Καλημέρα, καλημέρα, καλημέρα …..
I could easily get used to this…in fact I have… Yineka Mou and I are now into our 5th day on Pano Koufonisi. (There’s also a Kato Koufonisi, Kato means lower, and Pano means higher….both islands are no more than a 15 minute caique ride away from each other.)
Life here has settled easily into a routine of wake up around 7 or 7:30 ish, make YM a couple of cups of Camomile Tsai, and myself a cup of ελληνικό καφές ( Greek coffee) made the traditional way in a ‘briki’… As soon as I open the door to the verandah, the small jet black kitten is there waiting for me, purring and carrying on…This kitten follows me everywhere…when I go to leave the villa, it follows me through the gardens, past the church, and as far as the front gates…then it scampers back again…she, it must be a she, though I’ve not checked, behaves like a miniature dog…when I return, no matter how long I’ve been gone, there she is hanging around near the entrance to Gitania stis Irinis…and then runs along side me all the way to our villa, some 150 meters away..it’s great to have such devotion.. Even if it is from only a stray cat.!!
About nine-ish we wander down to the port to meet the ferry boat, the self same one we arrived on, now on its return journey from Amorgos to Naxos. This is the highlight of the morning…maybe even the day…seeing who’s leaving and who’s arriving… By now, we know so many of the people on the island, locals and fellow tourists, that it takes quite a while to reach the port, as many of them want to stop and chat… Or maybe its because YM stops them for a chat… As they are either Greek, Italian or German, this involves a lot of miming and gesticulating to make any sense of what you or they are trying to say. We bump into the same people again at night, in one of the three or four tavernas that are worth eating at…for three nights we have eaten at Melissa Taverna, which is not run by anyone actually called Mellisa, but is named after the Greek word for Honeybee…( Meli is Greek for honey…another bit of useful information you’ll never have use for!) Another night we ate at Captain Nikolas’s fish taverna… Of the two, the Captains food is maybe a little better, but the atmosphere is not as good as at Melissa’s… It’s quite a large place, and because this is now the end of the season, it always feels a bit empty.
After checking out the new arrivals, we stroll around to the far end of town near the windmill, climb the hill to the Chora (old town), and go visit Vengallia at the bakery. I have a Nes ( it’s instant coffee so is called Nescafé, even if it’s not. The Greeks mix it up in a blender with condensed milk, and it’s quite delicious) and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and Yineka Mou has a cappuccino. Vengalia always brings us a couple of treats to go with our coffee…today it was ‘loukemia’, a sort of turkish delight in filo pastry…delicious…I notice that not all her customers get this treatment…I wonder why not. Maybe it’s because I bought her a present. On our first couple of hours on the island, YM and I went shopping for supplies…we went to the supermarket…( Woolworths and Coles it ain’t!) ..then to the bakery..and then to the Oporopolis or green grocer. We returned home to our villa with all our supplies, quickly changed and went out for the night ..upon returning home about midnight, Yineka Mou suddenly realised that she didn’t have her iPhone or her Maui Jim prescription sunglasses with her…PANIC! ….thinking she’d left them at Melissa’s Taverna where we’d eaten ( and drank) we hurriedly made our way back along the beach short cut, and back up the hill to the Chora, where Mellissa’s was. Its lucky that the moon ( το φεγγάρι ) is almost full, as we can see without the aid of street lights…just as well too, ‘ coz there arent any!
The staff at Mellisa’s were still there, hanging around smoking and eating and drinking… all at the same time…and of course, the phone and sunnies couldn’t be found could they, even though Tsoula, the chefs wife, went through the nights rubbish looking for them….. Our walk back home was considerably more sober than 30 minutes earlier earlier…only a few hours after arrival we were already down a $900 iPhone and a $1000 pair of glasses…not bad work eh?
Early ( well, early for us) next morning, we made our way back up the hill to the Chora, and first call was the supermarket, where YM was absolutely certain she had left her possessions… She remembered as such! Once again, no phone or glasses could be found, so we then called at the Oporopolis, the grocers, where again, YM now remembered leaving them…. Her memory is not to be relied on, as again we had no luck. What about the bakery I suggested, we went there as well… “NO, I already told you I didn’t leave them there….! ”
Ok YM, why don’t we go and have a coffee there and rethink where you might have lost your things. I can also try and use the iPhone app ” find my iPhone” to try and locate it.
