Beauty and the Greek

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Sometimes the greatest love can start out as something closer to revulsion – just ask my ex-girlfriend. It was like that with Paros, with my first impressions being only slightly more positive than the rambling poetry of a suicidal teenager. When I first stepped foot on this quiet Greek island, I wanted to step right back off, but just four days later I found it very difficult to leave.

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Paros has a unique charm that is a lot harder to discover than the immediate natural beauty of Naxos, or Santorini’s positive party vibes, but it’s definitely an island worth checking out. It’s the perfect place to visit for a relaxing few days (or more) of doing sweet fuck-all… and that’s pretty much all I did. Swim in the pool, drink a beer, swan about on the beach in my undies while the big-titted Euro lovelies gasp in admiration, drink another beer – it’s been a simple life, but a good one.

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While I still haven’t gotten used to shitting standing up like a dog (I keep expecting a Chinaman to come along and try to eat me), the simplicity of my accommodation and the relaxed nature of Paros has been the perfect antidote to the fatigue that inevitably comes towards the end of a long trip. The people are lovely and the scenery is grouse.

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I thought that my end of the island was basically devoid of life apart from me and Alex, the happy-go-lucky minibus driver from my campgrounds, who can’t speak a lick of English but knows every single word to the Bee Gees songs he plays on high rotation while cruising around, but come the weekend Surfing Beach cranks up and becomes quite the hip and happening place. Alright, it’s still as laid back and lazy as an Arts student, but at least there are actual people wandering around.

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I befriended a Canadian couple who share my passion of doing absolutely fuck all except for lying around and smashing beers, and we did just that. I’d like to say we rampaged through Naousa (or Naoussa, or Nobgobbler), but we didn’t. We just drank beer and ate gyros and almost puked when served some local alcohol that tasted like metho and my doodle feel funny when I urinated. When Dimitri walked by and saw me with someone else, I saw him wipe a tear from his eye and slink off in the opposite direction, spilling shards of his shattered heart behind him like rose petals.

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So now here I am, cruising through the Mediterranean with the fading embers of a hangover singing my brain, and an empty feeling from where Paros took a part of me. I have a night to spend in Athens, and then it’s goodbye to Europe forever as the adventure continues in Sri Lanka, an exotic land I was told I must visit by a strange man known only as Santorini Sal. It’s an unexpected detour in a journey that was supposed to already be over, but I look forward to it with a mixture of optimism and and excitement. I’ve been in Europe for well over two months and have loved (almost) ever second of it, but it’s time for the adventure to continue elsewhere…

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