Paros is just another beautiful island of the Cyclades where I have come across many more amazing experiences. There are many big hollywood stars that live here in Paros, Tom Hanks, and Madona, who just bought a small island just of the coast. Just like all of the others islands I have been to, this is a dream land for even the wealthy.
Hanna Vasco and I having a sunset picnic on the beach.
It has been especially good because I was able to stay with CS hosts Hanna and Vasco, a young couple, 26 and 22, German and Swiss, living here in an apartment. During my two days with them we were able to connect really well because Vasco was a musician and we would play music together. Every meal we cooked together, mostly salads and bread because they were both vegiterian. They had a garden her in Paros, and they were very eco-conscious in everything they did.
We had coffee one morning at a cafe and I learned that Vasco was the best in the tennis league here on the island, and because of that, he and Hanna were really connected with everyone. During the day I would hitchhike my way around. It was suprising that the only rides I was able to get, which were quite a few, were from foreigners on very small, half broken scooters. As I hung onto the back it was always a mind came to let go of the need for control. My safety was in the hand of a foreign stranger, and I just had to accpet that and enjoy the ride. I'd say it is both a dangerous and healthy excercise.
This is me being mobile.
After couchsurfing I made my way to the opposite end of the island to Noussa Camping, where I had to pay 9 euro for a small 'cabin,' which was just a glorified tent with a light and power outlet. I wouldn't call it the best experience, the place or the people, but I decided to rent a scooter so I could be mobile and get out of the campgrouds more easily.
One day I headed to a small traditional village called Kostos, to hopefully run into a guy named Pantelis who was a self sustaining farmer with a history on the island. Hanna and Vasco told me about him. I found his house with a visitors welcome sight out front, but he wasn't home. His number was left on the door, so i called him and he told me to come back later in the day. So i hung out in the town center tavern with a bunch of old Greek men I couldn't communicate a word with, and returned to meet Pantelis.
He eventually showed up and we hung out for a few hours. He pulled off figs from his tree for me to eat, and also gave me some homemade lemonade. He told me all about his families history on the island and how his traditional style of farming does not work well in modern society. With all of the new supermarkets around the island he makes little money from his farm, but rather just uses it to sustain himself. He also is a blacksmith and winemaker. He showed me his work space and wine celler, and even let me taste many of them. He played some traditional Greek music for me and overall I was amazed at his traditional style of living on the remote hilltop. His house was the same hous his grandfather and great grandfather lived in, and he lived the same routine they had for the last hundred years.
Pantelis' traditional style bedroom
When Hanna and Vasco told me about him, they explained how he pays epople not with money usually, but with his home made goods. Food, metalwork, wine - all of these were his form of exchange. Paper money has less value for him and without using much of it his life is more simple. Speaking of money, today my visa card got eaten by the ATM machine. I am clean dry out of cash making the next few days very difficult. It's Saturday, and the bank is closed today and tomorrow. I have no idea what I'm gonna do. My spare card has not been activated so it is useless. Tomorrow I was going to catch a ferry back to Athens but now I have no money to buy a ticket, let alone eat. In this moment, I can't help but wish my life was as simple as Pantelis.
My traveling is dependent on interent that is either hard to find, or a total rip off, but without it, I'm stuck where Im at. Pantelis said he has never travelled outside of Greece, and hardly outside of his island. He is stuck at home with his hens and his farm that must be tended to constantly. So while his life is simple it is also confined, and mine is complicated but mobile. I dunno which is better, or is there a balance that lies perfectly between the two?
(This was a journal entry from the 9th, and I have worked out all of the complications and I should be on a ferry in a few hours on my way back to Athens .... so mom, you don't have to worry about me! Love you all, and maybe while couchsurfing on the mainland it won't be so difficult to blog more often like it is here on the islands.)