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Stephanos Papadopoulos' Trip to Turkey

Stephanos PapadopoulosWe just got back to Vatousa after a couple days in Molyvos. It is hot! But not unbearable, unless you are out in the sun of course, and then you will probably be dead in a couple hours. Molyvos was hot too but not bad at night and the sea was cold in the day. We were fine in the shade too but once you venture out reality sets in. We went to Melinda's for dinner. I was starving. She was packed and we had to wait till 9:30 for a table. Its funny because the tourists eat so early that by the time the Greeks go out the restaurants are empty. Perfect. While we were hanging around I got a text message on my cell phone from Stephen Papadopoulos the famous Greek-American poet. He is working on a book of poems from the Black Sea where the Greeks of Asia Minor were exiled from and had gone there on his motorcycle to see what the area was like. He text-messaged me from the ferry to Mytilini from Avalik and was surprised that we were still on the island. He had driven over 14 hours and 800 kilometers that day but I was still able to convince him to ride another hour and a half (at night) to Molyvos and have dinner with us and delay his trip back to Athens for 24 hours. He told us all about his trip which covered central Turkey and then the southern coast of the Black Sea, some of the most beautiful coastline he had ever seen. He had not seen a tourist or even anyone who spoke English in a couple weeks and when he would ride into town in his black leather and Honda 600 everyone would gather round and stare in amazement asking about his bike, how much it cost and where he was from. He loved Turkey but found it oppressive compared to the freedom of Greece. But the people were very friendly and there were pockets of Greek speaking people in many places.

Melinda kept bringing out food including these amazing sardeles-pandremenos (married sardines) which were stuffed with tomato, onions and cheese and were just amazing. (You can't order them before 11pm because they don't have time to make them when they are busy). We didn't get home until 3am. Stergios and Dimitri at the Hotel Seahorse gave us our rooms for free. Great hotel overlooking the port with its own generator so our air-conditioning was not affcted by the blackouts caused by the Greek Electic Company (DEH) who want to build a new efficient plant to house all the new equipment they have. The problem is that no town wants it.

That reminds me of a joke.
What does DEH stand for?
Den Echo Electriki (I don't have electricity)

What does OTE (Greek National Telephone Co) stand for?
Oute Telefono Echo (Nor Phone I have)

Its funnier in Greek.

Eftalou, LesvosThe next day Cindy from Hyphenology and her boyfriend Ron joined us and we drove to nearby Eftalou. There are hot springs there and the hot water pours from the ancient building into the sea and you can take rocks and make a pool that fills with a combination of seawater that makes it bearable. Its too hot otherwise. Amarandi sat in it and got welts. We snorked and saw more fish than usual. Large schools of small atherinia and big sargos that swam right up to us. The area was so rich in sealife that I wondered if the springs were the reason. We had a nice lunch at the Eftalou Taverna and then we all went our seperate ways. Cindy had to go to Mytilini for a funeral of a friend who got killed in a car accident on Friday. Mytilini I have been told has the worst drivers in Greece and the distances between the towns combined with the narrow winding roads and the fact that half the people driving have had at least one glass of ouzo that day make it a particularly dangerous island in a country that is known for bad drivers and roads. The other day after the first of the several near accidents which we have every day I told Amarandi that it was sad that we have the Vitara and it is like one of the family but inevitably one of these days a near-collision will be a real collision and that will be the end of our car. But hopefully it is big and safe enough to keep us alive.

Velvet UndergroundStephen drove back to Mytilini to try to get to the Terriade and Theofilos Museums before they closed and catch the 10pm highspeed ferry back to Athens. (Stephen's father is the well known artist from Paris known as Nonda.

Before our trip to Molyvos we stopped in Xidera to bring some building material to the house we are restoring there. I stopped at the Methymnaos Winery to finish the wine tour that was interrupted last week when my brother's kids were too antsy to continue. As Yiannis the owner began his speech where he left off I spotted a copy of the Velvet Underground's first album on his desk. "If you told me 10 years ago that I would be standing in Xidera with a guy who owns a winery and listens to the Velvet Underground I would not have believed it" I told him.

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