The building is four stories high and wide, built into a mountain.
She cleans toilets, washes the floors, changes the sheets and otherwise keeps each apartment neat and tidy. Seven days a week. Eight to nine hours day. For three straight months. Not for $25 an hour. For 4 euros an hour. Six dollars American money.
Floras speaks excellent English. Also, Albanian and Italian.
Flora resides in Albania. She has lived in Albania all her life. She is 41 years old. Single, never married.
Albania is a small country in southeastern Europe. Greece borders Albania to the south.
Albania has an interesting history.
Until 1991, Albania was socialistic. A Communist nation. Being small, it thought it needed the protection of a great power. First, it was in a protectorate of China. Then Russia and Yugoslavia. Following the fall of Communist Russia, Albania became a democracy. A parliamentary democracy.
The language is Albanian. The country is considered a top ten place for visitors.
Religion is a strange combination. Fifty seven per cent are Muslim, seventeen per cent Christian. Only forty per cent pay attention to their religion, however. Albania is ranked the 13th least religious country in the world.
Russia is primarily responsible for the lack of religious fervor. When Russia took over Albania following World War II, it banned religion. All religion. As a result, Albania acquired the distinction of being the world’s first atheist state.
Today’s Muslims and Christians get along well. Tranquility exists between them. Many Muslims are Muslims only because their ancestors became Muslims during the 500 years Turkey controlled Albania. Muslims and Christians intermarry. No problem. Muslim husbands neither dominate nor mistreat their wives as in most other Muslim countries. The partners to the marriage are equal and treat each other accordingly.
When Russia initially took over Albania, the illiteracy rate was 85 per cent. Russia initiated immediate steps to rectify the problem. Within 12 years, the rate was corrected dramatically. Today, 98.7 per cent of the people are literate.
Health care is a problem in today’s Albania. A national health program does not exist. Under Russia’s domination, everyone had health care. Today few. If a person has not money to pay, doctors and hospitals will not provide treatment.
There is very little HIV-AIDS in Albania. Less than 100 cases.
I thought a little Albanian background would be helpful in understanding Flora’s life.
Now to Flora.
Flora grew up under the Communist system. Her father died when she was seven years old. As indicated, Russia made Albanians literate. Education was important.
Flora was a good student. Russia would look at a student’s record and decide what that student would be in later life. Doctor, lawyer or Indian Chief, so to speak. It was determined when Flora was 10 years old that her talents were best accommodated if she became either a teacher or nurse. Teaching became the choice.
High school in Albania is eight years. At age 18, Flora graduated. High school can be described as a professional school. Flora at 18 upon graduation from high school was qualified to be a teacher. She immediately was assigned to a school and started teaching.
She continued her education at the university level. Her college degree did not affect her earnings significantly. She earned just a bit more after acquiring her degree. Money was not an issue for her. It was the security of the job. Albanians are put into a mold and can expect job security throughout their lives. Money, no.
Flora teaches third class. Notice, not grade. Our grades are their classes.
Russia’s drive to eliminate illiteracy obviously helped Flora. Without it, she would not have acquired an education nor have become a teacher.
Without a father, Flora has been her own decision maker in life.
Flora lived under Communism her first 20 years. She says Communism was no good. She and her family, everyone, did not have enough food or clothes. Things have been considerably better under a democratic form of government.
Flora presently earns 300 euros a month as a teacher. Her salary continues through the three summer months when school is closed. Though she says it is not enough, she considers herself middle class. I suspect because she is a teacher.
Twelve years ago, she bought a house. A small one. One bedroom, a small kitchen, a living room area, and a very small bathroom. No tub. Just a shower. She borrowed money from friends to purchase the home. The mortgage was recently paid in full. She now owns her home free and clear.
She related it was not easy to make the mortgage payments. Her first year as a homeowner, she was earning only 190 euros a month teaching. The house was important to her and she sacrificed. She claims, and I believe her, that she ate only beans  for a whole year. She could not purchase even a quart of milk.
She has been working summers to help pay off the house. Now that the house is paid, she works summers to renovate it. New windows, new doors and the like.
Her home is everything to her. She describes it as “…..the most beautiful place in the world.” She says, “I find peace in  my house.”
Simplicity best describes the previous paragraph. It also reflects well on the state of her soul.
She is glad to have summer employment on Amorgos. It is hard work as she describes it, however. She works long days. Earns four euros an hour. Her employer pays half her rent. Flora does not live in the pensione complex. She rents a room elsewhere. She describes it as dingy. But it works for her.
Her share of the rent is 90 euros a month. She also pays the utility bills. Her employer provides her with lunch each day. That is all Flora eats. She buys no other food. She does not go out after work. She saves every penny. Her sole source of enjoyment is viewing the ocean. She claims in the absence from her home, it gives her peace.
Flora is obviously on a mission. Her home. To put together enough monies for its renovation.
Flora’s widowed mother is 76. She lives with Flora. They share the same bed.
Medical is a major concern. Flora puts some money aside to pay doctor and hospital bills in the event her mother becomes ill. As she put it, “…..if you have no money, you die.” No medical attention is available without money up front.
Interestingly, Albania provides her mother with a pension. Sixty euros a month. Ten of those euros are retained by the government to cover the mother’s prescription drugs. Her mom has a bad heart.
She would like a husband. She stated it in no uncertain terms. “I want a husband!”
I was curious as to what she was looking for in a man. She is 41 and still unmarried. By the way, Flora is an extremely beautiful woman. Looks 30. Thin. The face of an angel. Magnificent eyes.
Flora says money is not important in her selection of a husband. She prefers “…..a good boy…..a good person… who works.”
Do you go out evenings and try to meet a man. “No, no!”, she responded. She never goes out evenings. I am not sure if it was because she did not want to be considered a bad girl or could not afford it. Her sole out of the house activity besides teaching was coffee in the afternoon with female friends.
Her best friend is a 20 year old niece.

