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Greece 19: Aeolus Aborted

Who wouldn't want to make the trek around the bay to the windy isthmus connecting the Isle of Tinos with it's tiny friend Planitus? We progressed past Tavernas along the quay, then found a stretch of beach, and crossed a small stream via an arched wooden bridge. At the bridge we unleashed a raft of geese that came honking their way downstream expecting to be fed. We had a few crumbs for them. At the far side of the beach the path rose twenty feet and became a road of sorts, a neat bottom stitching to the rock pile of mountainside above. We walked a quarter of a mile or so along the oven-face of the rocks, made comfortable only by the cooling wind.

We were en route to the carved stone face of Aeolus, the god of wind-- carved here because this particular isthmus was said to be his native home. The legend is that in this place the wind never ceases to blow. Having been there, I have no doubt in this whatsoever.

And then hurrying up behind us, we were greeted by the "Greek Who Sometimes Shouts" as I called him, and who in retrospect may have had Tourettes Syndrome. It was impossible for us to know if he were cursing uncontrollably in Greek, or he was just a guy who angered easily and had to let off steam. He was mild-mannered most of the time, so that made his outbursts even more unnerving.

The Greek Who Sometimes Shouts' English was only slightly better than our (dozen words of) Greek, so we were dismayed when he did not just push on by, but instead, fell into our pace, and tried to chat. After some one-word exchanges, and pantomime, as near as I can tell, he wanted to know if I were a priest on my way to visit the small chapel which lay on the path to the isthmus. My beard seemed to mark me as a less-orthodox Eastern Orthodox priest while I was there. People seemed confused as though there must be some story behind it. Was I an undercover church agent, or member of a fringe sect? Perhaps it would have been more Greek PC of me to have shaved it?

The Greek Who Sometimes Shouts was making his daily maintenance visit to the chapel and was now insisting that he give us a tour. In a code of exchanged glances and hand squeezes we decided it would be less rude to claim fatigue and return to our room immediately than to refuse to visit the chapel while walking right past it. The frustration of not understanding him, the possibility that he might get angry in a confined, remote place, the "bail out" signals from my wife, AND my own recent unhappy occurrences seemed enough evidence to convince me that a healthy paranoia is not always a bad thing in a foreign land.

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Cydonia photo: ESA

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