Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Revenge of the fish: When they eat us

Let's play Jeopardy!

Answer: a place American tourists never plan to visit but somehow always find on European vacations. Rhymes with dude reach. 

Doo-doo-doo-doo-do. Do! D-do-do-do-doo-doo. 

Yup, I went to a nude beach today. Except really it was less of a nude beach and more of a beach that had a bunch of people on it, some of whom were enjoying the water without the impediment of a swimsuit. 

Did I join the natural party, you ask? I don't know, you'll have to keep reading!

(I did not. Even consider it.)

But first we'll get to the more important question: how did I have so much time for clothing optional recreation with the crazy long hike I did?

I did not hike.

I woke up at 5 a.m. with a sore throat and still coughing. It wasn't severe; I knew that. But I've had a new challenge to deal with on this trip: how to be on vacation when you are sick. Since I've left Athens I've been under the weather, with a fever, stuffy head, aching muscles and exhaustion, and just as I was coming out of that fog, the smokers cough and its respiratory fun hit. And here was another issue. 

If it was a marathon, I would do it. And hiking this gorge is probably a once in a lifetime chance. But I also don't want to be sick anymore, and I definitely don't want to be fatigued, feverish or dizzy on a strenuous hike. In the end, I asked myself this question: "If I were a responsible adult, what would I do?"

Well, I would not risk my health, of course. I slept for three more hours and woke up with no sore throat. Still working on the cough. It was the smart choice. I was proud of myself. That's why I'm writing it down. 

So now I had the day. Hania is super pretty but very small, tourism-wise. I walked to the beach (distance from hotel: 100 meters). I walked past four boats in 50 meters and realized I could replace hiking with boating. It's not quite as much fun, but I get to do it about as infrequently these days. After choosing my boat (not the one with the pushy guy who talked to me like I was stupid and tried to get me to commit right then) I went to the lighthouse. 

It's small and guards a small harbor, but they're pretty serious about their maritime activities. For the Athens Olympics in 2004 a group built a boat in the ancient Minoan style and rowed to Athens. 

I found shopping (I like shopping in foreign countries, because there's always a chance someone will comment on the item and I can say, "Thanks, I bought it in insert-interesting-place-here.") and I found grilled octopus, which, I'll be honest, I was scared to eat. The flavor wasn't bad; nothing that's grilled should be unless it's burned. But the amount of chewing. And the tentacles. Octopus violates my No. 1 rule of meat consumption: meat should not resemble the animal from whence it came. 

Then I went boating. Armed with sunscreen -- my body covers several shades on the spectrum from light ivory all the way to ghostly pallor and albino -- and gum that, based on the tingling sensation in my tongue, was either Dramamine or crack, I joined a couple dozen other intrepid travelers on our journey to an island with mountain goats and a German shipwreck above which we could snorkel. 

Except the seas were too rough. We instead went to a beautiful turquoise beach, where we stayed for two hours. There were still interesting things to look at, though. 

Oh my gosh, you guys! I meant sea urchins and this sideways fish I saw that camouflages itself in the sand. But yeah, if you glanced around on shore you got an eyeful of naked every time. There were only four or five, but it was a really small beach. 

Back on shore I consider getting a bubble massage, partly to find out what it is, and I do get a fish pedicure, which feels extremely weird. 
They rushed over to start feasting on my nasty feet. Very odd sensation. Thus is I think Thai; it's definitely not Greek, and I'm sure it's about as touristy as buying an "I ❤️ Greece" T-shirt, and I'm fine with that. And my feet feel less gross, so wins all around. 

I can recommend Hania with much the same vigor as I could not Thessaloniki: if you come to Greece, come to Crete. It's judgment-free here. 😜

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you're sick on vacation, but glad you took care of yourself. I do think you might be growing up:) And it sounds like you had a really good day in spite of missing the hike. love you