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Monday, 18 August 2008

Naxos holidays and the great scare

Well, I might not have liked Naxos night life, nor the ambience and of course I could not but notice its lack of class - nothing like its neighbor Mykonos (or Paros even). But I must say, the beaches are fantastic with a clear blue emerald color, and the food is amazing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the water and beach life so much that I have decided to do somethign that I feared since I saw Jaws at the age of six. You must know something about me. When I was born we were living in Nafplion (I know, I know...why did we ever leave...). Since the age of six I was swimming and I mean swimming, not just floating with the usual 'bratsakia'. By the age of 4 I was a keen swimmer and the fastest of my age and even older kids-even boys. I would spend at least 6 hours in the sea. One day at the age of six we were staying at a rented house in Mati and I have faked my sleep (put a doll under the covers), sneaked out of the house and climbed the wall to the near open air cinema that we were going every day except that day. Why? Because "Jaws" - the original was on and of course my parents thought that it was not a good idea. But given my rebellious nature, I went. I even organized other rebels my age to do the same and three of us met at the cinema. We climbed the wall - as it was a PG13 we were not allowed in - and we watched the movie. Needless to say I have not been since then in the sea at depths that I could not feel the ground. I can not even swim if there is seaweed even at a meter deep.
Yet one fine day at Naxos, seeing the water so peaceful and feeling envious of everybody enjoying sea sports I've decided to do it.
I arrived to the end of Plaka beach - mainly used by surfers and people looking for quiet time. The moment I parked and walked toward the beach I could not help but have a feeling of elation. The beach had fine white sand - the kind that I am thinking is common in places like the Carribean - and the waters crystal blue and in some areas turquoise. There were some surf boards but nobody using them as there was no wind that day. Instead a couple of kids were getting ready to go on a floated sofa where a speed boat would pull them fast and give them some thrill. Seeing that it was only kids doing that thing, I went to the guy and asked if I could join them. I told him that I am very much afraid of deep waters - did not mention of course that I am afraid that a white shark is waiting for me the moment I go beyond 2 meters deep - and he promised that noone ever falls in on that new toy and that it will be very much fan.
In the pictures that follow it is Nik and Danny who tried it the same afternoon and I was on the speedboat taking the pictures. The bloody thing was flying on the water and at one point guess what: it overturned. And guess where: in the deep sea. Pitch black underneath, over my head was the sofa so I could not immediately emerge and when I did the people on the beach looked like small black dots. Panic?? At red levels. When I realized that there was no white shark coming after me, I saw the little girl that was sitting next to me having difficulty coming toward the sofa. The sofa had to be overturned. It was not easy. Panic levels kept increasing despite my efforts not to look down and not to think about the white shark. I did not scream (!!!) as I was afraid I would scare to death the little girl. Her slightly older brother (about 12) and myself turned the sofa to its normal position. I had two choices: save the girl first or climb as fast as I could up. My natural thought was of course to save the little girl. And then I thought what if she can not climb up fast and I was the last one in the deep pitch black sea? So long emerald waters. Now we were really into the deep. And it was not even blue anymore. So I think I flew up - so fast and so high that even Isibayeva would be jealous. Of course nothing happened to me or the girl or her brother as I pulled them both up once I was in a safe...floating ground. Needless to say that the fall was a climax of panic as at every turn we were on the air and the thing was bumping up and down. We had to hold from some ropes. I was holding so high that my palms had white marks for at least ten minutes after I left them indicating that there was no blood flow.
I must say that it will be ages if I ever try this again, but it was one of the scariest, unpleasant yet exciting experiences that I ever had.

I am extremely happy I did this. Yet, despite the fact that I know for sure that there is no white shark in the greek waters I am not sure if I shall ever do it again. Yet, I recommend it to those looking for 15 minutes of extreme fun.
Zizou was patiently waiting for mommy not sure why she keeps that long and she is out of sight. He made friends with a nice lady close by that gave him her ham sandwitch to keep him from coming to my rescue. Needless to say that once I reached land I could not be happier to hold again Zizoulino in my arms

And so I am back from outer space...

