“Does Dimitri touch you?”
Joe asked me this while we were sitting on the black sand beach of Parissa and staring out to sea. Dimitri is the proprietor of our hotel, Pension George. He’s very nice and has a great speaking voice.
“Yeah sometimes, like a hand on the shoulder or whatever?”
“He touches me every time I see him.”
“He’s probably just trying to be a good host. Giving you the signature Dimitri’s caress.”
“That’s what they should call the hotel.”
We went back to staring at the sea.
The sand itself was of a coarser grain than regular sand. If you look at it up close, it’s made up of millions of tiny spherical pebbles, or as Joe put it,
“It looks like quinoa.”
It does look like quinoa.
We were just a couple of kids in a sandbox I guess.
He blew that sand all over my towel which I had painstakingly laid on the ground without getting any sand on it. He claims it was “worth it.”
At one point Joe stood up and proclaimed that he was going to go jogging down the beach and then jog back. I was skeptical. You’re going to do what? Jog? OK. He started off down the beach, got about 20 feet away and then turned back. I jerked my thumb in the direction he had been heading.
“Get to it!”
He took off walking. I read my book, News of the World.
He came back a few minutes later, still walking.
“It’s hard! There’s a lot of resistance.”
“I know, man. It’s jogging on the beach.”
“Yeah but this is like, extra resistance.”
We went back to playing in the sand.
Some other business to get to. Joe’s nose bones hurt from wearing sunglasses. This started a few days ago and continues. Joe thinks “nose bone” sounds like a skateboarding trick. He is not wrong.
We rode away from Parissa towards what we would learn is Pyrgos, another small pretty town on Santorini. We were in search of a restaurant called Penelope’s. Scooting around in a foreign country, and especially on these islands, involves a lot of stopping and checking google maps to make sure we’re going the right way. How many stops depends on how complicated the route. On the cyclades I generally have to stop two or three times on a 20 minute ride. I’m getting better, if you zoom in you can see little landmarks like restaurants and gas stations, however future trips should involve a motorcycle phone mount.
We turned around a couple of times on the way to Pyrgos, maps tried to make us go up a street with steps, but we got as close as we could and parked. We walked the rest of the way, pausing to let a donkey in the back of a pickup truck pass. Donkey trucks have right of way. We wound our way up the narrow walkway to Penelope’s, a collection of small tables in the shadow of a church.
This food was outstanding. We got a greek salad, fried tomato balls, mashed fava beans with capers and oil, and a dish called spetzofai which was sausages and vegetables cooked in oil. When she brought out our food, the waitress asked which one of us was Greek. This is the highest compliment a tourist can receive and I believe was earned purely on the strength of our food order.
I had a hard time dropping food on the ground here. First an olive and then some feta and a piece of the fried tomato ball. I ate the fried tomato ball off the ground. It was too precious to waste. There was a lot of feta on the ground, more than I thought I had dropped. Some of it was somehow between my foot and flip-flop.
“I don’t think I’m responsible for all of the feta down here.”
“I didn’t drop anything so you must be.”
“What about this large chunk in my sandal?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it did a nose bone up in there.”
We took a back way to Pension George and saw more of the island. Lots of great little town centers with good looking restaurants. We got back to the hotel and planned to chill out by the pool but it was crowded. Good for you Pension George. We spent the next five hours in the room.
I don’t know how Joe felt about it but I felt absolutely super about not doing anything. To me vacation means not working. And the word “work” encompasses the full breadth of human activity. Really the only acceptable things to be doing on vacation are lying in bed, and or a beach chair WITH an umbrella – fuck a towel on the sand – and either reading, sleeping, or listening to a podcast. That’s it.
While we were lounging around, our review from our Milos Airbnb came in which I will now repost here in full.
“Perfect guests! Very good, polite friendly and outgoing persons! They left the studio clean and in perfect conditions as they found it! Definitely recommended to every host! They are always welcome in the future in Milos and to our apartments!”
That’s what’s up. You hear that? Perfect. Guests. Go ahead, invite us somewhere. See for yourselves.
Joe wanted to eat at this restaurant that comes very highly recommended by that other blog that Joe thinks is SOOOO great, Metaxi Mas. Thing was, the earliest reservation we could get was at ELEVEN! SO that was part of the reason we stayed in the room for so long, but only a part.
We got back on the bikes at 10 and rode out to Mataxi Mas. It would have been in the shadow of a church but it was night so it was just next to a church. Out door patio seating with a view of the moon reflecting on the Aegean sea. There were also cats. There are always cats.
We ordered stuffed meatballs, smoked pork, fried feta with honey, and seafood linguini. They brought out a raspberry cheesecake for dessert. We sat next to a threesome made up of a Greek male in his 50’s, balding, glasses, kinda quiet; a Greek guy in his late 20’s early 30’s, large, confident, doing most of the talking; and an Asian woman in her late 20’s early 30’s, pretty, confident, not doing much talking. The younger guy got startled by cat #2 and we all kind of laughed about it. He asked us where we were from and where we were going. We told him we were going to Mykonos and he approved. He’s a big fan.
“Ees good if you are a crazy boy? And I am a crazy boy.”
Then he recommended at least ten different clubs that we need to check out and told us that two days isn’t enough. We’ll see. Are we crazy boys? Our first week would seem to suggest not.
We rode home around 0100 and I hit almost all the turns without looking, but missed the last one. A lot of these roads look like driveways. We decided to skip ice cream. We both said we were fine with that. We’d had the cheesecake. Then, later, while he was lying in bed, I caught Joe WATCHING ICE CREAM VIDEOS ON HIS PHONE. Jeez man, I’m sorry. We won’t skip it again. Tomorrow we leave Santorini, and, sadly, Pension George, behind.
PS – I just want to state for the record that I in no way think Dimitri was being inappropriate. He is a kind, kind man who isn’t afraid of human contact. We could all stand to be more like Dimitri.