The food in general has been wonderful, because it’s fresh and simple. I have never tasted such an intense honeydew before. Fresh figs are amazing. Grilled tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and peppers with olive oil are simple yet delicious here. And then there are the fresh grilled anchovies, octopus, red snapper, sea bass, red mallet, swordfish, prawns, the egg roe salad, fresh sea urchin, and smoked trout that seems to be popular here. Greek salad with fresh feta cheese and the most flavourful olives. Grilled lamb. Greek yogurt with fig jam. I have a whole new appreciation of Greek food. I’ve always liked it, but everything tastes so much better in Greece.
But that alone is not the appeal of Greece, it’s the people. They are friendly. One night, our 20-something waitress brought us a free round of drinks after dinner, which seems to happen here all the time, but she brought a 5th drink and had the shot with us. Just like that. There is no tipping here, so it’s not as if they are fishing for a bigger tip either. I know the Greek economy is in shambles, but the social system has until recently treated them well, so the career and wages of a waitress are meant to cover their needs.
There is no “Hi, I’m Suzy and I will be your waitress” intro. The waiters and waitresses here are dignified, friendly, unobtrusive. My friend L., who has social perception tentacles all over him in a way I never will, even proposed that the waiters move differently earlier in the evening when they serve large groups of tourists versus later at night when locals are dining. I have no idea how he picks these things up, but I have to trust him, because I don’t notice such tiny nuances of human behaviour. This talent of his is like singing, which I can’t do either but totally admire.
Since I had so much fun on my first solo Mykonos sketching day, I took another day off from my travel companions. I skipped the beach in favour of meandering through the maze of narrow streets that is Mykonos. Mopeds can still go through even the tightest spots, and they will. Even cars and mini trucks get into some places that we North Americans would not dream of attempting to drive through.
An old man with a cane very slowly walked through my drawing just as I was finishing, as if on cue. His extremely slow speed allowed me plenty of time to capture him.
I half stood, half sat on a slanted ledge to draw this, I really had to press against the white washed walls to stay in the right position for this view. When I was done, the seat of my beige pants had turned chalky white. Those traces of chalk may be my best souvenir of Mykonos.
Continuing my solo sketching day, I decided it was a great idea to sit in the shade of an awning at a bar by the water in the late afternoon with an iced coffee. The view westward to the setting sun and to the Little Venice area of Mykonos is beautiful.
I like to brag that I can handle the heat, but I almost melted as the sun dropped below the awning and started hitting me. Soon I was feeling quite off.
I had to stop once I finished the line drawing and decided to add the colour later. I was completely out of blue watercolour after using the last few molecules to do the sky, so later I used my blue Pitt pen for the water.
I was getting worried about heat stroke. I crawled back to the hotel slowly, stopping for a gelato and some water in the shade. That gelato took me a long time to eat because the heat had slowed me down. After that I felt better.
Overall though I was so happy with my solo sketching day that I decided to take another one.