That's one of two words of Greek I have picked up - the other being "ef-heri-stor", which means "thank you" (working on my theory that "thank you" is the most useful phrase to know in any language, with the possible exception of "sorry").
We're here in sunny downtown Naoussa Harbour, the second-biggest town on Paros, one of the many islands in the Greek Cyclades. We visited Mykonos before arriving here on Wednesday, and tonight we depart for a couple of days on Ios, then a few days in Santorini, before our 10-and-a-half hour ferry trip back to Athens (yep, looking forward to that one!).
The Greek Islands are really quite different to what I imagined - I hadn't really done much research, and I all knew for certain is that there were a lot of white houses with blue roofs. That's true, but I didn't realise how barren the islands are. The shrubbery and plantlife is different, but it's the same colour brown as half the Australian bush! There's very few trees, with the exception of the odd olive grove, and talk about a water shortage. It rains so little here (at least over the summer season) that most islands have desalination plants. We have to try to keep our showers short - of course, being from Brisbane, that's no hassle. Also, the sewerage system cannot handle toilet paper, so after you go to the loo, you have to throw the paper into a bin provided. It's a bit wrong and very gross, but you get used to it. I'll just have to remember to discard the habit once I leave Greece!
Having said all that, the islands are lovely. The waters of the Mediterrean are everything I imagined - clear glass-coloured green mixed with dark blue. The beaches are nice (if a little pebbly), and the great thing is you don't have to wade through 30 metres of surf to get into the water - the edge of the beach is almost like the edge of a pool.
I'm surprised by how much Greg and I have become accustomed to the beachy lifestyle. Our accommodation in Mykonos was actually the Contiki resort (sister companies with Busabout etc, etc), and it allowed free sea-kayaking and beachside sun-beds. We enjoyed our hour out kayaking (I even accidently saw a grown man naked sunbathing on a rock!), and we had a great pizza by the beach on Tuesday evening. The atmos at the Contiki resort was relaxed and comfortable, even if most of the occupants were 19-year-olds obsessed with sun-tanning and sex. You should have heard the "Man-O-Man" competition they held one night. There was not a single question that didn't involve copulation. ;)
Paros is cheaper than Mykonos (yay!), and is where we truly discovered the joys of gyros. Pronounced "ye-ros", not "ji-rows", they are kinda like a kebab - a slice of grilled pita bread, filled with the meat of your choice, chips, salad and tzaziki. Best of all, they only cost about 2 euros. Fan-freaking-tastic. Greg actually found one for one euro last night. We struck the "One Euro gyros!" (It sounds funnier when said aloud).
We've being seeing a few sights, but mainly just chilling and enjoying the sunshine and warmth before our inevitable encounter with the Northern Hemisphere winter. I bought a great khaki skirt for 20 euros to replace my one and only pair of shorts, which had developed a huge split in the crotch.
Greg is currently recovering from a Natalie-induced injury: we had a drink at a lovely bar by the waterfront, and I wanted him to stand right near the water for a photo. Greg went to get close and promptly slipped on the slimy surface. I didn't notice at first because I was faffing about with the camera - I just thought he'd dropped his glass! Luckily he's mostly OK, just a sore back and a swollen finger that took the brunt of the fall. If that had been me, the injuries would be far worse, I'm certain of it!
Anyway, best be off for another gyros before we take the fast ferry to Ios. Apparently tonight's dinner is a mass buffet by the pool. Sigh. It's a tough life, but somebody's got to do it! ;)
Best wishes to all, Natalie.