Wednesday, July 04, 2007
[The Life of Shaun #135] An Old Country and a New One
If I were to write without thinking about my time in Greece, I would say "Athens was hot and expensive and then we went to Mykonos" and expand on how truly awesome Mykonos is. Athens was hot (up to 46˚C [115˚F] many days I was there) and is expensive (and when someone from London complains about expensive, that's serious; but c'mon, EURO 8 for a bottle of beer? That's just taking the piss.) But once I filter through the memory of the all-encompassing, oppressive heat, I realise I really did have a great time there.
Athens is definitely an agreeable city. It's ancient, and the streets are appropriately small, crumbling and charming. There's a ruin of a temple or market or something around every corner, and unless you're deliberately standing in a building's shadow, there's almost always a gorgeous view of the Acropolis above. Athenians adhere to the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, which is hard for an ex-New Yorker, but once you've relaxed into it you feel just that. Our days were spent sipping drinks at cafés before the heat really sunk in, heading home for a nap, dinner at 22:00 or later, then, on several nights, going out on the town.
Really very agreeable. If you can get past the %&£$@!* heat.
But Mykonos, now there's a fantastic place. If you've never seen/heard about it, Mykonos is a small island a couple hours by ferry from Athens, and all its buildings are white with blue doors and windowpanes. It's small enough to walk everywhere (as long as you've coughed up the money to stay in town) and is quite the international gay destination. My nights out there were a blast.
The reason for going to the island was my sister's wedding (How lucky am I to have a sister who gets married in a gay vacation destination?) and it was also a mini-family reunion as well. The wedding was gorgeous; the ceremony at a tiny Greek church overlooking the sea, and the reception on one of the beaches below. Great food, dancing, happy drunk people chatting and mingling, topped off with a great night out.
But that can't last forever and now I've returned to reality and London. I started my business research project for my degree yesterday and am already wondering how I am gonna get it all done. I did come home to a new country, however. While I was away Tony Blair stepped down as Prime Minister to be replaced by Gordon Brown (Any better? I don't know, but at least it's movement over stagnation.), smoking in enclosed public spaces was banned, bringing England in line with the rest of the UK and a little closer to the 21st century, and there's a new, fresh post-terrorist tension in the air.
Still happy to call this little island home, but I am missing my friends and family already. Hopefully we'll all get together like this again soon. Till then, Life-of-Shaun updates will keep you abreast.
DSC00055: Proof that I made it to the top!
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