Archive for August, 2009

Pictures and Three Days

For pictures of my trip thus far, visit this album!

8-29

We went to camp, had dinner and dispersed to meet back at Bossa later for Gugs and Nicky’s last night. There is (what I believe is) a magnolia tree by our table! Is that possible? And there’s a random poster that says ‘chicken n dumplins,’ we talked about Elvis, and went to Tequila (another bar with GLOWING ROCKS) where they played Eric Clapton’s Lay Down Sally (yes I know he’s English but that song reminds me of home!). There were so many references to the South! And it didn’t make me homesick like it usually does. Woot.

8-30

I had K1 with Nora then I chilled in Chania until Gugs came in, much the same way I waited for Ana. I finally went inside the cathedral I pass on the way to kiosk. For such a large building it has such a small chapel area. It’s filled with chandeliers, medievel looking depictions of saints, Greek scriptures and a holiness that demands utter silence. I walked inside and thought I must be the only person there until I saw four others sitting down. I meandered through the tall but shallow room looking at portaits of men slaying dragons as I made sure my flip flops didn’t squeak. Put politely, the decorating was ‘ornate.’ Put plainly it’s gaudy. I sat and contemplated the universe for a bit, lit a candle in memory of those departed and went back to the hot, bright hubub of Chania. I ate my lunch in the park which was kinda nice. I realized I haven’t seen any flowers here that haven’t been planted and maintained by someone. Nevertheless, these daylilly/daffodil looking things are pretty to look at over a savory crepe (as opposed to a sweet crepe).  My dining company was a group of bedraggled pidgeons… They would circle my bench waiting for me to drop something edible. By the hungry look in their eyes, I kept getting the feeling I was being stalked by de-evolved velociraptors. But no matter. They backed off some when the charming old lady next  to me kicked one.

I went back to the kiosk and Gugs and Nicky were there. Gugs and I went to get ice cream and find souvenirs for her. Both were enjoyable and I was quite helpful on the latter! Then 9 of us went to dinner at Chalkena, got ANOTHER ice cream, and sent Gugs and Nicky off on their bus to the port. It was a sad, quiet ride back to camp.

8-31

It was my day off but I’ve had several expensive days in a row so I decided to just go to Platainas for a day at the beach… But I couldn’t be bothered! So I stayed at camp all day and went to Bossa after dinner. We have a box of books in the camp that people have left and I went through the box and found plenty to read. Wooh!

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When in Rome…

8-26 After “Breaking News”

I checked the cupboard to see what we had, went to the supermarket, bought veggies and rice, and walked home to wonder how it is people ‘cook.’ Following Mom’s recipe I made sauteed vegetables and rice. But once the veggies were skinned, sliced, and put in the pan, they looked so much smaller. Certainly not enough for 16! Eliza, my cooking partner, showed up LATE just as my eye for the rice went out and she put the rice in. And she decided to turn my veggies into a sauce by adding tomato paste so that it would feed everyone. Thing was, she had to run get the sauce which left me in charge again! I burned the rice but she cleaned the pans so I don’t care. And she made dakos for a side so it all worked out… And seemed rather tasty. I didn’t get seconds even though I was starving in order to feed everyone. That was fairly stressful. *deep breath* Then I went to bed.

8-27

I woke up this morning thinking how much I miss mashed potatoes. At the breakfast table Gugs mentioned dinner would be kidney beans, mashed potatoes and crepes! How exciting! I looked forward to it all day. Except that…… (To  be revealed later.)

