Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plomari or Los Pallos Verdes?


The views from the third story of my brother's place in Plomari Greece. Being Scandinavian (or a long time resident of Denmark, anyway) he likes to huddle downstairs in the dark during the hot afternoon hours, watching Monty Python or Australian Rules Football, but being a Montrealer, someone who can stand REAL heat, not small time heat like here in Greece ;) I like to open the windows and spread the shutters on top and feel the warm breeze waft or sometimes blow through. And besides, I watch enough media at home.

(It's funny, years ago, when my family would go to Old Orchard Beach, my brother, then a teen, would spend his days inside, watching the American TV Stations and only go out at night to play pinball. He hasn't changed: but whenI remark upon this he denies it. But he's had this house for years and admits he 's never been on a beach. I am going to drag him to the best beach here that is but 1 kilometer away.

It may say 105 outside, but it's fine as far as I am concerned, and great at night, like the very best Montreal summer nights, without the ever-looming thunderstorms, although I'm not too stupid, I don't do anything much in the heat at midday and I'm not going to fry on the beach, despite my Mediterrean colouring.

OK. So these, above, are world class views, it reminds me of Los Pallos Verdes in LA with a little Street Car named Desire ambience thrown in, women yelling at men, men yelling at women, both yelling at kids, mothers in law yelling at everyone, kids crying, kids laughing, kids having profound discussions with each other, their whispers carrying up through the stairwells, kids playing for hours, clippety clack, on same echoey stairwells. If I could understand Greek I would know all the neighbours' business. (Ironically, one night, I started to sing Hallelujah on the porch listening to my iPod and someone slammed a window shut!)

And the food is great of course. And the wine is cheap, but I am not drinking as much as I thought I would. Who needs to drink when the sun is perpetually shining? That's Prozac enough, as everyone knows.

Oh, yes, and with respect to Flo in the City, my book in progress about a girl coming of age in the 1910 era, I've had plenty of time to read The Great Silence by Juliet Nicolson, which is about the post war period through the eyes of ordinary and extraordinary Edwardians. She mentions Coco Chanel of course and says that she used stretchy material in her clothing because that was what the jockeys used and her boyfriend BOY was into the horses.

But I had read she used that material because the established couturiers made sure she couldn't get the typical materials used in haute couture.... so she had to improvise using men's underwear material. Whatever the truth, it proves necessity is the mother of invention and you have to be in the right place at the right time. Nicolson's book beautifully illustrates this...without being blunt.. it's just left there for you to figure out yourself.

My husband, Flo's great nephew, with his Scottish blood hates the heat, and although I'm sure he would like to be here with me, he might find it torture . His favorite weather was my standard poodle's favorite weather, cold and damp. And my dh doesn't mind the extreme cold either. He just suits up like a spaceman and goes out for a long walk. I huddle all winter in the house, and drink wine...and watch Mamma Mia on the big HD screen over and over.

But one thing that might change, when I return, I may go for walks in my area. As it is, there are two hairpin turns on either side of my house and I am reluctant to go out as don't like having to be wary of cars coming my way out of the blue. The schoolbusses are the worst, they careen around the corner, even in icy conditions. Well, here, in Plomari, it's all wariness all the time. It's all narrow passages and crazy scooter and car and sometimes truck traffic and dogs underfoot and an occasional kid on a bike as in velociped.

One day I got a flashback to the sixties: two kids were doubled up on one bicycle and streaking downhill on the bumpy cobblestone road leading from my brother's home to the main square.. a narrow road with shopfronts shared by pedestrians carrying groceries or pushing baby carriages, young men (or couples with child) on motorbikes, dilapidated cars spewing exhaust and even small trucks. (I saw no donkeys but there are memorials at the side of the road, where people met their end.)
This morning, scoping the main drag for a place that serves eggs for breakfast, I found myself automatically stepping out of the way of some vehicle, as if it were second nature. Now I get it! The truth is Greece feels like home. Montreal, after all, is a multicultural place.