Apologies for the lack of posts for the last two weeks, I have been traveling Europe with some old friends. So far I've been to Paris, Prague and Vienna, which I will get to in a later blog, but, to give you a bit of a cliffhanger, they consisted mostly of Cathedrals and explosive diarrhea, which I found myself miming to a French pharmacist by putting my hands near my butt and shooting my fingers out to indicate an irregular shotgun-spray pattern, while making "pppfffbbbllllt" sounds.
"Oh," she said, in perfect English. "You have diarrhea."
I am not allowed back into France.
But now, I am on the majestic Greek island of Corfu, or Keykyra, which is Greek for "Corfu." Me and my buddy Cory, after a high-speed trip through western and central Europe, which was just one long blur of trying to find "Einbahnstrasse" on the map (In German, that means "One Way Street") and giggling whenever someone said "wienerschnitzel," we decided we needed a week of beachside relaxation, and saw that Corfu was quite cheap.
It also, incidentally, is the most beautiful place on the planet. It is a rocky island that seems to consist entirely of cliffs and olive trees, and the locals live in old dilapidated homes that, nonetheless, I would prefer to live in over any city penthouse on the planet, as they are ALL next to cafes (which are closed to tourists), and they all look over the edge of a cliff and into the Mediterranean.
We booked our stay at "The Pink Palace," which is a big pink hotel that sits a quarter mile up a cliff from the water. We're paying about $30 (including breakfast and dinner), with this view from our balcony:
The only hitch is that we are surrounded by despicable American frat boys and shrill, drunken sorority girls who are all trying way too hard to get laid. I am used to this caliber of person, as I went to school at Penn State, but I had rather hoped I had left it behind.
The hostel itself is brilliant. It caters specifically to spring breaking bros and brobettes, so whenever you get back from a tour or a day at the beach, FREE SHOT OF OUZO! The tours are also led by charming British party guys, who, after a day of butt-numbing ATVing, lead you to a watchtower atop a mountain, looking out over a view of mainland Greece, Corfu, the Mediterranean, and Albania (which, according to a girl I overheard, was until last year, "closed to tourists," and as such is "supposed to be pretty pristine," which is wrong on both counts, because Albania has been "open to tourists" for fucking ever, and is, rather than pristine, "peppered with Serbian shrapnel."). At the top of this watchtower, with nature's splendor at your feet, he conducts a "getting to know you" game, which consists of the following question:
- Favorite Color?
- Favorite Sex Position?
Which of course led to giggles and actual answers from the crowd, such as "Over the pants handjob," and "Missionary, but the kind of missionary where my legs are on his shoulders."
Then the tour guide led the 50 of us, riding quads through dangerous hilly terrain - to a fucking bar where we encouraged to do shots of Ouzo. And this was not the end of the trip. There were cliffs aplenty remaining, and a stream of belligerent bros to nearly ride over them, or, more fun for them, to nearly force me over them.
This made the day a bizarre mixture of white-hot, genocidal rage, and occasional moments of such breath-taking beauty that I very much wanted to hop off my ATV, fall to my knees, burst into tears, then quit school in London, move to Greece, change my name to Spiros, and spend the rest of my life sucking on olives and speaking only in hand gestures.
It was, overall, a good day. I had a bit of a hangover from the night before, when I had actually attempted to take part in the bacchanal, but then cut my head open when I botched the kick-turn while swimming laps in a hot tub and singing "Baby What I Wouldn't Do (With Plenty of Money and You)" to no one in particular while squelchy, ball-slappy sounds came from some nearby bushes.
I refused to believe my head was bleeding when Cory said, "Holy shit, your head is bleeding," and then proceeded to enjoy myself by splashing around and intermittently bleeding into the hot tub.
The next day was an awful hangover, but Cory peeled me out of bed and threw me onto an ATV, which I have to say, was the nicest thing anyone's has done that I have, at the time, completely hated them for, because Corfu is incredible, if you develop a mechanism to block out the type of guy who would wear this t-shirt every day for 4 days straight:
Travel, it seems, is often punctuated by encounters with people that I don't have to deal with when I'm holed up in my room, and often, this is what ruins a place for me. I, like most cynics, am a wounded romantic, so I find myself consistently let down by the places I go to, which could never possibly live up to the image I've created of it in my head (all of Europe, by the way, is a potential place for me to meet and fall in love with Julie Delpy on a train like in Before Sunrise, though if Julie Delpy sat next to me on a train, I would awkwardly stare at her until she got creeped out and went over to sit next to Ethan Hawke).
But, sometimes, a place is just fine. My name is Spiros now, by the way.