John isn’t very good at making the roter and I wish there was a computer program to do that job for him. Constantly he puts someone on K3 then morning survey the next day, schedules them to be in two places at once, forgets to give them a job at all or gives them too many. I didn’t realize he was screwing me over when I had K2 and nest shading in the same day… But I’ll get to that. I went to Chania early for a cheap lunch, and ended up getting a crepe as dessert. 😀 Then I sat through a quiet shift with Christina and read the last 150 pages of Gone With the Wind. If anyone wants to talk about it, email me! I really loved it even though it was depressing. Anywho, I got the first bus back to Gerani and arrived at camp at 7:30 ready to shade nests, but the group had left already. Mel (unofficial second in command) sent me to shade my first nest all by myself. And I didn’t know where on the beach the nest was so I had to carry ten shades along the beach rather than the road which is quicker and easier. Luckily, John was there already. It took us until nine to shade it and get back home for dinner. Geez, we were both starving. The food was delicious but *gasp* there were no crepes left for us! Greedy pigs are my campmates! Oh well, I had one today. And then there was a goat that got into our camp from the pasture over the fence. That is a scary thing to come across at night when you just want a quick trip to the loo! Maybe HE’s to blame for my missing crepes…

8-28

I had to wake Nicky up for our K1 shift. We’d asked for this shift together so we could ride horses along the beach at sunset! But, the place is full tonight and tomorrow. 😦 I can do it some other time but this was Nicky’s last chance. Oh well. This shift was rather quiet as well. I might get away with not spending money today… Unless Nicky talks me into a cheese pie on the way home.

Later: Yeah scratch that plan.  I stayed in town to have dinner at Tamam (the number one restaurant in Crete apparently) with Ana before she left. It was delicious as usual and we all split food so I got a taste of everything. Then we wandered around Chania looking for last minute souvenirs and since my notebook/journal is nearly finished (Geez! Apparently I have a lot to say?) I bought a cheap, cute notebook with a turtle cover. How appropriate. Then I went straight home without spending more money! On the bus home the lady next to me kept crossing herself like she thought the bus would crash. She just isn’t acclimated to the danger yet. I couldn’t be bothered (Brit phrase: basically translates to I was too lazy or didn’t care enough) to go to Bossa to send “I’m still alive” emails so I went to sleep.

8-29

Information table (IT) at Creta Princess is a treat because before setting up you get a free five star all you can eat buffet breakfast. So Becky and I didn’t mind waking up early to catch the seven o’clock bus. Or, we wouldn’t have if the blasted bus had been on time! It was six minutes early and we watched it go past. We hungered and muttered for the next hour when the next bus came. Just to put into perspective, the buses are supposed to come every quarter hour. We were late to set up the table when we arrived but neither of us had worked this location before (cheers John) so we waited to set up til after we’d eaten. And boy did we eat! To save the impression that I am a lady, I will refrain from listing the many courses of breakfast I devoured. But I must confess I pulled a hobbit and had ‘second breakfast’ during our shift. After setting up in the wrong spot then moving all our turtle merchandise to the right table, we settled down for an hour and a half of nothing. This is when we had our second breakfast… In the last ten minutes a French woman bought a single keychain so the morning was a success! Then Becky and I hopped on the bus back to camp where I changed to a swimsuit, grabbed my backpack and went BACK to the dreaded bus stop to go to Falasarna! This is my first day trip out of Chania and it was much needed. I went with Tanja, Nora and Gugs. Today is her last day and the bus pulled away while Gugs still had one foot on the pavement! Other than that, the day was very relaxing. It’s proper sand with clear water. It was only 28 degrees C as well so it was perfect under the tree we claimed. I didn’t realize at the time how gorgeous that beach is. Looking through my pictures made me realize everything was so… picturesque. Look on facebook to see those pictures!

Here are a few “untraveled country girl” moments I’ve had since I’ve been here:

  • The first time I saw completely plain yoghurt. It has no fruit… It’s JUST yoghurt. And sometimes they use it as a sauce!
  • Paying on the bus for the bus ticket was rather confusing the first two bus trips I took. And I gasped at every close encounter in traffic.
  • Seeing grapes, pomegranets, mulberries and oranges on trees. And seeing a fig for the first time.
  • Hearing “getting on my tits” among other British slang.
  • The first time I saw a woman sunbathing topless. Apparently clothing is optional at any beach in Europe.

While in Rome do as the Romans do, right? When I’m back to being a MS girl I’ll fit in and be a right good Amurican ‘gain. But while I’m in Greece I eat yoghurt with muslie and honey, I pay once I’m on the bus with a silent prayer since I’m taking my life into my hands, I know how to eat a fig and I call oatmeal muslie. And at a secluded end of Falasarna, I evened out my tan upstairs!

