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My friend is a doctor and when I asked him recently if he was going to be around for the summer he said to me, What do you think: doctors do nothing but travel? And then he recited a litany of all the obligations he had for the summer and how he would be chained all summer to his—examination table.
And then on Facebook I see him in Paris with his wife and friends and from there they might be visiting Greece.
Another Facebook friend who said he was chained to his desk I see posting everywhere in Greece (all those balmy beaches and crystal-blue water and drinks with rainbow colors and freshly-caught octopus grilled and ready to be eaten).
And yet another roams the islands all year long shooting his show on Greek food and culture. You know how much work it is? he groans. And yet every time I see him posting selfies it’s with a tremendous smile on his face, in some taverna, surrounded with friends with smiles plastered on their faces, at an outdoor table piled with food, surrounded by the lights hanging from the trellis in their restaurant under the stars.
And there is a friend who seems to have given up going back home altogether (to South Africa) and what he does is seem to roam our native island of Chios and take photos like rustic still-life’s of its native beauties and remnants of bygone times (a stone wheel at the aletrouvio, a tsapa rusted through, the beautiful blue shutters of a home, red poppies in an open field, the belfry of the village church looking haunting in the light of the moon).
Once you’ve lived life in these villages and hills and towns and islands and paralies, once you’ve seen them as a kid, or as an adult, once you’ve seen the life lived there—really lived there—people in Greece, for all the eternal turmoil of their politics and economics—seem to live the most idyllic life in the world.
I went to visit Greece a few years ago with my family and we sat in a restaurant in Plaka and lingered for hours under the stars and enjoyed the most delicious food in the world and stayed, Greek-style, practically most of the night.
We went to Chios then and my uncle picked us up from the hotel as we were having breakfast so we could have tiganites with them—so we had two breakfasts—and then we went to have lunch—at an outdoor restaurant right off the sea purling and foaming through the rocks on the shore by the old windmills and the restaurant owner was closed but opened just for us and my uncle asked him what he had on the menu, and the owner shrugged, Greek-style, and said, So what do you want? We said we wanted everything—and he literally brought us everything. And then he sat with us and we had a parea.
Then my uncle drove us to his house in the mountains–and we had dinner there—overlooking the town of Chios itself twinkling at our feet, past the church with the white courtyard and the blue dome, past the moonlight bobbing on the waves, to the garland of lights in the town at the outdoor taverns of the paralia where everyone was sitting at the outdoor tables enjoying life as it was meant to be.
Don’t miss out. Enjoy your summer in Greece and Cyprus this year.