Monday, July 9, 2012

Greece Part 5: Rhodes

Photo by Alexa Linker

     On the third day of the cruise, we stopped early in the morning at a big island called Rhodes. It was probably the most touristy of the ones we visited and we were supposed to be there for the entire the day. The younger folk of our group spent the first half of the day walking around the shopping area. This place was less aggressive than the bazaar and wasn’t as entertaining, but mind you we had our fair share of interesting adventures and such.  

     To start off, our zombie-eyed group began strolling around the crowded shopping area meant to resemble an ancient bazaar area, complete with men yelling at each other in Greek and women crowding around jewelry counters. And what would a crowded shopping area be without ample amounts of bars to sit down in and relax after stressful shopping ventures. 

       One particular bar had its own special strategy for drawing customers over to their café: two gorgeously colored parrots sitting freely in front of the outdoor patio. Like most silly tourists, we were swiftly in line to at least get some photographs of those beautiful creatures. Once it was our turn, the two men handling the bird gladly let Andrew and Ellen hold the bird on their hands (in my head I was thinking, “Oh my God, just like Mary Poppins!!”). I anxiously waited my turn and held out my hand, ready for a photo op as soon as it was perched on my fingers. I guess my eagerness made the handlers want to make the moment extra special for me because instead of kindly placing the bird on my hand, where I could see and control it, they placed it on my head. At first my reaction was slightly worried and uncomfortable, but then I enjoyed the moment as my friends shot photos of my giddy experience.
Photo by Alexa Linker

All was well and good until Alexa exclaimed, “I think that bird just shit on your head!”

Andrew quickly said,” No, I don’t think it did”

Ellen was quick to reassure, “Nope, that bird just shit on your head.”

     I didn’t even know what to do. I didn’t want to lose my cool and make a scene, but I also was pissed that there was parrot excrement now tangled in my already-ratty hair. Can you blame me? I had every right to stand there and scream as loud as I wanted, “What the fuck?!?!?!”

     The surprisingly not embarrassed or alarmed handler laughed and took my hand to immediately lead me to the water closet so I could wash out the gooey mess. I grabbed Alexa’s hand to assist me, not wanting to go anywhere alone with a strange man with a slick black ponytail and gold necklaces.

     The whole way to the washroom, the man went on about what good luck it is to have a bird take a shit on you and what good fortune I was to gain from it. That was great and all, but I was mainly concerned with getting the shit out of my hair. I wasn’t feeling so lucky at that point.
Photo by Alexa Linker
      After cussing excessively and basically getting my whole head wet, I got the crap out of my hair and emerged to find my group laughing at me. After scolding the handlers and telling them that they owed me a free drink, we were well on our way to continue our shopping excursion. This, for me, included getting my daily gelato fix, and then exploring some back alleys where I found a tiny jewelry shop with the most gorgeous pieces I had seen the whole trip. I was obliged to pick up some pricey, but handmade, earrings. The appreciative shop owners even gifted me some Greek worry beads as a free token.  

     After exploring, we went back to the ship for a quick lunch and met up with some of the adult folk. We eventually began the 15 minute excursion down to the beach and found that what waited for us was totally worth the walk.

     The beach, in my eyes, was perfect. The water was clearer than any of the other beaches that we’d been to. Instead of sand, there were rounded, marble-sized pebbles. Walking on them felt like a foot massage. I liked that a lot. Whenever the waves folded over the smooth rocks, there was a really satisfying and pleasant sound that made me just want to curl up next to the water and sleep.
Looking down the shore, I felt like I was in 1960’s Costa Rica with the old buildings behind the picturesque crowds of people and umbrellas. All that was missing was the steel drum music.  About 75 meters from the water, beachfront bars and cafés stood with rows of lounge chairs and umbrellas to match each little building.  They blasted house music so loud that I was surprised that people weren’t dancing in their bikinis and speedos with drinks in hand. We did presume that these little cafés turned into little clubs after dark. The beach was crowded yes, but it was mostly people between the ages of 18 to 40 years old. No children, no old people. Perfect. Everyone swam, drank, bathed in the sun, and were merry. It was heaven.

    If you swam about 100 meters out into the water, a stair platform stood alone in the middle of the water with three different levels to jump off of. The tallest one was probably about 24 feet off from the water. Of course, succumbing to peer pressure, I went off the tallest one first. I’ll admit that both times I went off the platform, I took about five minutes to psych myself up and just jump off of it. But the two seconds that I was alone in the air were just as frightening and enjoyable to make it totally worth it.

Photo by Marc Eaton
     After lounging on the beach and relaxing, I made my way back to the ship to go for what turned out to be a successful 11 mile run on the treadmill, take part in photo-shoot in our fancy outfits for elegant night, and, you guessed it, danced until late on the most windy night of the cruise. Yes, it was a more relaxing day, but extremely enjoyable and successful in my opinion.

 The sad reality of only having one full day left on the ship was coming more and more into light, but I used every second to make it memorable and fun. That last day will be unveiled tomorrow. Or whenever I feel like typing again. ‘Till then.

Photo by Alexandra Chamberlain

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