One Step East, Two To The West

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Some nice beaches here in Crete
Another week gone, another slow Sunday here in Greece, and as you probably already figured out given that you're reading it, another update. Last week, I finished my Greek classes on Wednesday. To give you some idea where I am, I just learned how to conjugate verbs in the past tense and other fun stuff on my last day. Which will be useful because I'm sure I'll have some stories to tell in Greek when I return. Presuming that I remember how, that is... In other news, I bought myself some plane tickets with EasyJet, so I now am officially leaving Greece Nov 15, stopping in London for a few hours, and then heading to Belfast. This should give me a week in Ireland and a week in England/Wales before I board that cold cold airplane on Dec 5 for the white fields of home. I'm shivering already.

The actual beach avec island
So, what's been going on? Well, Nikos, a really nice guy that runs a cafe in Rethymno, went to the beach with me a few times. That guy swims like a fish, but I guess living a five minute drive from a beautiful blue-flagged beach with few tourists and an island in swimming distance (barely for me!) will do that to you. The beach itself is worthy of the flag, pristine, and local, and this time I brought my camera so I could get a few pictures. I also went out for coffee a few times with Panaiota, my teacher.

Eleni, Nikos, and I
Thursday, I went to the cafe to see what Nikos was up to since we'd been planning to go out to Rethymno that day. His sister, Eleni, had come in on the early morning ferry from Athens and she was going to come with us. He also called Manous for me, a cousin of his in Rethymno, and got me a hotel lined up. Very nice guys, as I've said before. Then, since it was such a beautiful day, we did the tourist thing and sat eating salad and (in my case) drinking a nice big Mythos in the harbour sun. We went to the beach again that afternoon, I did a little strolling around the old town, and then I had a coffee with Panaiota. Panaiota, who really shouldn't have come, since she had some sort of food poisoning which I didn't know until she abruptly excused herself from the table to get sick. Then, I packed my bags up, grabbed some souvlaki and watched a bit of Shanghai Noon until Nikos and Eleni picked me up.

Mihalis Tsouganakis
We drove off for Rethymno, and I discovered when we arrived somewhere about 20km shy of the city that we were actually going to see some live Cretan music aka Μιχαλης Τσουγανακις. It was really good, he played whatever instrument that was (Laouta?) very well and the guy playing the Lyra was expert. I actually took a little (24MB) video which you can see by right-clicking and selecting Save As here. It's at full zoom from our table, so not exactly great, but there it is if you want it. Anyway, the night was replete with dancing, clapping, whisky, and more dancing. We left there around 4 AM and went out clubbing in Rethymno. By then, Eleni was justifiably tired and by 6 or so I was getting there, too. Then, we had some gyros, got my stuff from Nikos' car (I forgot my iPod in the front seat, though) and tucked into bed a little before 8 AM.

The old town in Rethymno
Friday I was awakened at noon to chanting from right outside my window. It's a long weekend here, Oxi (Oh-he) Day, celebrating, I think, when the Greeks pushed off the Italians in WW2, though the Germans weren't far behind. In any case, there were a bunch of kids out my window chanting and I was not exactly wide awake but I got to look at their costumes and that was enough of a parade for me. I strolled around the old town a few hours later, took a few pictures, and a nap. I went out again Friday night, but on my own this time. You have to be in a certain mood for this, and I wasn't, so I hung out for awhile and then went home. Saturday was much the same. More stores were open since it was a regular day and not a holiday, but it gets dull pretty fast around here. I bought myself a book about the Cretan Resistance called The Cretan Runner, that seems interesting so far, strolled around the town, sat and had lunch and watched the people walk by, strolled some more, and then sat and had a hot chocolate in a cafe and read a bit of my book. This may sound dull, and it can be, but that's sort of life around here, especially when you're in a strange city and don't know anyone.

Rethymno Harbour
Today is Sunday, as I've mentioned, and there's even less to do, so I'm forgoing the coffee and using the internet instead. Well, I still may go get a coffee later, it's only 3:30, after all. Tomorrow, I'm back to Tripolis via Ferry, though which one remains to be seen. I was supposed to meet Nikos yesterday but have no idea what happened, so I still have to get my iPod back before I leave. I've gone through enough of a withdrawl to write a song on my cell phone. If anyone has a Sony Ericsson phone with MusicDJ, they can try out this song/ringtone:

Drums - XX-07-15-15-15-15-16-16-16-16-23-23-24-24-25-25-26-26-25-25-16-16-16-16-16-16-16-16-16-16-16-32

Bass - XX-XX-09-10-09-10-15-16-15-16-23-23-24-24-31-32-31-32-31-32-24-24-23-24-23-24-24-24-23-24-23-24

Chords- 01-02-09-02-09-02-10-15-10-15-17-18-23-23-XX-31-17-02-17-02-17-18-24-24-23-23-10-15-23-23-23-23-08

Accent- XX-XX-03-XX-03-04-15-16-15-16-23-23-24-24-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-31-32-23-23-24-24-15-16-23-23-23-23

I hope that useless bit of transcription is useful to someone. If not, well, skip over it. I probably should've said that before rather than after, but you'll know for next time I guess. Anyway, I'm off to do... something. See you in another week.

<Rethymno Photos>

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