“Hugs and kisses” as Vasilis would say.

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Breaking News!

8-26

Since I was last online, I have had two emergencies! 1: Eliza was supposed to cook with me tonight but SHE WON’T MAKE IT IN TIME. That means I have to cook for 16 people by myself!

2: I heard a kitten crying in the bamboo on the way to Bossa to print recipes and lo and behold, there was a white kitten in the bamboo! I ran back to get John with his long cat-hating arms and he got the kitten out. And then we realized there were three more! Nora and Gugs came up and they put the three I got out of the bamboo into her bag but the last one is pure white and I believe it’s deaf because it only noticed me calling it when I whistled. We saw the mom run off but she should’ve known better than to have kittens in bamboo! We put the three we got out into the nearest backyard. Technically I trespassed. And I have cuts all over my legs and arms. Bah! Silly kitties!

Now I must run cook!

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Catching up on a week

8-20

Vasilis and I went to Primos to swim and played for about an hour. Then, since he’s afraid to actually swim in the deep end, I decided to have him jump in and conquer his fear! It took probably fifteen minutes of weedling, convincing him he wouldn’t drown and bribing him with a present but I managed and he thanked me later. So to pay up, I gave him a hemp necklace I’d made and brought with me. Then Katerina and I went to Platainas for a late lunch and shopping. She said “yeah, I KNEW you’d get a tan!” in reference to my adamant claim that I’m trying to stay white. I’m not a “Greecian sun goddess” as Mike U put it, but I am something of a “Scotch freckle vagabond,” if you will. I put sunscreen on my arms countless times a day but still they’ve gotten darker! And my legs have freckled. Sigh.

Later at kiosk that creepy guy (who doesn’t have a nickname yet…) came back! Since I don’t speak Greek he thought I wasn’t right in the head and asked Kelly if I’m slow. -.- Pffft! He’s the slow one!

8-21

This morning I had too much wildlife! I got up around nine and went straight to the sink to wash my face. I pulled something (not mine, I never leave my stuff anywhere if I truly value it) off the shelf and a small SCORPION jumped after it and shimmied down the sink. No big deal right? I mean, it was just a little one… But the smaller they are the more poisonous they are! Even armed with this knowledge I was so hardcore: I just stood there and watched it. My heart may have lept into my throat but I didn’t scream or jump or anything. Then five minutes later a big fuzzy spider crawled up the wall. I decided my face was quite clean enough thank you very much and went  to the toilet, where a huge tomcat watched me through the slats. I’d much prefer it if I just saw kittens and hatchlings.

Becky and I have K2 and the infamous Special John came to talk to us. He’s quite nice, but when he asked if I’m married I hastily said yes to avoid slobbery kisses on my hand! Phew, disaster narrowly averted. Also Dean the ‘cool’ leader from Matara showed up looking for John (leader John, not Special). Becky seems to be smitten because he’s ‘ruggedly handsome’ with long blonde dreads. This is where Becky and I agree to disagree… Dean, Dean’s dad and Gracie (Leed’s girl from Athens) stayed for dinner. John was showing off for his fellow leader by being rude to his volunteers, but the stew was yummy! I went to bed while they drank.

8-22

We finished HL in less than an hour and a half because there was only one hatchling track in the whole beach. Then Becky, Gracie and I went to Chania to catch a bus to Stavros but we got there 45 minutes early so I got an ice cream and visited the kiosk. Then I went to the bus stop, with plenty of time to spare mind you, but somehow we missed the bus! They didn’t announce it over the pa and we checked all the buses that left at 2:15 so we don’t know how it left without us. But we ran into Alex who had been on a 3 day excursion and we’d heard that she broke her foot! Turned out she slipped on stairs at the port of Santorini and bruised her toes so badly she thought she’d broken her foot. She now has a free xray as a souvenir.

