10/28  Matala, Crete Greece

28 Oct 1985, Posted by Scott An Chora in Travelogue, No Comments.

10/28 Matala, Crete Greece

I woke to what I thought was a scream.  Eventually I realized that it was the manager of the hotel yelling at somebody.  Apparently Dawn had spent the night with a young man who got himself caught on his way to the bathroom.  That was the sign I needed to change locations and find a new room closer to the restaurants.  I managed to locate a much nicer room directly across the street from what I had labeled the best restaurants and it was a whole lot cheaper.  I guess this time I didn’t to have to compensate a taxi driver.  Four of us had met out-front and had agreed to share one of the larger rooms.  I claimed myself a bed and headed out to meet up with Tony.  I had planned to catch up on some writing and convinced Tony to join me on a trek over the ridge.  Tony was working on a screenplay and had settled down to enjoy the sun.  I played hooky on my original intentions, the water was so inviting I had to do some diving.  While I lay down in the sun to dry off I suddenly felt as if somebody was watching me.  I adjusted my eyes and turned to see a herd of goats that had wandered up to a nearby salt pool looking for water.  From the corner of my eye I noticed that Tony had fallen asleep on the adjacent hill, so like the child I’ve always been, I chased them.  I manage to control their movements so A plus B equals watch out for the goats.  Eventually we ran out the beer and decided that was the sign we needed to head back.  We ended up re-grouping with about a dozen or so that we had partied with the night before.

After about thirty minutes of soaking in the sun, one of the usual male mating rituals raised its ugly head in the form of a challenge of bravery.  I figured the young man who proposed the challenge had done that before and saw it as a good way to gain favor with the young ladies.  There was an overhang about fifty feet above water that was apparently above water deep enough to dive into.  So as those things usually go only a few declined.  Six of us trekked out to the cliff in view of all the sun worshipers.  One thing was certain.  It was a hell of a different perspective looking down from that height than looking up at it.  Well the guy that suggested that venture pulled off a perfect swan dive with almost no splash.  Tens across the board.  The second and then the third guys in the order we had climbed up had shuffled themselves back to regain some confidence lost while looking down.  So I inherited next in line and I wasn’t going to show any hesitation.  I pulled off a half cannon ball that I’m sure made one hell of a splash.  It turned out that the impact had slit my bathing suit up the backside.  The four others took turns declining until all four lost any bravery points they might have earned and crawled back down to their towels.  The original decliners then looked smarter than they originally did.  All in all that was a good day of sun and relaxation.

Brad and I had made plans with two young ladies involving a bottle of wine and a sunset.  We got cleaned up, searched out a good bottle and got to the place where we were to meet.  I experienced a bit of a line in obtaining a shower.  Two of the girls I was sharing a room with wouldn’t come out until they felt their hair was absolutely perfect.  I was slightly concerned that I was getting a late start.  The sunset came, the two of us downed the bottle of wine and still no sign of romance.  As we headed back to the restaurants and were deciding where to have that night’s meal, we came across the young ladies heading up to meet us.  They apologized for their tardiness.  They too wanted their hair to be perfect.  The four of us met up with the two girls from my room and some Canadians we had met earlier in the day.  On the way to the restaurant I picked up another couple bottles of wine, I figured passing it around between tables would open up even more conversations.  We had quite the party.  I enjoyed an environment where I never had to consider the expense.  Everything here was so reasonable, cheap.  Just think, only weeks ago I had been a dead man walking through southern Italy.  “For its hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind” is one lyric that keeps my perspective clear.

