Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Loving Chios 

Today was my last day on the island. Last night, we had an amazing dinner in the old port on the waterfront. We went to the rock'n'roll outdoor sit-down bar we always go to. We were joined by my ex-stepsister and her brother and an old flame who abducted me and took me to Satva, the only bar open for dancing until late on weekdays. Dance we did. This booty shook like it hasn't in a while, dancing indiscriminately to everything. I went home at six to a quick breakfast and a disgusted aunt.

Today I bought gifts and put off packing, opting for a longer last day at the beach. My swimming buddy and I swam further and deeper than we've had and the water was clearer and warmer than it has been. The wind's died down and it is exquisite. Joined the bar faction for a glass of wine at six, laughed and talked and killed more packing-time and was somehow talked into seeing a man about a ticket, later in the week. Second glass of wine is not the best time to consider practicalities- I'm the one who's been lecturing folks to do whatever they want, when they want to. So I decided I want to stay a little bit longer. The note is too high to leave, still.

We went into town and sure enough I don't have to lose the ticket; I can pay a fine and change it to an open one. I am sacrificing my bed on the slowboat and will have to go third class, when I do go. Caged fowl sighting is now a certainty. But I can go any day, now. And I can relish a day or two more of my favorite sea and some wonderful people. And if it proves to be overkill, I will bear that in mind for next time.

Walked down to the port, just as the ship I should have been on was pulling out, tearing through the moonbright waters as I watched and smiled. I'm on bonus time, and it's all sweetness.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Leaving Chios 

Back in those same places and patterns I've loved and loathed so much, on the island my dad grew up on, a fifteen kilometer stretch of cobalt sea from Turkey's west coast. I am on Chios, landed straight here after an endless direct flight on Olympic Airways from JFK.

This year, more than ever, determined to do it on my terms and not compromise and adjust what to me constitutes a good time- enjoying long days at the beach and early dinners and nights, when most don't even leave their homes for that first drink till midnight. No can-do, nor do I really aspire to; promises I'll try to old friends be damned.

It's been real sweet, this whole doing things as I want to thing. As I am more aligned with what makes me happy, doing exactly as I please most days, happy to see a couple of people align with that and join in on earlier mornings and beachdays and dinners and nights. Kinda like all those years when all I wanted was to be liked and accepted and tried so hard to so-so results, and when I dropped that and kinda just went for joy as my compass, people joined in and liked and accepted me anyway. One of the great ironies of my life, that's been.

The secret to being with the family and maintaining some semblance of balance is to not stay with the family and enjoy meals and visits. I have the same room I stayed in last time- with the same glorious view of the ever-changing but always-the-same harbor. Pics soon-coming. After ten days here, enjoying and being surprised daily by how sweet it can be, when others also want to be an old fogey with you, am starting to feel full. Like I've had enough, slowly. Like I am ready to go to Skyros-Santorini-Kea-Mykonos-Athens-Peloponissos, or some combination thereof, in my waning days here. Or, as a dear friend said to me a coupla days back, when I called wailing why-is-he-not-into-me (perennial Chios-crush still there, lamentably): after 13 f-ing years, either f-ing get married or f-off. So, I'm going to eff-off.

Except there's no tickets to be had for anywhere, anytime soon, via air or sea, and I am stuck on the island past the point of fulfillment. Unh-oh. Will still enjoy the Zyms and the beach, but could have left tomorrow, instead of the first boat out I booked for the 28th. The price I pay for wanting to keep it flexible and not commit to anything. I'd said, I want to stay for as long as I am having a good time. And it was, a great time. All the elements were there, minus the romance. The laughs and sunsets and swims and indulgences and family bonding and meditative moments and sun-filled afternoons. I might still try to get on a waitlist for a long-boat (ten hours amidst smokers and kids crying and old ladies - and maybe the occasional caged fowl) for sooner, rather than stay until the experience here loses all its lustre and dies on me, again. Was hoping to avoid that, this year.

Yesterday would've been the perfect day to book-end my trip. We went to one of what we've dubbed the Shrek beaches (ie those far-far away), my favorite volcanic black-pebble beach, then we visited Pyrgi, a uniquely-built village, then a medieval village square for coffee, then took off in two cars up the mountain for the sunset, then down the hills to the sea for dinner over pink waters. Then home. Complete. I've had my fill, and am looking forward to new chapters elsewhere, with other people. I'll stick it out here, for a few more days. Maybe go stay with my aunt Maro for a few. As daddy-Zym said, could be worse than stuck in paradise- even as other landscapes and vistas eagerly await.

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