After the chaos of Santorini, with bikes and dickheads and Chinese tourists flying everywhere, Paros has proven to be the quiet, relaxing getaway I was craving. Alright, so I spent most of my time in Santorini lying by the pool or bludging around in the sun in my undies, but I still needed to spend a little bit of time relaxing. Travelling’s a stressful exercise, y’know.
I bypassed the port town of Parikia (or Paroikia, or Parakeet) because it’s a bit lifeless and ugly, and have instead based myself by the beach, a little outside of the quaint fishing village of Naousa (or Naoussa, or Noodle). While I’m not in the most luxurious of accommodations, I’m near the water and have a pool to lie next to (and some sheilas who like to lie around with their tops off – ooh, ahh, Glenn McGrath!).
There’s not a whole lot to do on Paros, but that’s kind of the point of it. Unlike Santorini, the beaches are really nice, easy to get to, and largely deserted. They have actual sand on them rather than rocks and garbage, and the water is clear and warm. It’s easy to spend day after day doing absolutely nothing other than lying back on the beach, watching the world (very) slowly roll by.
It actually feels a lot like Australia, largely because there are gum trees everywhere. They’re the only actual trees on the island, and the rest of the scrub is almost identical to the stuff we have back home, so it’s all quite familiar and pleasant. Of course, there are no kangaroos jumping around and fucking things up for everyone, or a Centrelink for people to punch on in front of, but it still make for comfortable surroundings.
The town of Naousa is a delight, with hundreds of tiny white huts crammed together along the coast, providing a fairy tale walk through twisting alleyways and past candlelit restaurants. The harbour is beautiful, although it’s been so windy that hanging out there feels as safe as getting between Casey Donovan and a Big Mac, with giant waves and the ever-present danger of ships breaking free of their moorings and crushing me (sounds like Casey Donovan’s sex life, actually).
I was strutting through Naousa last night, feeling good, a beer in one hand and a gyros in the other, when I heard a scream and found myself on the ground. That sort of thing has happened before (usually after some duffer discovers I’ve been poking his missus), but it wasn’t an angry boyfriend this time – it was a fat kid on a bike! The village is crawling with fat kids on bikes, and one of them plowed into me, sending my gyros spilling onto the ground, the chicken and chips once ensconced within the Pita bread now lying in the dirt. I was heartbroken.
I felt strong arms lifting me up, and my heart started thudding. I was about to get jumped by a gang of bike-riding goons – or so I thought. I looked into the smiling face of a middle-aged Greek bloke, who started jabbering at me in some weird language that made him sound like he’d been drinking metho all night and had lost control of his mouth. He seemed genuinely concerned for me and my lost gyros, though, which seemed a little odd seeing as the fat kid was still lying on the ground, tangled in his bike and an extra bend in his left arm.
The Greek bloke pointed to himself and said, “Dimitri”, so pointed to myself and said, “Captain Cool”, and then he started leading me up a dark alley (that’s not a euphemish for sex, by the way). We finally arrived at a traditional gyros shop, and Dimitri popped inside and came back with two of the biggest gyros you’ve ever seen – meat and veggies and chippies were falling out of them all over the place. He popped them on a table overlooking the seas, went back into the shop, and came back with two big bottles of beer. He gestured towards a seat, and then took one himself.
Even if we’d been able to speak the same language, we couldn’t have talked because our mouths were too busy tearing into the massive meals. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten (that chick from Home & Away who I was seeing for a while excepted), but I felt a little uncomfortable because Dimitri kept looking at me the whole time. His face was covered with tzatziki sauce, but he kept staring. I was halfway through my meal when I felt something brush my leg, and looked down, praying it was a cat. But it wasn’t. It was Dimitri.
The leg stroking intensified, and when I looked up, he was licking the sauce off his face in a very seductive way. I was faced with a dilemma; stay and finish one of the best meals I’ve ever had, while being molested by an elderly perve, or escape and leave my delicious food behind. I’m not proud to say it, but I sat where I was and let Dimitri use my body as a playground while I concentrated on scoffing down the meat (in the gyros – not Dimitri’s penis). When I was finally finished, I walked off into the night, while Dimitri sat back with a cigarette in his mouth and a contented look on his face.