Today was a day of lazing by the hotel pool, topping up my tan, and rewarding a hangover by doing absolutely fucking nothing.
Rest your head, oh idiotic one.
In the process, I ate a massive club sandwich for lunch with a mountain of potato wedges that would have fed a small African nation, resulting in me much later in the day apologising to my body by having no dinner at all.
The hangover began earlier at one of Mykonos' finest noshing joints: Kiku. It's where Greece meets Japan, then meets electronica-downtempo-Latino club dance DJ. It was quite a threesome, which brought quite the smile to my face. A wonderful sushi-wagu-nori-tempura food list, combined with an impressive international wine list and an impressive Hookah list, plus hip-wiggling music.
(Great recommend, Faye.)
Proceedings began with a couple of the best Aperol spritz I have ever had, and a bloody good chat at the bar with the barman. (Great Aperol recommend, Andy.) Then, because Japan in Greece, nonsensically a Sake Mohito or two.
Repairing to my table overlooking an impressive sunset, a fine bottle of something resembling Chardonnay met me, courtesy of brilliant advice by my server, accompanied by tempura, dumplings, pork belly Kabayaki style, finished with Kobe beef, and an unidentified palate-cleansing shot on the house. (Great cleanser, Albanian barman.)
A 350 Euro bill for dinner-for-one reinforced the scope and size of the hangover-to-be at its genesis.
Full to the brim, I had a wander, then hit a local bar to play on.
Mykonos is the quintessential multi-national party-place melting pot of Greece, and I am so glad to have experienced this part of the globe. These wonderful humans from everywhere make me feel not separate, but like I'm home. Whether interacting with smiling and honest talking locals, or Albanian barmen, or folk from across the globe (like the other Aussies splashing in the pool here beside eastern Europeans), there is a feeling of togetherness, and of letting go here, wherever anyone's from.
By day, I have been relaxing poolside, contemplatively consuming Mythos lager at a leisurely pace to keep hydrated. By night I have been haphazardly finding parties.
On one evening, I was sitting at a Mykonian tavern outside, street-side, approaching 10PM, watching the world go by, filling up with a moussaka treat and a bottle of accompanying. Having dinner so late for many European countries never made much sense to me before, but here it fits perfectly. It's warm, and the night is young, so finish up your leisurely meal, then find somewhere to act up, perfectly timed.
While eating, I noticed that of the hundreds pouring by, nobody smiles while meandering aimlessly through such wonderful sights, and sounds and smells and experiences. Is it awe? Mass resting bitch face? I don't get it. Surely I should be the one looking all dumpy, grumpy, mopey, and with good justification, yet there I sat with a smile, watching the to-ings and goings, laughing and joking with the wait staff about seemingly everything.
I guess an external disposition doesn't tell an entire story. My inner demons remain, depressingly heavy, and maybe those around me with mass resting bitch face are really happy inside. Who knows? Humans are a funny lot.
After moussaka, I got talking with a newlywed couple at the next table, who both worked for Apple in California. After swapping a lot of stories, and talking a lot of shit, they suddenly offered: "We're going to Cavo Paradiso after this. Come with?" And just like that, I randomed my way into yet another party.
Acting half my age is getting harder as the years roll by, and there was quite possibly no better example my brain found to reinforce this than Cavo Paradiso. Cue the quality exhaustion drinking and dancing in a heaving, sweaty mosh pit of DJ Alesso appreciating electronic craziness.
The club, which is spread over many outdoor levels, steppes down to a large pool area in the centre, with tables, and day beds, and is supported by many bars scattered throughout. The average age of its patrons seemed well below legal, so thinking I'm acting half my age may be being somewhat kind on myself. The place slowly built in fervour and volume of crowd as the evening and early hours heaved on.
I'm grinning like an idiot with my newfound newlywed friends, and yelling and drinking and mosh-pit dancing like a crazy person, and notice that the huge heaving crowd is devoid of smiles, despite the heaving, and the opulence, and the grog. It reminded me of a much more animated version of the hoards of smile-less humans passing my table earlier that evening. Go figure. We're having fun, yes?
My first genuine Greek pita gyro was consumed at 05:30 with the sky lightening to dawn, alongside a young and drunk bloke, who had become separated from his mates by a dead phone battery. He asked to use mine to let them know where he was.
With the night done properly, my ride arrived, and en-route, as the sky further lightened to a threatening daybreak, texts from my randomly acquired flat-battery posse came flooding in all the way back to the accommodation. "Yo its JC sitting by the lake... Pull up when u leave da club. PLEASE ADVISE!", "?? What lake?", "WTF r u?", "Come back to table- it's the last hour. Come dahak. Pls."
Yep. Acting half my age is getting harder.
Despite all the partying, I feel odd being on my own. Feelings of despair, and anguish have hit me often. This trip without a plan was supposed to help my head. For the first few days I didn't think it was.
Taking a night off, holed up in the hotel, and binge-watching some episodes of Vikings, full of killing, scheming, and rampant sex, gave me some time to reflect.
I realised that I am empty, but alive.
I realised that no amount of bikini-clad pool-side, or dance-floor heaving could ever fill any void in my heart, but that I do have a heart.
I realised that this trip is fast turning into a baptism of fire, forcing me fast to get used to being alone, and to expect that, and to live with that, and accept that, and that is helping me.
I recalled I hated booking a "table for one" at Kiku. Making the telephone call hurt my heart. It reinforced that my Jude is gone, and that she should be beside me experiencing all that these wonderful Greeks have to offer the world, with their "civilisation", and outrageous dance clubs.
So holed up in this room, in the front of my mind, I chit-chat the to's and fro's so far with my love, holding her gently in a slow and lazy imagined passionate embrace, limbs intertwined and sweaty in this Mediterranean heat, eyes locked, souls connected. And then I caress her smooth face, see her eyes glisten, then gently brush my fingers across her moist lips, as our hips meet in my mind.
Then she tells me to snap out of it, harden the fuck up, and get on with living, whilst gently triple-kissing my forehead.
Let's go to Santorini tomorrow, my love. It was on your bucket list, after all.