Notebook

Chania – Some Photos

6-18-2018–Chania, Crete,  Greece

A couple of photos I took while wandering around today. And from my room at the beginning of sunset. I’m thinking of using the 2nd one as my new screen saver …


Crete – A Vacation Experiment

6-12-2018–Paleohora, Crete, Greece

I’m back in Greece. As the title of this post states, this trip is a bit of an experiment. Usually when I travel I’m on an adventure: I want to experience new situations, feel challenged. This is something different–I’m attempting to have a holiday, a vacation. This is something I almost never do. But I had a pretty terrible year, where I felt completely overworked, very stressed, and I believed I simply needed to go someplace and decompress. So I decided to come back to the Greek islands not because there is all that much here that seems new and intriguing to me, but for the exact opposite reason–I know where and how to be relax here. Or so  thought …

Paleohora–From the Trail

I’ve only been here a few days and I’m already beginning to doubt my reasoning. So far the evidence is showing that the reason I don’t really take vacations is that I’m not very good at them. I don’t really know how to do nothing! I came here to read and think and sun and swim and I’m already feeling guilty and bored. Of course, it’s these issues that I may be here to address. But I’m seriously doubting this–I think I’m just trying to go against my nature. I mean, I like it here, but I don’t think this is what I need right now.

I’m going to give it a few more days and if I’m still feeling this way I’ll start revising my plan, go someplace else, come home early, something. I’m keeping my perspective at least. If existential angst over a Greek island trip is one of your bigger problems, life’s pretty good …

Note–I never planned on Level Mythos becoming a travel blog, but I’m so busy most of the time that’s only when I’m on the road that I have time to post. I need to rethink why it exists.


Level Mythos Returns!

7-29-2017–Long Beach, CA

Back at this again-finally. The last several months have been a massive wave of busyness, which has swept everything–my writing, my personal life … this blog–aside. From last August until June I had an INSANE teaching schedule (there were weeks when I put in eighty hours). Since then, I’ve been recovering, trying to piece back together my day-to-day life. Returning to this blog must mean that I’ve made significant progress …

That said, this note is just a way to get things rolling again here; I will be posting again in earnest in the coming days. The world (or at least the U.S.) has gone insane and I’ve been coming to all sorts of new places, in my writing and just about everything else that matters to me. There will be no shortage of topics, I’m sure …

Onward!

 


Home …

8-5-2016–Long Beach, CA

I’ve been home now for a week. It’s weird how NOT weird this is: other than dealing with some jet lag, I flowed right back into my California life. This is in part because I immediately had to go back to work: my teaching schedule this coming semester is going to be INSANE–8 classes, 5 different preps, and 2 classes I’ve never taught before, which are on the opposite poles of the discipline of anthropology. Still, I’ve found myself in similar situations when coming home from a trip and there has been some days and weeks of oddness (with a touch of depression). I’d like to think this is because I’m so sure of my life: I (largely) like where I’m at, know where I’m going and why, while being quite happy with what I seem to be seeing on the horizon.

I think I’m also doing so well because seven weeks in Greece really helped clean out my mental/emotional pipes. I knew going in that I needed to make some changes in my life here, but I couldn’t quite define what they should be (or maybe I knew what they were but for whatever reason didn’t quite have courage to make them). I now have a much clearer picture on these counts. I’ve already started changing stuff and it feels great! What stuff? Ah, this is too complex and personal for a blog post, at least in a direct way: everything one does betrays who one is, so I’m sure this picture will emerge even as I play it close to the vest here …

For know, I’m just working, scheming, enjoying some fantastic mid-summer weather (amazing not hot for So Cal in August). Onward … into whatever is out there …

Note–I ordered a new adapter for my camera. So soon I will start posting my backlog of Greece photos …

 

Music: Ross Daly & Mitsos Stavrakakis  — Echo of Time

Red Hot Chili Peppers — The Getaway

Books: Aristotle — Politics

 


Hania–Luxury!

7-25-2016–Hania, Crete, Greece 

I’m back where I started my trip–Hania, on the northwest coast of Crete. This officially marks the last phase of my trip–in a little more than two days I’ll be on a plane heading home (Hania-Helsinki (!)-Chicago-Los Angeles). I’m feeling good; I’m glad to be here. I like Hania, more so by far than any other urban area I’ve been to in Greece. Though it’s very touristy, it manages to do so without being totally tacky and overwhelming (see Waikiki). It’s also a very pretty city, dominated, in its older areas by Venetian architecture and alleys that in comparison reveal places like Iraklio to be the modern monstrosities they are.

