Tuesday, 13 September 2011

My Shirley Valentine day on Kastellorizo.

I have arrived at Kazzie to a pile of furniture and boxes. They landed just as I was leaving the island on my last trip in July. Cousin Helene negotiated their safe transport to the house and here they are awaiting me. I spend a delightful few hours unpacking, sorting and cleaning.

I'm starting my routine of a morning swim at the rock and then my walk around the bay of Mandraki before I breakfast. This morning I have a good swim and begin my walk to the bay. I make my way up the familiar stone steps alongside a house, clearly in the throws of renovation.

A man clad only in blue underpants comes towards me bearing a long ladder. He is beaming. "Come see what I do. I make house." I am not at all interested, however his enthusiasm is overwhelming so I follow. He shows me his work with such pride, pointing out the details. "Three years I work on this house." We see various rooms. They seem to have no particular function. Seems a bit of a mess to me. Can the owners have given him license to do this? He opens a door to a small room featuring the largest electricity board I have ever seen. "This room for lovers, you see has lock". Oh no! I can see where this is going. I bid my goodbyes and re-start my journey. "Wait for me. I go to Mandraki also." Oh really... By now he has put some shorts on. I'm a bit relieved.

As we are walking he invites me to teach him English. He is working on Kastellorizo while his wife and two sons remain in Rhodes. One is a qualified chef, the other is studying Medicine. Dimitri,(we know each others names now) is working to pay for his son's tuition, his wife remains in Rhodes to look after them, despite them being adults.

Now I am really bored and my eyes begin to glaze over. Suddenly he stops, turns toward me and standing tall, hands spread wide across chest says "I am big man." Oh no! We are facing each other now and I begin to notice he is very handsome, walnut brown all over, a white expanse of teeth growling at me. I feel like he is about to club me and take me to a cave. I am not up for a Shirley Valentine experience so I play dumb to the overture. I say something really silly. Dimitri hardly notices.

I have met the Kazzie version of Zorba, ready to take on every woman on the island, never mind their age or circumstance. A feeling of deep disappointment sweeps over me. I love my morning routine. Will I now have to duck and dive to avoid this love starved country boy?

I suppose we all have these D.H Lawrence moments when the directness of the experience takes you by surprise. The Shirleys are welcome to him. I'm in a rage!

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