I inquired what she liked to do best for pleasure. Dance was her response. If you do not go out evenings, how do you dance? At parties. How often do you attend parties. Two times a year. Teacher parties.
Teaching gives her the next best pleasure. Especially students who may be handicapped in some fashion. She presently has a boy who cannot hear well, but has the ability to speak. She has another boy who is mentally slow. She works extra time with them both.
Flora claims there is a benefit to her summer jobs. She gets to travel, to see the world. Last year, it was Italy. This year Amorgos. She considers Amorgos “…..a wonderful place.” She believes that people on Amorgos live better than she does in Albania.
Her health is good. She tries to take care of herself. There is no money for medical attention were she to get sick. I asked about yearly check ups, she laughed. What check ups?
I asked this simple woman what she would like to have that she does not. Her answer came quick. “A car!” She “…..dreams to have one.” She walks everywhere, even to work. If the trip is too far, there are buses. Small vans.
I asked about vacations. She responded, “For poor people winter is all year, there is no summer.”
The cleaning job is the most difficult she has had. She has to move swiftly to get all the rooms cleaned. The hours are long. She is tired all the time.
I was curious how she got to Amorgos from Albania. First a 16 hour bus ride and then a big ship. The trip took three days. Not bad, she said.
Besides a car, what else would make her happy? To only work one job with more pay. She went on to point out that the money here in Amorgos was better than her previous summer employment in Albania. In her home country, she worked every day in the summers for three months from six in the morning to midnight. For 150 euros a month!
Teaching hours are not bad. She teaches four hours in the morning. Then is expected to spend three hours at home in the afternoon preparing for the next day. However, she has been teaching third grade for over 20 years and so preparation does not consume that much time.
She told me prices in Albania were no different than on Amorgos.
She neither drinks nor smokes, except for an occasional wine at those two teacher parties a year.
Her English is self taught. She wanted to learn. Started with children’s books and worked her way up. She speaks and writes the language well.
Her home town is called Rubik. She tells me it is large. Four thousand people.
Such is Flora’s story. She has less and wants more. A universal desire. She is working toward her goals. She will attain most of them, if not all. I wish her a car, a husband, and good health at the very least.
Americans as a whole have more than most of their brethren world wide. Flora is an example. We complain. Some of us do have less than others. Some very little.
In the overall picture of things, Flora makes up for less with hard work. There are no social agencies, welfare, governmental help or Stephanie Kaples for her. She continues without complaint. 
We could learn from her.


You will recall I mentioned two or three exceptionally lovely women who appeared to be hearing and/or speaking impaired. Their beauty was exceptional. Model types. They communicated via sign language.

I initially saw the ladies at Mythos. I have seen them there several times since. They are always with a man. The same man. He looked familiar. I could not place him. Last night, it dawned on me. He appeared to be Richard Branson! CEO/major owner of Virgin Airlines and a multitude off other international corporations.

Am I correct? I do not know. I will ask Vangelis and let you know. It looks like him. The sun bronzed face, golden hair and bright smile. If you are familiar with Branson’s background, you are aware he has been a huge supporter world wide of the hearing and speaking impaired. So it fits.

Yesterday was another slow day. I am not complaining. I enjoy them. My favorite activity has always been doing nothing. I never seemed to have time to do it.

I spent a couple of hours at a water front café sipping two freddo cappucinos. Cold cappuccinos. I was screwing around on my computer at the same time. Reading an Amazon Kindle book. London. I was half way through it. Somehow, I lost London and another book I have not yet read. I could not get them back. What to do now?

When I returned to my apartment, I decided to go into the water. The lovely Aegean Sea. Water clear blue. It was cold! Once my body adjusted, refreshing replaced cold.

There are some serious swimmers visiting and living on this island. Mostly middle aged and older. They swim far out and for a long time. I envy them. Out of my league!

Body shapes here on Amorgos are the same as in the United States. All sizes and shapes. It is not uncommon to see men and women with bellies. So much different from Italy. Everyone was thin in Italy!

The Greeks are warmer than the Italians, however. They are welcoming and open armed. Whereas, Italians avoided even eye contact.

Dinner at Mythos again last night. Why not, the restaurant is a winner. I enjoyed a large plate of smelts. Small tiny ones. Two to 2 1/2 inches. Fried crispy. My grandmother and mother would have been proud of me.

Vangelis had a Greek group playing at Mythos last night. Greek music. It must have been outstanding. Mostly Greeks in the audience. The group was given huge applause at the conclusion of each number.

Saw something unusual. Two women at differnet tables, each rolling their cigarettes. Not joints. For real tobacco. I could smell nothing unusual. Both Greek. I wondered why a person would want to roll their own when they can buy them ready made?

I prod. Ask questions. Gently, of course. It is hard this year to get people to open up about Greek politics. Most appear to be looking over their shoulders as they talk with me.

Enjoy your day!