The place I’m staying in here is pretty crazy. Greece overall might be hurting for tourism, but Hania, as usual for high season, is rocking. I knew this would be the case and duly expected to overpay for a hovel of accommodation. When I got into town, though, things were worse than I expected–this town is pretty much booked up. For about an hour I traipsed from place to place while they all told me they were full or that they had a room but for only one night at a ridiculous price (such as 9o euros for essentially a closet). Evetually I found myself at a hotel by the old harbor (the most desirable part of town), a place I normally would never have tried because it looked so pricey.

I was told they did have a room for the three nights I needed, but that it was an “apartment” they usually only rented out to families. I was then informed the best price they could give me on it was 60 euros a night. I jumped on it. I’m now staying in what is for me a bit of a palace. I mean, the place has three fricken floors, four beds, a kitchen, a living room and probably a godcdamn pot of gold if I look hard enough ( I really wish I could post pictures). Oh yeah, the price includes breakfast! In other words, during the height of tourist season in a town that’s packed I’m living large for relative chump change …

There is a goddess and she loves me long time!

I know of course why I got his place so cheap. Nobody comes in off the street looking for this set up–they book it in advance. They must not have had a booking for this room for the next few days. So it was give it to me cheap or probably make nothing and have it sit open. I was just in the right place at the right time …

 

 


Paleohora Chillout

7-21-2016–Paleohora, Crete, Greece

Hanging out, hunkering down, in Paleohora on Crete’s southern shore. After the Daly/Thoma show I spend a day in Iraklio, at their archaeology museum. I’d seen it before, but not since 2011. I’d heard that they’d overhauled and improved it extensively since then. They have. It’s now great. It’s mostly Minoan stuff (which makes sense—this is Crete after all), which is now planned out and displayed quite well. The old set up they had was pretty cramped and generally not in the league of the material they were presenting. I’m glad I decided to check it out again …

So what am I doing in Paleohora (again—his is where I started my trip)? Well … After my concert, as I’ve mentioned, my trip suddenly felt over—I felt as if I’d accomplished everything I needed to here. This was a bit of an overstatement, but it was definitely feeling like mop-up time. I was also just as suddenly feeling exhausted, in my mind and body—I didn’t feel as if I could take in anything new. So I landed here. I know this town, it’s relaxing, easy—it’s a good place to come down, take stock, transition out of here (Greece). This has turned out to be a good move: my exhaustion and travel saturation have not abated—I’m out of it, crawling thru the days … More »


Thoma and Daly–Magic!

7-17-2016—Iraklio, Crete, Greece

I made it to my Kelly Thoma/Ross Daly show. It was magic. It took place on a warm beautiful night in a cool little outdoor theater that is built into Iraklio’s old Venetian walls, between to walls (in the old mote?). The place holds about 300 people and was around 90 percent full. One of the first things I noticed was the age range of the crowd. Not counting the little babies a few people brought, there were people from their early teens to their eighties. It was a wonderful crowd too, laid back, happy—the vibe running thru the place quite gentle and loving. This openness extended to the performers.

Kelly Thoma, Ross Daly, and the other musicians were wandering thru the slowly-growing crowd between the sound check and the show, talking to friends and fans. (Daly was cutting quite a regal figure at this point. He’s got to be around 6’-5”, and he was dressed—as he often seems to be—all in white linen, which, when combined with his long flowing white hair, was quite striking). More »


Telendos Happiness

7-15-2016—Telendos Islet, Kalymnos, Greece

Yesterday morning I fled Pothia (I couldn’t wait to get out of there—that place is just bad vibe central). Since I don’t have too much time to explore this island I decided to pick just one promising spot to check out, Telendos, a tiny “islet” just off the west coast of the main island (when I say “just off” I mean it—I can see people on the other side of the channel and could probably swim there if I had to). This place is MUCH more my style. It’s quiet—there are no vehicles of any kind here—laid back, gentle. In other words, it’s everything Pothia is not. Here I think one can get a little taste of what being in Greece must have been like in the 1970s, ramshackle, unhurried, friendly …

