DAY 12

I took a walk yesterday morning. Not sure why. I really did not need the exercise. With all the steps and hills here, I am exercising constantly.

I guess I was in the mood to explore.

I went to the donkey trail. The one I spoke about yesterday. Five hundred plus steps. Side of a mountain. This time I went close.

It stunk! Big time! Of donkey urine and shit! Who would want to ride a donkey surrounded by such a stench!

As I arrived at the start, I saw a bunch of women walking up the donkey path. Beside the donkey excretions, the path is loaded with all size rocks and dirt. Not the best place from my perspective to exercise.

As soon as they reached the top, the ladies turned around and started back down.

One of them did not. I went over to speak with her. What are you ladies doing? Turns out they exercise there every morning. They walk up and down the donkey path. How many times? Till we get tired! What about the stink? We try to stay ahead of it. Why do you do it? It is 2,000 feet up and 2,000 feet down. To keep thin. But you all look thin. You look thin. Oh no, she said. Look at my belly. I eat too much and have to do this.

Female vanity!

As I was walking back to my cave accommodation along the road, a small car drove up fast. Parked on the side with the ass end of the vehicle butting out into a narrow heavily traveled road. The windows were closed. The driver got out and walked away. He obviously was looking for someone. Three or four minutes later he returned. With a wife or girl friend. Saw them come around the corner of a building. They got into the car and drove off. Sitting in the back seat in a car seat was a baby less than one year old.

I rented a car. Finally. Wanted to see more of the island.

A Fiat. Small. Clutch/shift. I learned on one so no problem.

I was off to Red Beach. To see the topless and totally bare women!

Santorini is a strange place to rent a car. The gas tank is empty when you pick the car up. The nearest gas station miles away. The rental place puts two liters of gasoline into the car. From two used water bottles. Then tells me it will get me to the gas station…..sometimes it is closed… may have a problem.

What the hell!

Off I went. As I drove, I thought what a thief. People return rented cars with gas left in the tank. He must be siphoning it out and reselling it to gas stations. After first filling some empty water bottles, of course.

I made it to the gas station. It was open.

Greek gas stations still pump your gas. They should for what it costs!

You buy by the euro. Big shot me asked for 30 euro. Gasoline is $12 American money a gallon here. Thirty euro got me 3 1/2 gallons. Not even a half a tank.

Gasoline is gold!

I will never complain in the US again about the price of gasoline. $4 a gallon would be considered a bargain, a steal, here.

My goal was Red Beach. The place for nudity.

I got lost of course. Finally found it by just driving roads that seemed to go in the direction I thought the beach was. A one half hour drive took me an hour and a half. Don’t say I should have looked at the signs. Good luck! The signs are all in Greek.

I did not mind. I got to see other parts of the island. No other part compares to Oia, I learned. Oia is heaven, not Santorini itself.

The roads suck. Driving an experience. Very narrow two lane roads. Curves frequently. Sharp curves. None gradual as in the US. The curves come up and are just there. Some very tight turns. Like the curve in a hairpin. Busses dominate. They drive 2 feet over into your lane. There is no parking on the roads. People park on the roads anyhow. Tightens the road up a bit.

All I could think of was Greece is a country that built the cave dwelling I am living in, Acropolis and the Parthenon. Why couldn’t it build build better roads?

I finally ended up at Red Beach. When I stopped the car, I knew it had to be Red Beach. I was at the end of the island. The only place else I could drive was into the sea.

I had a little difficulty locating Red Beach itself. Had to walk up a relatively small mountain. Over a dirt rocky path. When I thought the water was feet away, it was not. I had merely reached the top of the knoll. As I looked down, I could see Red Beach about a quarter of a mile away.

Red Beach so called because it is lava created. A high black lava mountain surrounds it on three sides. A black beach. Black water. From the volcano eruption 3,500 years ago. Why called Reds then? Because there are spottings of red on the mountain wall, beaches and in the water. Where it came from, what it is, I never found out.

My concern was how to get to the beach. Then I saw it. A narrow three foot path running around the center of the lava mountain. About mid way up. No wall. The lava mountain on one side of you and a sharp fall the other. Not for me. I opted to leave, never got to Red Beach itself. Never saw bare breasted or bare assed woman. I did not care. My personal safety overcame my perversions. I am getting old.

I spent the balance of the afternoon sitting under an umbrella by the pool. Overlooking the Aegean Sea. The view spectacular.

In Key West, visitors are constantly told to walk down any street. Never know what will be found. A Seven Fish. Michael’s Restaurant. a coffee house. a corner store with great Cuban toast, a cute art gallery. Whatever.

I got off the beaten path last night. Walked down a side street. Actually an alley. I saw a bit of light in the distance. A bar, a restaurant? Down the alley I went. There it was. The Argonaut Restaurant. A taverna. Small.

A locals place. They all stared at this obvious tourist as I walked in.

A great place! The best food! Made a ton of new friends!

The tables were small carpenter work horses. A thick 4 inch slab of wood on top. Seats were small barrels with a pad to sit on.

I had a delicious sausage. Several meats. More about the sausage I cannot tell you. Fried potatoes and a salad. Stuffed wine leaves to start. Two gins. For desert that Greek specialty. I forget the name. Baklava, I think. A flakey cake buried in honey. Topped by a double espresso. The whole bill was 19 euros. About $24 American money.

I shall return!

I walked the marble walkway behind the cave apartments on the way home. The path runs on top of the caves. Great stores and restaurants along the way. It was 11 in the evening. My walk about 1/2 mile. I saw a total of 7 people.

There is no night life in Oia. At least not that I have discovered.

I spoke this morning with Nikos. Where were the people? A bad year so far, he said. People are not traveling. The economy once again. The euro problem.

Key West three years ago. But not as bad.

Another example of the poor economy. Having decided to leave Red Beach, I was thirsty. I saw a bar near where my car was parked. I walked over. What appeared to be the proprietor was seated on the porch. Water? No water. Soda. No soda. Beer? No beer. Gin? No gin. So the conversation went. I looked at him as if to say….Come on, this is a bar. He looked at me as if he could read my mind and said…..No business, out of business. He had owned and operated the place for 32 years. He had to recently close. The euro problem. No business.

I seem to make friends easily on this trip. I have a few coffee buddies. I stop by a small coffee place a couple of times a day to chat with them. We have arrived. We can understand each other. Though neither speaks the other’s language.

Santorini and the Greek Isles are mere dots on the map. Of no significant size. Perhaps of no significance. Its inhabitants simple folk. Have been here their whole lives as their ancestors before them. They do not know life as we do.

I had sensed that people here did not understand what a blog was. Even when explained, it was Greek to them. Christina the beauty parlor owner, Nikos the cave hotel owner. They smile and look at you blankly when you speak of blogs. The same reaction with my espresso drinking friends.

Most people here work to eat. What they earn goes for food and a roof over their heads. They know nothing of pensions. They will work till the day they die.


Enjoy your day!

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