Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to Survive a Tourist Summer.

Just wanted to get your attention.  Belly dancing has absolutely nothing to do with today’s blog—though the lady in the photo is a true friend of mine.

I was intending to write a piece on the beauty of Greece’s Cycladic islands, but after Leighton’s captivating pictorial essay earlier this week on Brazil’s pristine Baia da Ilha Grande I decided to wait for another day before attempting to convince anyone that “virginal” and “Greek islands” belong together in the same sentence.   A task not attempted with a straight face in many, many years.

Which brings me around to the subject I’ve chosen to address instead: straight faces.
He wants us to go back to where?

Now, I’m not talking about the kind put on by TV talking heads pontificating on subjects of which they know little and care about even less, or politicians whenever their lips are moving, I mean the faces of everyday common folk doing what they must to make their living off of tourism.

Singer-Artist Ken Richards
Imagine the stress of dealing face-to-face, 24/7, six months a year, with the many ilk, shapes, and demands of international tourism when virtually 100% of your income is dependant on making people happy.  Add to that mix the occasional thorny visitors who act as if they walked on water to get to the island and insist on being venerated as such even when their fly (or gender equivalent) is down.  Make that especially so on such occasions.  It is enough to drive one mad.

As proof I submit the following two photographs, one of a Mykonian at the beginning of the season, another at the end.

I rest my case.  Sort of, for I have more exhibits to present.  I want to show you the variety of expressions relied upon by Mykonians to make it through nearly twenty-hour days, seven times each week.

Some are pretty good at hiding their thoughts.

Others are not.

Some see life through rosé-colored glasses.

Others chose to view it from another planet.

Some grin at it all.

Others do just the opposite.

There are those who tune out and those who tune in, both to the same end.

There are the sophisticated who seem to remain above it all.  And those who lose it to laughter.

There are some who can legitimately claim not to understand.

And others in blinders making them oblivious to what’s going on about them.

But of all the faces, the ones I enjoy the most are found on those who cope the best and remain above it all.

Yes, the young children of the island, for in their innocence they have no need for guile.  Or work.  Ahhhhhh, to memories of days long gone.



  1. Is it not the right of every tourist to be an obnoxious boor when they have paid their hard-earned money to have a good time? It is the responsibility of every person who lives in the tourist paradise to put up with the crude, rude, and infantile behavior of people who think the residents should be honored to be treated like slaves. What else is money for?

    I can't imagine being financially dependent on the good will of people who believe they are entitled to treat those with less money as if they are cast members in one of those theme parks devoted to the mouse.

    As to your friend in the top picture, I expect you may get a lot of emails from male friends who would like to visit you this summer.


  2. Wonderful faces, especially the children. Truly priceless. Ours is a strange world where we depend on others to pay our bills, and yearn for those quiet pristine beaches. Oh, the paradoxes of life.

  3. You never miss a trick, Beth. And Lil, paradox summarizes the dilemma that led to my selection of the belly dancer as the lead photo. I wanted to see what attracts page views to the site. Believe me when I say belly dancers are not a draw. At least not for a story on Mykonos. From now on I'm sticking to pelicans and pristine anything else:).