John had his day off so he went to Rethymno, one of the other camps that McKayla has been at. Usually when he leaves things turn sour… When we got back to camp all was well until we realized the gas tank was empty and Amanda couldn’t cook. So Amanda, Gugs, Christina (new Greek/French girl) and I took turns carrying the empty tank all the way to Artemis (supermarket) to switch for a new one. Martyn had been away during all this but when he got back to camp and he realized Ioannis hadn’t helped ‘the girls’ they ‘had a row’ and Martyn caught up with us to carry it back. 10kg is a lot, and to prove he’s a man he carried it by himself for a while. Plus he carried it at such a quick pace Amanda and I had to trot to catch up! I told him he’s no less a knight in shining armour if he let us share the weight because we’re capable. Then we all tried to get a bit of plastic off the top for ages, until my pocket knife saved the day! But then we realized we were missing a vital piece. -.- Amanda went to tell Martyn that we got the plastic bit off and I walked BACK to Artemis for a copper bit so that we would all eat. Before I left Martyn and Ioannis had another fight and I tried to break it up but they went on arguing anyway. Then when I got back they were at it again! It was things that needed to be said but they were going in circles so I pulled Martyn away to make nest shades. Apparently I don’t like confrontation! I think it was my pleading eyes and tugging his shirt that made him lay down his sword, so to speak. Then, we smelled too much gas and found out the tank was leaking…! But we had finished cooking so we turned it off for John to deal with tomorrow. Such a stressful day at camp!

8-23

Not much has happened. The most eventful part of today: nine of us had lunch at Tamam’s! It’s the best restaurant in Chania and it was the first meat I’ve had in two and a half weeks (I nibbled Nora’s squid and fish). Oh, and we’re having a secret santa Christmas Eve tomorrow (24th, four months before the real one and because Vasilis’s name day in Greek  is for St Nicholas) so I have to get Amanda something. Very sneakily I shopped with her and picked out something she’d wanted to buy later. We got stuck far away from a toilet at one point, but we found a public restroom under the park we pass. It had holes in the floor  for ‘toilets’… What an experience. Pictures coming soon.

I had a slideshow at Minoa Palace, a five star hotel, and for the most part everybody was a snob. Nobody showed up for the slideshow either… But I was with Tanja so we made it fun. She wants a tattoo of a hatchling and a wave and I doodled something she likes. 😀 /talent! Then we ate dinner in the dark since we got back so late and went to Bossa to celebrate Katerina’s last night. 😦

8-24

I didn’t want to be idle on my day off, but it’s Vasilis, Martyn and Amanda’s last full day here! So I spent the morning with people, said goodbye to Katerina then went to Chania for Amanda’s earrings. Guess what people? I HAGGLED! Yes, I am Holly Raney’s daughter. We had a five euro cap on the gifts and the earrings I wanted were eight, so I talked her down to six which was my plan all along! Also I bought hemp for bracelets. I made Amanda, Martyn and Vasilis one each and will make one for Katerina to send with Nicky later. I had about two hours of complete alone time at the camp and realized how important that is! Since our gas for the stove isn’t hooked up correctly (through no fault of my trusty pocket knife), we are all going to Bossa for dinner and secret santa. Martyn recommended the veggy sandwich and goodness gracious it was heaven on bread! Now that I’m eating real food like a real person, I loved the peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and avocadoes smothered in cheese on crunchy toast… Mmmm. *salivates* Ahem. Bossa was wonderful. We exchanged gifts and Amanda loved her gift. 😀 Meso sneaky, she had no idea! Martyn popped my back for me (though they call it ‘cracking’ your back) and tension caused by three weeks of not sleeping on a mattress was instantly relieved! I practically skipped back to camp.

8-25

We had a slow morning of waking up and others packing which worked well for me. I got some ‘leftovers’: 50+ sunscreen and another sleeping mat! Vasilis, Amanda, Martyn, Nora and I went into Chania to hang out at the kiosk before they left. We had lunches of ice cream and crepes. 😀 Then John took Vasilis and me to the stockroom (a dark, dirty, depressing room) to pick out shirts at our volunteer discounted price. A small swamps me (and it’ll swamp Amy too when it’s hers: I hope you like lilac!) but it’ll be ok. Then we returned to the kiosk to take pictures and cry when Vasilis left first. 😥 Amanda and I went to Angelo’s to get water and compose ourselves before she left but on our way out Angelo said “you are not well?” and we lost it again. He had good advice though. He said the sun is shining, we have each others’ emails and we shall reunite! Hopefully he’s right. Martyn and Amanda left for Leeds probably 30 minutes later. I plan on seeing Amanda again at her wedding in Kenya in 2012 at the very latest! Everybody wants to have a reunion this spring when I’m in the Galapagos. 😦 But if I’m ever in London I’ll have my choice of couches to crash on.

