Bari Express

Bari Express

We are on our way to Rafina on a ferry that used to sail the Adriatic between Patras and Italy, thus the name BARI EXPRESS. Bari also happens to be the ancestral home of Paul Price, who came to visit me from North Carolina several years ago with almost no money, and a guitar that had been broken on the flight over. After spiritually exhausting him on several islands, we put him on a bus with his broken guitar and even less money, and he ended up back in Bari. This is where he stayed until his family sent him the fare for a plane ticket home because they were worried about a scandal developing between him and his beautiful first cousin. It's a shame he's not here now, but if he was I would be spending a lot more time drinking and talking than writing.

A little old man is walking around with bags of pistachios which he leaves on every table in the 3rd class lounge. His obvious strategy is that if he leaves them long enough we won't be able to resist and open the bag and he will have made a sale. They look pretty good but my taste buds are focused on the kalamaraki and galeos which the port of Rafina is famous for.

It was a pleasant final evening in Batsi. We had an early dinner and discovered that Stamatis restaurant had extremely good home made tsipuro and ouzo. We ate light and Andrea went back to the room while Amarandi and I hung out in the platia and watched the kids. They all wanted to hold her. They were fighting over her and she kept running to me. Finally, we went to one of the cafes and watched the end of the Greece-Germany basketball game which Greece won in a flurry of points in the final seconds. By then Amarandi was getting cranky, hysterical really, and we went back to the room where Andrea was already sound asleep. I put Amarandi to bed and I went to sleep in the garden. I woke up a couple of hours later to a ferocious windstorm. I tried to weather it as long as possible but eventually had to go sleep in the room with the girls.

I woke up feeling great with the wonderful sense of purpose I get when I know I have to be somewhere. It was a cool windy day, perfect for traveling. We said goodbye to Vasiliki, our landlady who said she was going to miss us. In the platia we ran into Simon, the punk-rock promoter, and his family on their way to the superior beaches of Gavrion and we hung out with them until our boat sailed into the harbor. Andrea and Amarandi disappeared and didn't return until the last possible moment causing me enough anxiety to make a silent proclamation that next time I would just get on the boat and let them worry about catching up to me at the next port.

So, my final thoughts on Andros...It took me 25 years to visit the island. For some reason it always intrigued me. I felt like I was missing out on something by not going there. Unfortunately, I was not adventurous enough to go off by myself to Andros while all my friends were going to Mykonos, Ios and Santorini where drugs and girls were guaranteed. Andros seemed a little bit square, like somewhere my father would want me to go to find "the real Greece." It's still pretty square. The bars are for old people, completely unappealing musically, with prices that no hashish smoking adolescent could afford. I guess I came at the right time.

It seems to me that the best place to stay, besides the village of Andros, would be the dusty un-charming port of Gavrion. It has great beaches, good restaurants, a working class vibe, and the coming and going of the ferries for entertainment. It's also got the cheapest hookers in the Cyclades.

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