I’m wound up. Translation: Pissed off by an argument I had with an arrogant rent-a-cop type who told an elderly tourist couple walking beside a wall on Mykonos’ main street that they couldn’t stop to look across the wall at the sea, because the wall was “private property.”
|Old photos courtesy Dimitris Koutsoukos|
So, today I’m writing about a different side of Mykonos, not its iconic windmills and pelicans, dozens of breathtaking beaches, or fevered nightlife.
Obviously, the situation exploited by the fictional salesman in “The Music Man”—to save River City, Iowa’s children from the sins of ruination symbolized by a pool hall—is quite different from what confronts Mykonos. Mykonos’ hustlers are real, and they’ve come with a goal of turning the entire island into a “pool hall,” offering the “sins of ruination” as enticements, not warnings.
I’m not talking about crooked politicians who line their pockets with funds stolen from hospitals, schools, roads, public services, and so on, that’s a subject for the courts to decide.
I’m talking about those masters of the craft of selling the sizzle not the steak. Or, if you prefer fish, they know the perfect bait for landing the big one every time. It’s hard to resist promises of fame, celebrity, and wealth, especially when the salesmen are smooth. And Mykonos attracts the best, because these guys come to where the money, sex, and action are to be found. In the United States they make a beeline for HOLLYWOOD (known to some not so fondly as ‘fraud central USA” for all the scams run there under the guise of “the Biz”) or Las Vegas where “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” (translation: your money and/or soul).
Hey, I’m no prude. I love Vegas and LA. I got engaged in one and married in the other. [Pause to reconsider the penultimate sentence. :)]
But, I accept those places for what they are: Polities born out of unfettered development, selective enforcement of codes and ordinances, and acceptance of the ruthless and unscrupulous into their midst. If that’s the path Mykonos chooses to pursue, fine. But no one should be misled into believing such changes have made or will make their island a “better” place. What they most certainly do is make it a different place. Whether better or worse depends on whom you ask and only their great-grandchildren will know the truth.
But of all Mykonos’ many natural blessings—sea, sun, beaches, and breezes—the one I most fear the island losing is what at its heart distinguishes Mykonos from all other places on this earth just as beautiful, if not more so: The unwavering hospitality of its people.
Lose that and, “Bye-bye now.”