The most interesting part of my k2 shift was when I colored half a page of the display coloring book. I did a damn good job too considering the colors I had, if I say so myself. Then I caught the first bus back to Gerani, had dinner and went to bed early. That was too emotional of a day! Nobody expected to like the people we met half as much as we did. I didn’t travel halfway around the world to meet people I would miss when I went back to my corner of the earth! At least everyone knows that if they’re ever close to Oxford MS they have a couch with their name on it.

8-26

McKayla stayed the night last night. In which tent I don’t want to know. Nicky, Christina, Tanja and I want to go horseback riding at sunset this Friday but we don’t know what we’re scheduled to do yet because John hasn’t made the roter! He claims he will soon but he’s probably off snogging Mick. I haven’t done much today except morning survey. Yet another HL! There was a hatchling that Becky had reburied at excavation the night before that had come out and nearly been run over by a car on the beach. She was too weak to make it to the sea so we buried it yet again… It’s sad burying one that you don’t think will make it out. It’s even sadder burying one for the second time.

Will write more when more happens!

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“I can stop ANY time I want”

8-16 continued

The street party was a bust. It was a platform with a DJ on it that moved through the city and drunk people followed it “dancing.” It was funny to watch but horrible to listen to. Greek pop music is mostly just bad techno on repeat. A while ago I was in a store listening to a song that monotonely said “Love. Sex. American Express.” OVER. AND. OVER. For at least five minutes straight. Anywho, instead of dancing in the street we went to the Spirit Lounge, a cool bar with comfy chairs. There are two new Greek girls named Eliza (Eh-LEE-zah) and Kelly. They came with us to Chania and Kelly has very good taste – we both got the delicious ice cream and cake (for 3 euro!). Vasilis got a bit tipsy and was hilarious. He tried to confess that the drink went to his head, that he was affected. He actually said, “I think my head is affectionate.” I laughed so hard for so long. I fell asleep on the bus ride home and didn’t get to bed until one. Previously the latest I’d stayed up was eleven or so!

8-17

This morning Nickey and I went to Primos and split a sandwich at the bakery. It worked out perfectly: it was a meat sandwich so we cut it in half, she took the meat and I only paid a euro for a meal. Then I took a bus to Platianas in search of cheap post cards and stamps. I wanted to write postcards when I got back but I realized I was in GREECE and the right off the street was a BEACH. So I sat on the sand and wrote about how pretty the view was. Then I didn’t want to pay another 1.40 euros for a bus trip back since I was nearly out of cash so I WALKED back! Yes, you can do that here! It’s only about 2 km. I’m getting so much exercise here between morning survey, swimming and walking everywhere. My shin muscle is killer!

Tonight was supposed to be Martyn and Amanda’s last night here so everybody went out for dinner – everyone except the slideshow people. That would be Becky, John and me. We went to Lito’s and actually made 76 euro, which is a lot. I’ve wanted to buy one of the turtle necklaces but figured I’d wait until later… Until John said “oh shit. That is the last one for all of Chania.” By this point I really had run out of money… I only had four euro and it costs five so I kinda stole it temporarily. I’d expected to be able to cash my traveler’s checques at a hotel since someone told me that’s how it works… But I tried at two hotels and they turned me down. Lucky I’ve found a place in Chania that gives me a really good rate. But I couldn’t get there this night so I just had to borrow money from Becky for dinner. We went with John to Bossa and I had AMAZING ‘french fries’ that were giant potato wedges smothered in cheese. I played with the kitten until it scratched my scar. When I yelped I had just been telling John to quit being a baby when the cat scratched his hand. Twas a fun night that ended at midnight, which we regretted when…

8-18

We all had morning survey. All went well until in the last 2 km I stepped over a large tan rock then stopped and said, “guys, I don’t think that was a rock.” It was the majority of a carapace of an adult turtle and part of a flipper. It had been dead a while (judging by the bleached shell) so it didn’t stink but the gnats around it were what tipped me off. We wrote it down and moved on… But we couldn’t help but notice the shell was sliced, probably indicating a jetski or motor hit it.

