The power is out on Milos. I don’t know if it’s out on the whole island but it’s out at our Airbnb and at the coffee shop so as far as I’m concerned it’s out on the whole island. The kind baristas offered to make me a Nescafe which is a sweet cold coffee drink or a Greek coffee which they made over a gas burner so has the advantage of being hot but it has the disadvantage of being veryvery tiny. Joe’s still asleep so I’m drinking them both. The power would intermittently go out and come back on all night. When we had power, the fan would be on and the light off. When the power cycled off and then back on again, they would come on in reverse position, light on and fan off. So we’d wake up sweaty to a fully lit room, Joe would go turn the fan on and the light off and then we’d fall back asleep until it happened again. It was a weird night.
I have some things that I’ve either forgotten to talk about or have neglected to talk about thus far and I’d like to include them now so I don’t forget them completely. I present a new section, addendums.
Back when we were hanging out with the Brodys, they were regaling us with tales of their wild night out with the Estonians. I don’t remember there being much detail, mostly how little sleep they got, but trust them, it was wild. Joe followed by telling them about OUR wild night where we went to a karaoke bar and then took a taxi back to the hotel, but then, as we neared the hotel, we passed the ice cream shop and we shouted PULL OVER! We have to get ice cream! The driver happily obliged saying something about how it was a fine time to get ice cream. We thanked him and got ice cream and that was how our night ended. One of the Brodys looked at Joe and said, “Joe don’t ever tell that story again!” Like how dare you, any night not spent hammered with escorts and eastern block ex-cons is a night not lived! And Joe, Joe held firm. “I love that story!” he said. God bless you, you sweet man.
The dinner we had on our retreat from the crowded place, which I now know is called O, Hamos, was pretty bad. We were lured in by the sea captain working as a host. We’d been joking about befriending a sea captain the whole trip and then here he was, seating people at a restaurant on Milos. We followed his bushy beard and hat to a table and sat down. This place was crewed by a group of people who seemed to know that their only job was to catch overflow from the better restaurants in the area. The service was bad and we ordered grilled octopus which was served as one large tentacle with something resembling honey mustard drizzled on it. Joe called it a chicken strip from the sea. Accurate.
The last thing I’ve been neglecting to talk about is this.
We’re not allowed to flush toilet paper at our airbnb. There’s no butt washer either. There’s a trashcan next to the toilet which nobody feels great about using. We went back and forth for a while about how to deal with it. As a self described heavy-user, Joe was particularly distressed. TBH we’ve been flushing some toilet paper, but our primary solution is to shower after every trip. A shower, if you think about it, is just a super powered butt washer.
This has been, addendums. On to yesterday.
The morning looked a lot like it did this morning except we had COFFEE. We got up and banged out our workout routine which we’ve impressively managed to do three days in a row. Full credit to Joe on that one. It was especially important today for today was to be a beach day. An epic beach day. Ok I’m just going to admit this up front. I made Joe wear a speedo today. I wore one too, I’m not a monster, but the difference is I wanted to. I’m probably going to reference this a lot but I don’t know if I can post any photos of the experience yet. I’ve been looking through the ones we took and I just don’t think I have what I’m looking for. We’ll see. Maybe my position will evolve during the writing of this, but as of right now, you may have to wait for those speedo shots. Joe keeps calling them bikinis by the way which I don’t think is right.
We got all sun-screened up, I made sure to cover the areas I knew would be seeing the sun for the first time ever. We got on our scooters and rode to Pollonia, a small town on the east coast of Milos.
It was a nice ride, good roads for the most part and very little traffic as you might expect on an island of 5,000 people. We parked and I immediately saw some flip flops hanging outside the front door of this shop. I was like Joe, I’m getting those before anything else happens. After days of being roasted for my heavy boots I was ready for some beach wear. I walked up to the display and found a pair in US 13 and got very excited.
“Joe they have my size!”
They are a little unconventional, a rugged sole with rubber teeth around the outside edge. They’re called Gumbies. They’re from Australia.
“These are great!” I said.
Woo! Power is back on
The shop keeper was standing right there and I told her I’d take ‘em. We walked over to the register. Her shop had a bunch of great stuff in it.
“Do we need anything else Joe? Snorkel gear? Games? Toys?”
“Settled down bud, you’re getting a little excited, let’s think about it and come back.”
“Let’s just get snorkel gear! We can snorkel wherever we want!”
“Let’s think about it.”
“Just the flip flops please. Oh I don’t need a bag thank you.”
“That’s 35 euro.”
At no point did I think about what was happening. As I was handing over the money I heard Joe laughing from the front of the shop. I took my receipt and new flops and went outside.
“What?” I asked him.
“I’ve just never heard of anyone paying 35 euro for flip flops before.” He pointed to the rest of the display which had plastic flip flops in bags. “These are five.”
Then it sunk in. Oh my god. I just payed 40 dollars for flip flops. How in the hell?
“Joe! Where were you, why didn’t you stop me?”
“You got too excited. She was like, are you sure? No one buys those. I thought you’d hear me laughing and know something was up.”
“That was WAY too late. I was already paying.”
“I’m sure those are going to be great. You could have bought SEVEN PAIRS of these other ones, but whatever.”
We went back in the shop to buy a beach towel since neither of us had one. I tried to convince Joe to buy a really good bouncy ball but it was 7 euro and he said no.
We went to breakfast at a spot next to a photo shoot. There was a full crew out by this little beach and they were shooting these two models in swimwear. We tried to half watch. It wasn’t all that interesting but it was the only show in town. Joe got the poached eggs and I got an omelette with local goat cheese. Very tasty.
We finished eating and headed out for Kastanas beach. A (nudist) beach according to google maps. As we would learn throughout the day, this is a meaningless distinction. Every beach is a nude beach, especially if you’re an old man.
