IV. Corfu-eautiful (Corfu, Greece)

Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 4:35 PM


As some of you may know, if you have been keeping abreast with
interNational Knews, we survived the 23 hour passage overseas, michael
jackson died, and the EU has confirmed that Grecians can enter the US
without a Visa.

Now, how do we fit into all this political squabble?  Wearily. We
arrived in Igoumentas, Greece, before sunrise on Monday, greeted by
closed customs offices and a slew of signs and arrows in an alphabet
altogether Un-American and pagan. Fresh from the cozy womb of our
four-bunk fairy cabin, its lazy charm, the simple complexity of its
subzero chill, a steady (and yet, profoundly everchanging) window view
of the Ionian Sea curdled by Ambien-ic slumber, we mindlessly drug our
bags to the other port, a hundred meters north (and then back, out the
gate, and back again) realizing only faintly that our passports had
gone entirely unchecked and unrequested upon arrival. It’s all Greek
to me. And yet we stood on the shore in our togas, curious, confused,
and dangling grapes over each others’ mouths. The fairy to Corfu
(bless you) found us.

One hour later, we set foot on solid concrete, welcomed to Corfu
(bless you) by a large pink van, American-ly labeled THE PINK PALACE
(a gift from Amanda to Annie, the reservation a small offer in memory
of childhood, their friendship freshly reharvested in Grecian
waters/letters). It carried us across the island, all 20 miles or so
of “lush” countryside, cypress trees and dilapidated falafel huts
abounding, one and the same, all rubble and sweat. Rubble and sweat.

The Palace, all of its untold and unnumbered complexes, surely
required a year’s supply of India’s pepto bismal to paint its every
walls pink ( google image… Actually, maybe don’t). Although it at
first, as Starbucks pastries, the palace of annie’s childhood
rose-coloured dreams, we quickly found that o ur research was
shortsighted. The “palace” turned out to be run by a score of ex-pat
American fraternity heroes glorified in their post-grad refusal of
REALIFE, glorified in their alcohilism and premarital nude cliff
jumping, early onset skin cancer, 1 euro amstel on tap, abismal bloody
mary’s, and, we assume,  rampant STD’s. We stayed in our 20 euro room
(including taxes, breakfast and dinner and transportation from the
ferry for 2-how could we refuse?), ignored all eye contact with the
puddled festering hot tub dwellers, and read 9 books apiece.

No.  In actuality we did skip the
free-drinks-if-you-cliff-jump-naked-booze-cruise and the-pink toga
party, though we accepted our 8 am welcome shot of pink ouzo (local
liqueur) as a cultural welcoming gesture in the spirit of
anthropological good will, Annie’s thesis leading the way.

Which one of these does not fit?  Barney, Dymatap, and the PINK
PALACE. If you chose Barney, go back to bed.

At the Pink Palace, alcohol is king and socializing with strangers is
the courtly ball of wonders that ends with sunrise and sets with
checkout. We made our place by draining their tomato juice (amanda is
the first guest to be solely sustained on only bloody mary’s) and
Grecian cheetos ( a glorious mix of puff and straw, like a dehydrated
cheddar noodle, but addictive as if laced with ASPIRTAME, CARMEX, and
AFRIN). We sat on the beach, striving towards native bronzeness but
achieving only camoflauge with the Palace walls (we lost the
sunscreen, a coveted number 12 dark tanning oil). We showered. We made
Finnish friends who sang to us, interrupting a riveting match of
2-person spades, “would you like to hear some Finish folk music?” They
made guitars for a living. They taught us. We joined their band and
their business. We’re moving to Helsinki.