The plus side to HL: I got two pair of crumy sunglasses and a cute bracelet. The sea will provide! Later I went back and picked up an entire sunbed that had been left for two days (therefore it’s fair game) and a mattress for it. There’s a new rule of camp: if someone is on MY sunbed then I can kick them off in order to relax in it. I dragged it from the beach and it’s mine! The little Greek lady at the end of the road eyed me skeptically and asked me questions about me dragging a sunbed into camp… Once we clarified that I speak only English she said, “from where are you??” I said the beach and she let me go. Previously I thought it was a hotel that she ran, but then John told me it’s just a Greek family..

I could NOT go another day without money so I took a bus into Chania to cash my checque. Then I remembered some things are randomly closed on Tuesdays! I wouldn’t even have enough money for a bus home if the place wasn’t open… But it was. Phew. Then I ran into Nicky and Tanja. We grabbed a quick lunch then wandered around and came back to camp.

OH! The dinner! Amanda helped make it so it was fantastic. Oh! Amanda! She and Martyn were supposed to go to Rethymno with the rest of their Leeds group but the Rethymno campsite is an actual campsite that charges non volunteers, so they would’ve had to pay 10 euro to chill out there, and our camp is free. And has way cooler people. But no internet. So Martyn is making little trips all over Crete and Amanda is going stir crazy from staying at camp all day not spending money. But back to dinner: she made spaghetti with a curry sauce. Until now I couldn’t eat anything spicy but it was SO delicious I delt with the tingley lips and painful tongue. Melissa once said “I finally realized spicy is just a flavor that hurts.” I agree now! After dinner we walked to the store by Bossa for ice cream, which we do almost every night. We are becoming addicts…. But we can stop any time we want!

8-19

Around one I went  to the sea with Gugs because we felt so lazy. It was amazing! I understand why people surf: big waves are fun. Then we had leftover dinner and went to Primos and Bossa. I spent more than my allotted time at Bossa on te internet and I missed my time for a shower, so I came to K3 with a questionable amount of sea in my trousers…

This has been an eventful shift. First, on the way from the bus Gugs and I saw a woman with so much flounce in her step and so much confidence. Unfortunately, her dress was tucked into her underwear and at least half her ass was showing. We were quite amused by that. Then I stopped for a strawberry and chocolate crepe and OMG it blew my mind! It was so delicious. But it was so much sugar that I was a bit too hyper for my shift… Eliza wrote in the kiosk book that I had “verbal diarrhea.” I just said I was verbose! I was very chatty. So I chatted with her for a while. I asked if she’s left handed, hoping that the Archelon trend would continue, but she said no. Eventually she remembered that the old teacher in the small village that taught her to write made her switch to her right hand. So she IS left handed! We continue to reign supreme, or at least we’re not as outnumbered as we usually are! Mwahaha!

Ahem. Eliza and I talked to Angelo for a while too. He’s fun to chat with. He said some odd Greek verse that was about wishing he was the Grim Reaper so he could come into our room at night unbidden, which sounds REALLY creepy but apparently it’s not that odd in Greek. :S We tried to take really touristey pictures in front of the lighthouse and failed. Then a really creepy guy came up to Gugs and stared at her until she leaned back and meekly said “yassus…” He said odd things in Greek like he wanted to take her for a walk with the turtles, then he called us sluts and walked away to bother others.