The ride to Kastanas was half paved road and half crazy bumpy trail. The paved half took us through some impressive mining operations. I’m going to reassess the casual attitude I had towards the Milos Mining Museum. Milos mining is serious business. We passes some HUGE mines, and the mineral wealth of Milos becomes obvious as you traverse the island. Anywhere the ground has been cut away you see seams of beautiful rock. Reds, purples, greens, and pure powder white. It’s quite pretty if you ignore the fact that it’s being exposed by man exploiting it.
We chattered our teeth down the long trail to the beach, happy to have the older bikes. I remember seeing people on rented ATV’s and thinking that four-wheelers were a vulgar, brutish option and wondering why any self respecting rider would make that choice over the grace and beauty of a scooter. The answer came to me as I tried to rattle my bike to pieces. Joe actually lost his back reflector right as we got to the bottom.
We got off our bikes and changed into our speedos right there in the open. Greece!
“You know there are about to be cool Americans down there right?” Joe asked, regarding our swimwear.
“It’s fine” I told him, “they’re going to know it’s a joke.”
We walked down to the beach. This was a pebble beach, not a sandy beach and I was immediately glad for my flip flops. I would be trying to justify these things all day, hell I’ll be trying to justify them for months, but they really did come in handy. The pebbles were pieces of all the lovely minerals, prismatic and smooth. I was also in love with the sound produced when the waves receded from the stones. Imagine taking a few rocks in your hand and rolling them around, the satisfying click they make as they come together. Now multiply that by a million.
There was one naked old guy but everyone else had suits on. This wasn’t much of a beach, from the cliff to the water was only about 15 feet or so. I’d say other than us there were only about 10 other people there. A group of kayakers left from one side.
“There are no cool Americans down here, Joe.”
“Yeah there are!”
We jumped in the Aegean Sea for the first time. The water was absolutely perfect. Chilly but not cold and extremely refreshing. The bottom was large smooth rocks. We swam over to a small cave in one of the cliff walls but determined the rocks to be too sharp to attempt entry. We swam back and got out. We tried to take some shots but the light was weird and then these two dudes showed up. They had a similar plan albeit with less clothing and more dick jewelry. These guys were out there to get some work done. They whipped off their clothes exposing some impressive equipment. One of them climbed up on top of a rock and posed while the other one started shooting. I gave them a fist pump as if to say, hey man, nice wang.
We packed up our stuff and headed out, not because those dudes were in our fucking shot, but because we had a lot more island to cover. We backtracked up the dirt road an onto sweet asphalt.
We headed to the south side of the island to Paliochori beach. This was more of your typical beach. Sandy all the way out. “Great footfeel” as Joe put it.
“I’m going to have a hard time talking to people without explaining these bikinis” Joe said.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m going to have to tell people it’s a joke.”
“It’s not a joke, Joe. You know earlier when I said it was a joke? That was a joke. It’s real now.”
Ok, because you’ve been good. Here’s a taste.
Also at this beach was Sirocco, a restaurant where you can order food cooked in a volcanic vent. It was a place Joe had wanted to try so we ate lunch. Volcano cooked food is novelty cooked food.
It’s good but you can’t really taste the volcano. I also bought a second beach towel because why the hell had we only bought one beach towel? We’re not perfect.
After Paliochori we headed for the last beach of the day, Firiplaka. This was a beautiful ride, took us right by the bay and up over the island. We were looking back across the water at the white shining buildings of Adamantas. Milos is alright. Firiplaka had a huge cliff face as well as rock formations in the water.
Repeat process here. Get in water. Get out of water. Try to take sexy bikini pictures. Fail miserably. Sit in sun. Check out old naked guy. Get back in water. Get out of water. Leave.
Joe fell asleep for a little while here while I read. Joe, despite NOT putting sunscreen on his hips and upper thighs got away with very little burn. Even the sun is kind here. Our beach spot was right next to another couple who didn’t seem to be having all that much fun. They didn’t really speak to each other and the dude wore a hat the entire time, even in the water. Some dudes are hat dudes.
We left Firiplaka and rode back to the Airbnb to shower and get ready for dinner. Tonight we return to O Hamos! This time much earlier in the evening. We got there at seven and only had to wait about 10 minutes for a table. While we were waiting we were treated to mother cat and kitten show. When we were finally seated, it was at a table with two other people, the same fucking people we were next to at the last beach! Dude still had his hat on! It was weird and they continued to not say a god damn word to each other.
We ordered a greek salad, fried artichoke, grandma’s cheese pies, goat, and spaghetti. It was all pretty delicious. Rustic, home made dishes. Probably cooked in a regular, non-volcano oven but that’s fine. Once the taciturn couple left our table was reseated by two girls from Hawaii, Liz and Bailey. Their ferry to Milos had taken 11 hours, but at least they’re allowed to flush toilet paper at their hotel. They were good company. I don’t think we ever want to be sitting at a communal table but it’s good for us sometimes. Joe ordered a bottle of ouzo which the three of them shared despite not really knowing what it was or liking it all that much.
We settled up, bid the girls farewell, and did what we do best. Got ice cream. Joe ran back the dolce du leche and added mascarpone with raspberry and I went strawberry and cookies. Killer. Back at the room we attempted to make a decision about where we are staying on Santorini but I was lying down and had no more left. Joe got a little salty with me for falling asleep, leaving him to that duty alone, but he handled it. We’re staying at a place that I think is called Pension George. I’m kind of wondering if it’s actually called Maison George, but I hope it’s Pension George. Great name. We don’t leave until 7 pm tonight so there’s plenty of Milos left. See how many beaches we can squeeze in between now and then.