No, no. Instead, we dined for all-inclusive-free in the PALLADIIUM
PALACE, on gravy soup and mystery meat (read: white russians). We met
2 English teachers from las vegas. Annie danced with Lause, one of the
Fins, a poor man’s david thorpe in his Frank Sonatra/Jason Mraz fedora
and 2nd rate guitar skiLlz. Amanda photographed. We chuckled and

left for bed around 10, savoring the day, its sunshine and book
snuggling. And though we’d paced our beverages, keeping wit keen and
passports always near in our around-the-neck-safety pouches at the
Pink Pit, Annie was indescribably struck with the urge to vomit once
safetly settled in bed. Sparing details, thus continued the evening,
as we pondered the source of aforemented evil illness. Rufies? One
would imagine the intent would be to subdue, rather than induce
mood-killing upchuck. Pink Palace food poisining? So warned our hostel
review website. A strong possibility. Abnormal sleeping patterns,
musty accomodations, unvalidated credit cards (you know who you are,
mr. Mayor), annie’s immune system? All suspect.

And though the upheavel continued until all coffee and eggs at
breakfast came, too, for a second visit, annie recovered like a
glistening oscar, all golden radience by afternoon the next day.
We rented a 4 wheeler at daybreak (the sooner we could leave the pink
premise, the better), annie at the wheel, amanda clutching her, arms
wrapped in violent fear at every turn, gripping the hem of Annie’s
shorts for safety.  We followed the Greek letters, so clear and
familiar to us, to corfu town (spelled differently in both phonetical
latin and hyroglypic greek – bless you), parking where the road ended,
wandering until we found the way (or until annie needed to taste her
food again). We dined along blue coastal waters, bought a dress for
Fannie in honor of restored health, mailed treasures to a lucky few,
and went out of our way to track down the English bookstore
recommended by Lonely Planet (the other Rick Steves, which turned out
to be mostly german horror novels, corfuian guide books, and steven
king). Still we revelled in the splendor of American words, their
small magic feet, their slender curves, the undeniable charm of lower
case… sorry. Annie expected amanda, her only immediate connection to
a historical women’s GREEK club, to know the language better than she
did–too bad, but everyone should speak English anyway, right? Or at
least sell good English Books. Too bad. Neigh neigh, pretty pony,
neigh neigh.  Too bad.

We gathered falafel and fruit from a 100 year old Greek-food kiosk,
promoting tradition and prohibiting further Pink poison with dinner,
carrying our new treasures out of town and towards the exotic beach
town of PELEKAS (phonetic spelling different on every sign). It took 5
tries to get out of town on the right road, an extra hour of travel,
our pride (amanda lost the map at lunch, an oversight without
precedent). We buzzed along, amanda screeching the destination at all
passerby’s, trying to look lost or stressed, though she felt
confidently neither. Old men would smile and point, their wives waving
(which confused annie immensely, her directional virtue delapidated at
every turn). We were free. Free to be passed by young boys on
bicycles, free to make unprecedented ten-point turns, free to take
pictures of the scenery while driving, free to arrive at a nude beach,
free to leave, free to leave almost immediately, free to refill the
tank for 3 euros, but forced to return to the Pink Prison by 6.

Too bad.

We had checked out by 9 am, so recovery from the day’s adventures
included a ‘shower’ in the beachside spicket, a few bloody mary’s, 2
hours of internet time for bleary eyed annie, and to finish our books
(the staff likes us, but they do not understand us).

We laughed and cried, we hugged each other, we begged not to go, annie
friended me on facebook, asking for my home address (I explained that
we are neighbors), and the tears of joy ran like forest gump as we
boarded the pink bus for Athens at 10, hand in hand, amanda on annie’s
lap (though surrounded by empty seats) with fresh cheetos, fresh
books, and a fresh appreciation for the world beyond the pink walls.

Here we are, friends, bound for Athenia, the city of Fro-Yo,
hieroglypics, wicker furniture, anime and toga parties. We have
purchased Jesus sandles and wine to fit in. We have learned Greek. We
have climbed Mt. Vesuvius again. We have launched ships with our
faces. We have made up stories about our friends and called them
‘myths’. We are, as always, perfection.

We miss you too. And yes, we love you too.

FUAGNEM and the HEART , aka Yoghurt and Honey, aka Pinky and the
Brain, aka Savory and Sweet, aka Souvlaki and Felafel.

Annimanda, always.


~ by soleilsphere on January 7, 2010.

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