Greece, land of the gods, is the word
October 25, 2012 | 11:00 am
(Updated: January 17, 2013 | 2:16 pm)
For one of my big birthdays ending in zero, Mr. Waste treated me to an international trip, the home of Zeus, Aphrodite and Dionysus – Greece.
Now Greece was not at the top of my list. I only have a few more continents to check off before I have visited all seven and was inclined to go to South America. But Mr. Waste wanted a vacation described with three words: beach, gay and naked. Mykonos it was.
Mykonos is famous for the gay, just as Lesbos is for the lesbian. This island resort is the Provincetown of Europe. And just like P-Town, it’s fun if you are traveling with a group or are single. For couples, not so much. Everyone sticks to cliques or is on the make. The gay is always greener on the other side of the fence.
If you have never been, let me paint you a picture. Brush your canvas with the terrain of New Mexico, complete with adobe houses, except in white with blue shutters. Dab some vivid aquamarine ocean all around the edges. And blast the whole thing in Wyoming wind – lots and lots of wind. It’s no wonder the Greeks had 12 different wind gods. Laying on the beach in Mykonos was like getting tan in a tornado. Every day on the way to the beach, I expected our Vespa rental scooters to take flight like Hermes, messenger to the gods.
Getting adjusted to a gay European schedule took some getting used to. No one eats dinner before 10 p.m. After some late night dining, you stroll over to Portas, the early meet and greet bar from midnight until 2 a.m. Then it’s off to Jackie O’s for dancing until dawn. As the sun is rising, you crawl into bed until noon, then it’s off to the beach for breakfast and a lunch around 4 p.m. What is it about the gay lifestyle that keeps us on the same schedule as a vampire? It must be all the sucking.
Just a short 30-minute ferry ride away from Mykonos is the island of Delos. Delos was the center of all the hot Greek action from 3,000 B.C. on. When you’re rumored to be the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis, that is bound to happen. Throw in some worship of Dionysus, the god of fertility and wine, and you have the makings of party city. I am sure there were quite a few “Greeks Gone Wild” videos playing out in the day. It would just take a few thousand more years to record them to video. Mr. Waste and I came across two enormous marble penis statues that had been erected in front of the temple of Dionysus. And I do mean erected. Over the years, the giant dicks had been snapped and carted off, leaving behind only a pair of monstrous balls on a pedestal. It was just nuts.
After a week of gay, beach and nude, we took a short flight to Athens to take in the more touristy attractions like the Parthenon atop the Acropolis. At every turn in Athens, there is some kind of ancient ruin. Every time a Greek sticks a shovel in the ground, out pops a Doric column or a statue of Athena. Personally, I’d be hoping for a statue of Pan, the horny half goat, half man that would screw anything on two legs. Now that’s a god I can worship.
One of my favorite things about traveling to other countries is getting to taste different cuisines. I’ve had kudu and ostrich in South Africa, kangaroo in Australia and wild boar in Italy. In Greece, it was gyros, moussaka and baklava.
Mr. Waste and I discovered we don’t like Greek food. Most was overcooked and mushy. When you are spending 10 days in Greece, that can be a gastronomic nightmare. Normally I would just fire up Europe’s version of Yelp, Qype, and plug in the kind of food I am looking for. Nada. Zero. Zilch. The Greeks like their food and no one else’s. It was impossible to find Thai, Chinese, or even Italian. You would think with Italy being just a stone’s skip across the Ionia Sea, a pasta dish or two would sail across. Not even a meatball. My sweet tooth was happy that gelato had somehow made the voyage. Gelato truly is the food of the gods. Ambrosia can take a hike.