I knew the second I got off the boat I’d made the right decision to come here. Suddenly I was surrounded by quiet, except for the sound of a guy sitting in one of the little tavernas that line the waterfront tuning up his bouzouki. Equally, I suddenly felt like I was back in Greece, the kind of Greece I like anyway, as opposed to touristy craziness, which I think blots out some of this country’s soul …. All this is not to say this is some backwater trapped in the past. Though it was surely a little fishing village at one time, now it lives, or mostly so, on tourism. Little boats run day trippers here from the mainland for a day of beaches and nice food (only a few of us stay here overnight). It does this all in a low-key way, though, in part because tourism is way down this year but also because most people probably never figure out this place exists. I’d like to think that you have to have a little bit of … style to end up here …

I’m staying above a seafood place called Zorba’s (yes, that’s really what it’s called), run by Zorba (yes, that’s his real name) and his very sweet wife, Nikki. It’s a cool place, painted in a myriad of bright colors (it looks more like something you’d find in Mexico than Greece). Oh yeah, Zorba, who is really nice, has one eye and looks like a pirate, and spontaneously breaks into dance now and then. He alone would make this place interesting …

So what do you do here? Hit the hiking trails, swim (on some good beaches), and hang out in the cafes and meet people. Oh yeah, the island is very arts-and-craftsy: folk artists of many stripes sell there creations in shops and little tables placed in the walk areas. I’ll probably buy something. Several cool little pieces have caught my eye …

The only problem is that I have to leave tomorrow morning, early, to catch my flight for Iraklio. This place will definitely be on my itinerary when (if?) I come back to Greece …

Crete soon! Urban Crete, where I’ll (hopefully) be sitting in a theater listening to a concert. The cultural whiplash continues …


Problematic Pothia …

7-14-2006—Pothia, Kalymnos, Greece

Be careful what you wish for. I was feeling a touch bored the last couple of days I was in Agathonisi—the place was starting to seem a bit slow, played out. The former at least cannot be said about where I am now—Pothia, the main town/port of Kalymnos. As these island ports tend to be (the larger ones, anyway), this place is fast, hectic … I’m not sure if this town has something about it that makes it more so these things than other similar towns or if I’m just tired from being on the road for five weeks, but this stop has really got my nerves jangling; every time I’m out and about I feel as if my senses are being assaulted …

Not that the place isn’t interesting. Kalymnos is dry, hot, and desolate appearing; from the boat coming in it looked as harsh and inhospitable as any inhabited Greek island I’ve seen. Pothia rises abruptly out of this hostile seeming backdrop; it climbs the steep mountains surrounding an inlet in spectacular fashion, until it seems to just stop, as if the any further expansion was doomed to failure and a wise truce had been drawn with the landscape. I also find it interesting, in certain ways, culturally. If nothing else, it’s intriguing me because I can’t quite nail down what it’s about …

More »


Agathonisi Part 3

6-9-2016–Agathonisi, Greece

I’m still here. I was planning on moving on yesterday but I got a message from my friends G– and C– from Paris, letting me know that they were just up in Samos and would be hitting Agathonisi on Monday. I haven’t seen them since 2013 and I’ve come here all the way from California–I decided that it would be incredibly stupid to miss them by a couple days just because I feel the need to keep to some itinerary I made up in my head. What will I end up missing–Lipsy? Friends are more important than landscapes …

Actually this little change of plans has worked out quite well. It’s nice to not always be on the move. Plus, this little out-of-the-way place’s tranquility appears to be just what I needed–it’s so fucking wonderful to have nothing to do.

Notes:

Damn it! It’s happened–I now like ouzo. I suddenly now can’t imagine not having on before dinner each night. Greece has officially corrupted me …

A typical day for me on Agathonisi: I get up around eight. Then I write for a couple of hours. Then I head to a cafe down the road and get a coffee, before heading to the market. Once back “home” I write for another hour or so. Then I head over to Cave Beach to swim and sun for a few hours. Then back home for reading and napping … until it’s ouzo time … Dinner comes next, followed by a coffee at the place  had my first coffee that morning …

The hiking here sucks. Unless you’re really into heat, endless thistle, wind, goats …