Sifnos week 6. This is my third post while on Sifnos and I’m still getting to know the island and the Greek people. I had planned to post more and share more than I have so far. There’s so much inspiration wherever I turn. The food. The hiking. The architecture. And of course the people. Generous. Gregarious, Greek! I should be writing more. This trip was partly about reawakening my creative-self.
Not that I’m chiding myself.
So I’ll backtrack. How is Sifnos week 6 different than Sifnos week 1? Well, the weather has changed quite a bit. Week 1 was sunny, but cool and windy. The weather quickly turned fair. The kind of fair they invented the word for. Bright blue skies, light ocean breezes, and smiles everywhere you turn. We’re now getting a peek at the kind of summer weather that makes these islands famous. As expected the sun sits higher in the sky and its rays are more intense. The smell of SPF-50 is in the air and people are tipping their toes in the sea. The breeze is thankfully still cool. So are the nights. But I predict we’ll soon see the blue jeans at dinner replaced with shorts and sandals all night long.
But that’s the kind of news a tourist would share. I’m trying to do more than tour.
Which makes me wonder how I’m different after spending 6 weeks on a Greek island (with almost 6 weeks to go).
The obvious answer is that by Sifnos week 6 I’ve adjusted to a simpler way of life. For example. There’s no internet at the house where we’re staying. Endless ocean views but no email!
There’s also just one radio station. Everyone is listening the to same music. It’s odd how well one small radio station can deftly determine my emotional needs. There seems to be an arc to the programming. It starts with a mellow morning tone. Just the right balance of classical music and Greek standards to accompany the sunrise. There’s a sprinkling of good 80’s music throughout the day. Not just the pop stuff you expect, but great songs from bands like Simply Red and Sparks. Late night grooves into an electronic-chill vibe perfect for stargazing. Mid-mornings are my favorite time of day when they play re-mixes and foreign language cover versions of songs you forgot you loved. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Tom Jones drop the f‑bomb in “I Will Survive”. The music here makes me strangely happy.
There are other ways I’ve adopted to the simplicity. I’ve been taking naps. Most of the businesses here close shop for the afternoon siesta. You can’t go to the grocery store or put gas in you car at 3:00 pm. So you may as well head to the beach or go home for a beer and a nap.
I’ve also gotten better at talking to strangers. Which is odd for two reasons. The first is that small talk is something I’ve never enjoyed. In fact I actively avoid it. The second is of course, I don’t speak Greek. Yet I exchange pleasantries with a growing group of people I meet on my daily doings. There’s even a bar owner in town who blows purely platonic kisses to me while screaming “Yassas Gregorios” as he whizzes past me on his moped.
These are simple pleasures that I just can’t find in Los Angeles.
However, be it nap time or chats with strangers in the square, there’s more to these things than merely the pleasure of simplicity. Traditions run deep here and you can see how these traditions are woven into the way people live their daily lives. Take ouzo. It’s as Greek as Zeus himself but most islanders have a protocol on what to drink when. We found this out while sitting on the terrace of the Sifnos Hotel considering what to have for lunch. I asked Ken if he wanted beer or ouzo. The owner of the place happened to be in earshot and scurried over to our table and suggested strongly that we drink wine instead. Evidently it wasn’t warm enough outside for beer and too early for ouzo. Ouzo is reserved for late-afternoon or early evening drinks with a snack and good conversation.
Just like the music on the island’s only radio station the booze accurately follows the natural flow of things.
That’s all from Sifnos week 6. My creative-self and I are due for a traditional nap. GREG