Holidays are over. What a dreadful sentence. To try and lift myself I keep reminding me that august is still far from over and that autumn in Greece is more like summer in most european countries. So, there is still hope. But I feel really bad for being back. Awful to be exact. My absense from this blog meant of course that I am having a swell time. Well, most of the time I kept silent.
Every day there were scenes and people that made me say 'I have to put that in the blog'. But after twenty or so days, the amount of times that I thought that made it forbidding. The blog would have been a holiday book and I thought why not stir it up a bit and I might come out with a book.
So, what I have decided to do is to start scribble notes in case one day I manage to write a book and eventually make my dream come true. What that dream is? Live between Mykonos and anywhere else of course. No office, no suit, no fake smiles, no meetings and so on and so forth. A dream, right? In a dream anyone can wish for whatever.
To get back from... outer space, today is the first day back to the office but by no means the first day back to real life. That was last wednesday.
But let's take it bit by bit.
My first stop was Naxos. I did not like Naxos. To be fair with the island, although I spent one whole week, I barely visited more than a couple of places. That is Naxos town, Plaka and where we were staying Amytis beach. The reason is that the people I was with were not in the mood of driving around to go to nice beaches as they would not want to skip the night's party. I understand. But there is no decent bars or clubs in Naxos. A couple of them, playing their lousy music over and over again painfully repeating it every single night with the same song sequence. But of course there is a good side to everything: Naxos is still very cheap and a couple of the beaches I have been in Plaka were spectacularly beautiful. So, overall my holidays in Naxos where enjoying the sea and the sun and good food. Oh yes, I also did for the first time in my life some sort of sea sport. I will refer to it at a follow up posting. It definitely deserves some mentioning.
Zizou had a swell time. and he was worth it.
We were staying at a rented house in Amytis beach that cost 70 euros a night and housed 6 people!!!! Yes, when I am saying Naxos is cheap, it is that cheap. And this is the first thing I saw when I arrived to the house: The window looking at the sea just five minutes away

After looking at this site, I knew that only good things could happen from now on. And so they did.
The second thing I noticed in the house is Tommy waking up. Tommy is a friend from London, whom I just met in Naxos. God bless him he is a hilarious guy. He just got up as I arrived and someone handed him a frape. Obviously the night before had been heavy - as the nights that followed. 'Hallo' he said introducing himself. 'I am Tommy and I am an alcoholic' Tommy - as expected from his opening line - is, a very intelligent, witty, kind and funny person who spoke english with a marvellous posh accent and greek with an extremely heavy cypriot accent. Just hearing him talk like that makes you laugh. Let alone the things he said. His second adolescence on the Greek islands - which I witnessed - made him even funnier. Tommy and the combination of a group such diverse as the rest of the gang - a description of each member will follow - were of course the key ingredients to such an enjoyable vacation.

Zizou could not believe he had not died and been to heaven as it was his dream case scenario. A house on the beach with a huge garden for him alone. After spending an hour or so sniffing and marking around, he climbed up the stairs to our flat exhausted from the heat, running and ecstasy

After settling down, John, our main host, made sure we all relaxed, shook the city off by playing some great tunes on his laptop equipped by a brilliant set of speakers and a 3G card so we can keep in touch with the world. Not that we spent much time online. Of course the house also had its own stereo system that later on we let playing 24/7 a station from Syros where producers rarely spoke and the music was top

After our coffee, settling down and Tommy waking up, we decided to head to the beach for a swim. The boys wanted to go to the busiest beach in Naxos from which of course I stayed away. Instead Zizou, the Merc and myself took the road down to Plaka to relax and enjoy the swim. Later on we joined the rest of the gang for food, back to the house to watch the sunset and head for an almost all-nighter to Naxos - boring if you ask me - night life.

Pugs are the superior creatures in any planet

Don't you wish you were hot like Frankie (the Pug)???
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Pugs talk!