We walked into the bakery to order our coffee’s when the young lady, Vengalia, behind the counter, opened a drawer and produced the missing items without any prompt from us…” I think you must want these ” she said… ” you leave here yesterday” I could have kissed her…not a bad idea either as she is young and pretty…two endearing qualities in any women…
YM was ecstatic with relief that she had got back her possessions…imagine all the hassle and stress we’ d have had to go through if we’d not found them…police reports…insurance forms to fill in…lies to make up if we wanted a successful claim… But now instant happiness.
I immediately left the bakery to look for a florist, to buy Vengalia some flowers, but on this island there isn’t much demand for such luxuries. So instead I bought her a nice gift ( from the not so supermarket ) of some candles shaped like flowers, as a token of appreciation for her honesty.
Well of course, after this, each morning when we visit her bakery, we get the royal treatment. This morning she gave me a gift of a CD, that her mother made. Mother is apparently a well known and renowned musician and singer, and while I haven’t yet heard the CD ( I don’t yet have access to CD player) I was touched by her kindness.
I should mention that we also meet lots more people at the Bakery…it’s like the social hub of the village in the morning..( YM thinks she’s an A-lister) and we are always being introduced to new people by other people we know. We were befriended on the first night here by Petros…an Athenian who has been coming to this island every year for about 20 years… Petros is a very flamboyant character…very very outrageously flamboyant…and who also, quite obviously likes a drink ( ” Who doesn’t ” from YM!) We seem to bump into him everywhere, at the beach, in the bars, at the bakery… and his circle of acquaintances is wide…he seems to know everyone on the island…and they certainly know him…
By this time it’s about 11ish…so stroll back to the villa for breakfast…usually an omelette made with the fresh eggs bought from the old lady at the corner store called Kolanaki….( it’s like no Kolanaki store in Athens though…this is a really basic shop…but with personal service) 6 eggs for 1 euro…” Φρέσκα;” I ask ” are they fresh?” …. ” Από το Κότα” she replies…. Which means ” from the hen”
Decision time…should we now go to Finikas beach which has the taverna, Fanos beach with the shady trees or walk a bit further around the headland to Italida beach…which is the ‘de facto’ clothing optional beach…all three are beautiful beaches, small, sandy and crescent shaped..and between each of the them are numerous little coves with tiny sandy patches of beach…ideal if you get one, as you can then occupy it for your own personal use.
The CO beach is the most protected from the mini Meltemi ( the sea breeze) that we are having the last few afternoons…so that’s usually the choice…the beach is not at all crowded, the water is crystal clear, and the sandy bottom extends far out into the bay…. Wonderful for swimming and snorkelling…Speaking of sandy bottoms, there are quite few on display here…though most ( but certainly not all!!!) would be better off covering up, not taking off clothes…
We set up our little beach umbrella, and spend the rest of the day reading, swimming and sleeping.
My brother in law, the eccentric one, ( ah yes, but hard to tell which one fits that description the most eh !) gave me a shoulder pouch esky type thingo to take along for the trip…he said it’d come in useful…and it has too, as it holds 3 cans of beer and keeps them suprisingly cold for about an hour…so the trick is to drink all 3 beers soon after you have set yourself up on the beach…if you linger you find that beer isn’t so tasty when warm…( unless you are a Pom ) . We met a guy at Finikas Taverna last night, Kurt from Bavaria, who said that he recognized me as the beer man…”you are alvays drink beer at the beach” he said,” and looks so inviting….where can i buy one of those things you have to keep beer kalt ( cold)…I wish I had too” Mate, you can’t buy them, you need to have a crazy B in L to give you one…..Yineka Mou recognized Kurt as the guy she has nicknamed Don….( don’t ask) ….because he seems to, going by his beach behavior, to be a bit of an ‘obsessive compulsive’ . He is always adjusting his three beach towels in a precise way….he hops up every couple of minutes, and then spends ten minutes adjusting them, lies down again for two or three minutes, gets up, goes for a swim, comes back, another ten minutes getting the towels in the precise configuration…then lies down on them again…repeat ad nauseum….and all this completely naked…..YM is fascinated by this weird behavior of Don/Kurt. Today should be interesting if we see him again at the beach, as he told YM that he has trouble with women…” zey sink that I am effeminate….and zay don’t take me serious….and mens , zay are always following me… but I am not a homosexual” . Well Don, you could have fooled me….
Also at Finikas Taverna last night was ‘ Big Black Andoni’, Black Anthony.
Another black cat..Black Anthony on his verandah
Andonis Mavros and friends…