K3 has to put lights on the outside of the kiosk and popcorn man helped us since we’re all rather short. And he tightened a screw for us. We give him free electricity and change from our float and he gives us assistance, unsalted popcorn, strong homemade wine, corn and “candy floss.” In Greek it’s called “old lady’s hair.” Gross! When popcorn man brought us wine I asked Eliza to tell him I don’t drink so he wouldn’t waste wine on me. She said “you don’t drink? Is something wrong with you?” She was serious! Hah, silly Greeks. Er, half Greek half English. Greek tourists keep stopping and talking to Gugs because she looks more Greek than Eliza who’s blonde.

The little gypsy kid who cursed me ouot sat in front of the kiosk to sing and play accordion for money. I took a video of him but when he noticed he stopped playing and covered his eyes until I turned off my camera. I got a decent video anyway so NYUH little gypsy kid! Shortly after Martyn dropped by the kiosk from Rethymno, pronounced ‘Ref’ by the Brits. He’s fairly entertaining. He proved tonight that he can cry on command. He also keeps pretending to hit on the wife of popcorn man’s friend, but it all gets lost in translation. I’ll mention again, it is VERY strong wine…

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Pictures!

Hello fellow followers of McKenna’s blog!

McKenna is not particularly tech savvy, and had trouble working out how to post pictures so that everyone could see them.  She’s offline until Friday, but I managed to publish some of her pictures (yay!) However, I don’t really know what any of them are of. So we’re all going to have to be happy with what we’ve got, and just make some guesses about why we should be interested.
– Michael
Fred the Fuzzy Jumping Spider sits

Fred the Fuzzy Jumping Spider sits

Fred the Fuzzy Jumping Spider jumps!

Fred the Fuzzy Jumping Spider jumps!

Baby turtle!

Baby turtle!

McK 039

Research Field Station: Sea Turtle Protection Station

McK 038

Sunflowers

McK 036

Archelon Camp Site

McK 034

Road

McK 033

Pretty multicolored crates

McK 032

A tree

Orange factory

Orange factory

McK 030

More orange factory

McK 040

Camp

Archelon sign

Archelon sign

"Past the building with the blue door"

"Past the building with the blue door"

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Squirrels!

8-14

After the pool at Primos and splurging on kiwi juice, we came back to camp and I had three slices of bread with chocolate spread. It’s a very yummy but non-nutritious snack… Anyway, we sat in the ‘chill out area’ in sunbeds and in the tree I saw a small furry animal. “Hey look,” I said, “a squirrel! Wait, do you even HAVE squirrels here?” Turns out it was the biggest rat I’ve ever seen (about six inches nose to rump) which, incidentally, was the smallest rat anyone else present had seen. “Yeah, it might even be a baby one,” John said comfortingly. “But if you pretend it’s a squirrel, you’ll be fine.” The man makes good sense! I’d like to point out that I’m not AFRAID of a huge rat, merely disconcerted that I’m sharing the woods with it and its rabid brethren.

As I sit here writing today’s occurrences, Panegiota is taking care of her feet yet again. I noticed she has about eight different tools for pampering and cleaning her feet and I pointed this out. She looks me straight in the eye and says, “of course.” Then she lights up another cigarette. I love quirky people! She packed up her stuff and put away her tent tonight because she gets on the 7 o’clock bus in the morning. I helped her put her (4/5 person) tent away and she helped me move my tent to her old spot! I’ve moved. 🙂 It remains to be seen if it’s nicer, cleaner, darker, quieter, cooler than my old spot. At the very least I’m rid of the mulberries falling ON my tent. This camp runs on exchanging favors. For example I took Nicky’s morning survey shift the other day and she shared half her bunch of grapes two days later. It worksvery well. Tonight I gave Panegiota a hand massage – she has the softest hands ever! – in exchange for a shoulder massage. This ‘shoulder massage’ ended up being a shoulder, neck, head, face and arms massage, but I’m NOT complaining. She’s so sweet!

After dinner we all went out for banana splits at Bossa. Actually I got a Chicago which is chocolatey and worth ever cent of four euro fifty cents. It has been getting chilly at night for  the past week and I only realized how long the walk back to camp is when I was cold, tired and alone after Bossa. I said goodbye to Panegiota and curled up in my sleeping bag, thinking to myself how much nicer, cleaner, darker, quieter, cooler it is than my old place.

