Thursday, September 3, 2009

The making of sand tennis bats

Into our second week here in Limnos and I still can't believe the sun hasn't stopped shining - the sky has been a constant spread of blue and the temperature hasn't shifted outside of 25 overnight and 31 during the day. It's now siesta time and everyone is sleeping except me. I don't sleep during this time - sometimes I read or I go to the beach, or if I can bring myself indoors, I write on the blog.

So here I have dragged myself to Tony's laptop to bring you up to speed with all that is Limnian. Starting with the pharmacist's dirty brown monstrosity of a dog that some people here call a chow chow, but I'm sure it's a walrus. We see this "dog" everywhere in Myrina. Every which way you look, there it is. And it's always dirty. Especially around the latter parts of its body. Almost every day we've seen it slumped outside someone's shop, waddling down a laneway, begging at someone's feet in a taverna, or looking lost on the beach. We thought it was just another stray island dog, of which there are almost as many as cats, until today we saw the local pharmacist of all people, loading it up on his moped (yes, on his moped) to take him home. See photos further down for visual proof.

Speaking of mopeds, yesterday we tested our "upgrade" on a long trip north of the island. Upgrade being a major overstatement. Our Super Sports moped appears no more competent than our Typhoon of the first few days, except that it can do 16kph up hills instead of 15. Anyway, we resigned to the fact that this is as good as it gets and took the little putter along the west coast from Myrina through Avlonas where the views we both agreed were more spectacular than the Great Ocean Road. We then rode into the village of Kaspakas where the streets are narrower than footpaths, and then inland through the hot, dry mountain ranges of Limnos which was an area I really wanted to see. The long and hilly road eventually ended up at the Air Force radar station where we discovered tourists on mopeds were most unwelcome. The views from up there were just out of this world but there was no way the soldier on guard was going to let me take a photo. I really wanted to capture the contrast between the harshness and endless consistency of the mustard-yellow landscape with the softness of the brilliant blue ocean and sky, but there wasn't another point on our journey yesterday where I found this phenomenon all in the one view, except where the soldier was.

When we got back to the house, Tony headed straight for the workshop with dad to finish the "sand tennis bat" project. The two of them spent many slaved and sweated hours in the workshop cutting the wood, glueing the wood, filing the wood, sanding the wood, staining the wood, to finally produce two of the most sophisticated, finely engineered sand tennis bats you could possibly imagine. You can buy these things for 2 euros at the souvenir shop, but ours, oh my god, OURS are masterpieces. The souvineer versions don't have jarrah handles now do they! We will be the envy of all Limnians when we strut off down to the beach tomorrow.

Our little ride yesterday left us with a rather nasty dose of sunburn so today we are "shading" it. We joined Tony Whitefield and his wife Despina for lunch at our favourite taverna, "Platinos". I work with Tony at Swinburne, and Despina has a family house here in Limnos where they spend several weeks each year. We feasted on stuffed peppers and tomatoes, Greek salad and ouzo. Tonight we are going to their place in Karpasi for dinner on their rooftop terrace to watch the sunset, and will stay there overnight. It will be interesting to see how we'll carry our overnight bags AND the galaktobouriko (Greek custard pastries) on the moped...

But for now, some more photos:

Our "Super Sports" moped. So snazzy...



The Sand Tennis Bat Project. Part 1: Cutting the wood



The Sand Tennis Bat Project. Part 2: Filing the wood



Sand Tennis Bat Project. Part 3: The end



Siesta time at Myrina Port.



Giving way to Limnian goats.
Lunch at Platinos with the two Tonys and Despina.



I am the walrus.
The Pharmacist and the Walrus.


and I am the cat.
My next report will be The Initiation of the Sand Tennis Bats.
Until then,
Lisa xx