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Paros Shepherd Newsletter Number Seventeen


Published 15 July 04                                     

Greetings from Paros
    Our newsletter is much shorter this month as the season gets busy.  Our newsworthy event occurred yesterday, 14 July as THE Olympic Flame spent several hours on the roads of Paros.  It was certainly a unique event worth experiencing, but none of my photos are worthy of the kilobytes to include them.  The Olympics are certainly having many impacts throughout Greece, some good some less so.  The long anticipated event will soon be upon us--the official dates are 13 -29 August.
    One un-anticipated impact of the Flame relay across Crete was the discovery of several cannabis fields by the police helicopter that was escorting the runners.  Nothing exciting like that ever happens on Paros, except it was quite the event when Greece won the Euro 2004 Football.  We watched it at our local taverna.  The Greek audience reaction added excitement to the game; then our quiet village was an explosion of sound and light when the match ended with Greece 1, Portugal 0.  We do enjoy life here!
From Karin:

The Paralia


Paralia, Greek for “beach” is one of the reasons people come to stay in our village.  Alyki has a total of three beaches, but the one that is the most used is found in the centre of the village in a small bay with a few guest pensions and homes scattered at each end. 


Why do I, personally love the paralia?  Let me show you….


An alternative to taking my scooter to the market is to take the beach route.  I remember when living in Ireland it meant driving to the market town and joining the never ending mad scramble to find a parking spot.  Well, here in Alyki, I just slowly saunter along the sandy beach, sometimes wading in the water, sometimes not; picking up interesting coloured stones or shells to shove into my pockets!  The cicadas sing to me as I pass under the soft needled trees imported from Australia over 50 years ago, or so I am told.


I pass several tavernas, some with tables and chairs on the sand, or in one instance, actually on a little quay built out into the water, which is very romantic for night time dining!  At the centre of the paralia is a very small park with a kiosk that sells sweets and ices, cigarettes and crisps.  It is open during all hours of the day and night.  The little park also accommodates the one and only bus stop.  Here also are children of all ages, playing on the swings.  Small kiddies during the day, young and hopeful teens in the early evening!


Photo Photo by Ray Keppie, Australia


If I were to turn left onto a little used road taking you out of Alyki to the East, I will find the new pharmacy and the butcher. But let's turn right and go around the corner at the park and continue walking to the end of the bay.  Along this side is the mini market, a tourist agency and scooter rental/gift shop and more tavernas.  These businesses keep Alyki alive.  Once there was a “hole in the wall” ATM, but one night the cash was stolen; ripped right out of the wall!  The mini market does not like anything larger than a 20 Euro note, so you can see, we think small here even though as a community Alyki is big in heart!


 When I arrive at the mini market, I am always greeted by Christos, the owner, with an enthusiastic, “Yassou, ti kanis?”.  He usually is sitting at the counter, or at a table outside, sipping a frappe… if to say he has no worries at all.  When I pay for my groceries, he often takes money out of his pocket in order to complete the transaction!  If I am short of cash, Christos replies, “No matter, come back tomorrow”, and then promptly forgets it!  He is lucky I don't forget!


If my journey is taken in the early morning, the main fishing quay will be busy with the local fishermen selling their fish straight off their little “caciques” or small fishing boats! This is where I like to sit a moment and just look out to sea.  If the wind is blowing, (and it often is), then there are white caps further out in the deep blue, but in the bay itself, it is more protected.  Here the water is shallow and crystal clear so that you can actually see the ripples of sand on the bottom and the schools of fish swimming along. The colour is several shades of blue and aquamarine and the sun makes the ripples sparkle and glisten like many faceted jewels, forcing me to wear my sunglasses.  Behind me a taverna is opening for breakfast, with customers taking sips of fresh squeezed orange juice and putting butter on fresh baked bread from the local bakery.  They look very contented.  The canaries are cheerfully singing at “Manolis”, my favourite taverna for hamburgers and ouzo.


If it is mid-morning, then swimmers are venturing out.  First to come are the older flabby ladies and gents who prefer having the beach to their selves for daily swimming exercises and gossip.  Coming around noon are the beautiful young women and men, who seriously work on their tans and delight in showing off their gorgeous bodies to each other.  At any time there are children of all ages, who seem to never tire of building sand castles, splashing and jumping, pestering parents, learning to snorkel and crying when time to go home.


Walking further out along the beach, I see olive trees and goats in fields. I could convince myself that I am living in Biblical times because the Cycladic architecture has a Middle Eastern feel to it, rather than typical Mediterranean, and seems ageless.  Life changes very slowly here in many ways, but really that is the charm of it all.


As you can see, the beach is pure joy for me and I like to make it last as long as I can.  Who needs drugs?  I can get high by just going to market along the paralia!





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