8-15

Today is the first of several things: first police car I’ve seen in Greece, first Americans I’ve heard (except for Bossa’s bartender) and the first kiosk shift with someone who actually enforces the rules. Amanda, Jen and Martyn don’t care if I have pumpkin seeds (possibly because I share…) or read ‘the most remarkable first novel of an American writer.’ Mel, however, does. No eating or reading non-turtle related material IN the kiosk. But there are steps just to the left of the kiosk where she smokes and reads. When I run out of things to write I’ll retreat to the stairs! Most of the visitors have been French anyway so I watch the conversation and try to figure out what she’s saying. I’ve caught two things in five conversations: she indicated me saying I was American and told them about Harry (see the locals list to know who Harry is). The water is so calm today we might even see him! 🙂 Here’s hoping.

There is an odd occurence that I wish to mention. Nearly a THIRD of our camp is left handed (cock handed to the Brits). Panegiota, Ana, Martyn, Becky and me vs the other twelve righties. When I mentioed this to John he said “oh yeah, Archelon attracts a lot of weirdos.” But you can’t chock it up to that! I think we’re smarter and therefore more worried about our world as a whole. But I’m open to alternative theories!

There are gypsy children that roam the harbor and play accordions for money. Alternatively, they come to the kiosk, ask for money, pretent they don’t understand English, then say “fuck off” in Italian as they swagger off. These are adorable 8-9 year olds! And they ran off with out donation jar this week. The saddest thing to me is that they look so much like Alex or Nik did at that age. Bulgaria is just north of Greece so they could be Bulgarians. I feel so sorry for children that have grown up in a manner that creates that sort of behavior.

I FINALLY finished my list of states! I’m proud that I didn’t have to use the internet to remember any. Oh Wisconsin, how you eluded me most annoyingly!

We just had a grungey Italian man wander up to the kiosk, talk to us for five or ten minutes, then whip out fifty euro to adopt an adult turtle! Twas very unexpected. I’ve never had anyone adopt while I was working the kiosk and today we’ve had a hatchling and adult adopted in the same shift. Apparently it’s “the magic of Mel in the kiosk. Every time I’ve been here for the past month we’ve made more than a hundred euro when I have a shift.” Yes, she kept her record: 139 for K1 on a Greek holiday!

Alex and Vasilis took over and Mel went  to the stockroom so I was left on my own for lunch. I went to Everest (basically a nicer subway) and got the cheapest sandwich: 1.30 euro! It just had cheese on it… But it’s enough to tide me over until a big dinner of crepes tonight. I’m learning how to live cheaply and it’s not too bad. So for entertainment, I wanted to go to the squatter’s area that’s above the kiosk since Martyn said it’s a wonderful view. I had a rough idea of where to go so I wandered streets eating my glorified grilled cheese sandwich until I found it. The plan was to read and enjoy the scenery… Until I got there. I thought “hmm. I’m a pretty girl alone in a squatter’s area filled with just guys. I think I’ll come back later…” It IS  a pretty view so I’ll go back with reinforcements. In all actuality I probably would’ve been fine but CONSTANT VIGILANCE would’ve made me too uncomfortable to enjoy myself. Parents and Michael: don’t my newly acquired street smarts comfort you?

Then I went back to the kiosk to chat and Nora, Ana and Becky showed up so we wandered a dead (except for the tourists) Hania before heading back. Crepes were yummy! They called them pancakes though. If only I could show them what real pancakes are!

8-16

I followed one confused hatchling’s tracks all over 50 m or so of beach on morning survey. He ended up way on the back of the beach in tall grass then we lost the trail. John and I spent 30 minutes looking for the poor sod! Then we gave up. 😦 After that Nicky and I went to Primos to swim, Bossa for lunch and internet, then to Platainas for cheap post cards and stamps. There’s a ‘street party’ in Hania tonight that we’re all going to. I’ll tell you if I dance! I have my first slideshow Monday, HL on Tuesday and my first K3 Wednesday. I’ll get back online Wednesday so nobody panic. Until then!

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