One after one, leaves from my tree, love, has it forsaken me

I’ve known the rustling of delight, like the wind, who comes and goes with the night
and I’ve been there, with these arms stretched wide,
watching one, then another, fall by my side

One after one, leaves from my tree, love, has it forsaken me

So many leaves, I lost, I knew, touch of rain, the weight of dew,
but all I lost, that leaves, that dies, now leaves me room, to see, the sky,
and now, for the first time, in love I know, the stars above and the earth below

Outside the walls of the party I left secretly to grab myself a smoke.  A young lady followed me and suggested we burn images of ourselves in the caves adjacent to the bay, at least let’s give it a look.  There were many caves carved out into the cliff that were used as alternative to hotel rooms.  The view of the bay from there was interesting and she kept trying to wrap me into her darkness.  I was pretty drunk and consider myself lucky to have made our way out of the caves safely and to locate my bed.  When I got up, hung over, about mid day, I was told the young lady from last night had been looking all over for me and perhaps she headed over to the red beach.  I understood the red beach to be a topless beach which sounded like a good enough place to start the day.  All my Corfu comrades were taking steps in separate directions.  I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye.

Once I arrived on the red beach there were a lot of guys lying on their bellies.  I thought that was quite funny and continued inviting them to swim or to play Frisbee.  There was one conversation that had come up about a guy a few years back that had swam around the peninsula.  Didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me.  I disagreed that it was an impossible task and suggested that I could easily do it.  That statement escalated the conversation into a bet.  I would be given no time frame and the only rule was to end up at the other cove by way of the sea.  The group would take their time and proceed over to the other cove, order a few rounds of beers and wait for me to swim up, if I ever did.  They would be watching.  Sounded like an opportunity to get some exercise, earn a few bucks and obtain bragging rights.  It was about a hundred or so yards out from the first bay but I had to swim further out to avoid the waves that were pounding the bluff.  As I turned and began to swim out of sight of my Naysayer I had no visual of the other bay.  I swam and swam and swam.  I could hear my heart beating and it appeared that it was a hell of a lot farther than I originally assumed.  Not only did I entertain the thought of cheating by swimming into shore and walking across a few of the bluffs, I actually attempted it.  What a bad idea cheating is.  I had to fight the surf in, in order not to get thrashed across the rocks.  When I finally did locate somewhere where I could make it ashore the rocks were sharp as broken glass.  Walking seemed to be the worst of two evils.  So it was back into the water and that time I had to fight the waves coming in.  It would have been so much easier just to stick to the original task.  I suppose I just needed all other options eliminated.  I swam and swam and eventually I could see around the last bluff.  To my surprise they were surprised that I had gotten there so quickly.  Apparently they had yet to finish the first round of beers.  From that point forward the beer were free and on occasion someone would tell my little adventure to the ladies paying dividends.

10/31 was the night of nights, Halloween.  Most people I met outside the United States who had never visited us gave me the impression that they believed that America was built on disposables.  Everything about our country was plastic, one big plastic McDonald’s.  But we did get one thing right, Halloween.  We played drinking games, singing games, drinking and singing games.  Everybody dressed up and since we had limited options body parts were usually exposed in one way or another.  Lots of hula and belly dancers and as far as I’m concerned that was a good thing.  Even without candy one of the more memorable Halloweens.  There were about ten of us who closed every bar in town.  One of the young ladies in our group got caught trying to remove a case a beer at the rear door of the last bar closing shop.  She was too drunk to realize she could never carry it down the steps.  It was about three or so in the morning.  The bartender who caught her was kind enough to let us buy a last round to take to the beach, and then he locked the door behind us.  When those bottles were empty we still hadn’t had enough so we proceeded to roam the caves in search of someone who might have some weed.  “Bob Marley, Bob Marley” we asked while making a smoking gesture with our fingers.  We succeeded in getting the point across but apparently nobody had any to share.  We did stumble across a few entangled in an embrace, but besides those types of discoveries we had come up empty handed and eventually wandered off to sleep off the alcohol.  Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness of my room I felt lucky my bed was still vacant.  The room had tripled in occupancy with couples and friends.

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    Usually behind a cup of coffee waiting for the world around me to wake up I entered today’s thoughts about yesterday’s activities into my travel journal. I’m not a writer, so I’ll apologize in advance if I jump around or seem confused. These are just the thoughts of a young man who left his possessions behind and who believes that getting lost is how one finds oneself.

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