Journal 6 -- May 18, 2006
Replacing lost medicines and preparing to leave Mykonos

By Bob Corbett

Back on our third day, when we left Athens, I left my medicines in the little drawer next to my bed. I discovered this the first evening in Santorini when I went to get them out. [Later addition Ė when I got home and unpacked my suitcase I discover I left two other small items in that drawer as well. Blast!]

The next day, our first full day on Santorini, we went up to the far end of the island, Ia -- I wrote about that some time ago. However, I forgot about the medicines. Just as we walked into the tiny streets of Ia we passed a pharmacy and went in. I started to tell the pharmacist my story and excuses and all but he politely interrupted me and said: What doses do you take? I was rather surprised, thought he didn't realize I was talking about prescription drugs, but he just laughed and said: We make things very easy here in Greece. Now what dosage do you take.

And both my blood pressure meds and cholesterol meds were replaced and I even picked up some aspirin since I also take one of those a day.

Very nice people and the medicine bill total was just slightly above my normal cost, which is after my insurance has paid the massive part and I only pay a small co-pay. That co-pay would be the normal price for those meds in that pharmacy in Ia, Greece.

I just missed two nights of my meds, no big deal.

Yesterday was a marvelous day here on Mykonos. The meltime winds were raging, but it was a bright and hot sun. Any time when we were wandering along the tiny streets -- by the way, Sally and I checked MOST OF THEM, just a few exceptions, are not quite three foot wide, smaller than most sidewalks at home, and the buildings, shops and dwellings are right there, so you are walking in a bright white tunnel, since all the buildings are gleaming white, and the walkway are very large stones with grey filling between them. Quite beautiful.

In any case, we were, of course, lost most of the time, not caring. Every now and again we'd take a street that led to the waterfront and then we could hardly breathe or walk against the wind. We would hurry to the next corner and rush up the first street to the first left or right, and be back in the peace of the maze, and of course, having not the slightest idea where we were, nor caring.

We stumbled upon the post office mainly by accident and Sally got some stamps. I plan to save my postcard mailing until we get to Turkey. She plans to finish hers today and mail them either here or in Samos before we go to Turkey.

After another marvelous meal again yesterday we returned home rather early. When we sat for lunch at an outside cafe, we had to move tables to get one where the winds weren't threatening to blow our food away, we wanted to just take our time and order some appetizers first. We love the filled grape leaves, but this time Sally noticed that they were also listed in the HOT appetizers list. These were simply outstanding since they were filled with meat and rice (and tons of great spicing). The cold one tends to be just rice filled. We also got a huge Greek salad and a plate of tiramisu (don't know how to spell that), but the pinkish fishy dip there is outstanding, the really cheap plate (3 E) was just huge. Those and a second beer and basket full of bread was a lot of food.

But, after sitting there nibbling away on these for over an hour, we ordered a smaller item, a chicken soulavaki and another order of the grape leaves and split those instead of getting an entree.

The waiter insisted we have a drink on him and we thought it was this incredibly smooth ouzo, and so I asked him what brand. But it wasn't ouzo at all but some other Greek after dinner drink that looks like ouzo -- just clear liquid, but was some other name that seemed to begin with an "m." Wish I knew what it was.

We returned home, Sally took a long nap, I a shorter one. I've been rereading one of my favorite books, James Joyce's POTRAIT OF AN ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, a novel I've so enjoyed since in many many ways it just seems like it is my own life he is writing about and not (supposedly) the fictional character, Stephen Dedalus, who does remind one greatly of Joyce himself. So I sat INSIDE near a window, since the heat of the sun was on our balcony and it was both too bright and too warm. Later after Sally woke and the sun started down, our balcony was bathed in shade and we went outside, each of us reading, loving the early evening.

I had purchased just a few pieces of fruit at a stand next to our hotel and we had a feast where each of us had: a half large plum, an apricot, half a red pepper, half a delicious and odd looking pear, three cherry tomatoes and half an apple. That and a bottle of stunning Metsovo red wine (itís about the only one we've been drinking and tend to share a bottle of it every evening on our balcony).

This hotel is really special. Hotel Phillipi. Simply lovely. Sparkling clean room, large bathroom, TV if one wanted it which we never did, enough space, but each room has a charming balcony overlooking the hotel's own LUSH garden. It seems most rooms have a balcony, but ours was just so comfortable with a round table and three chairs. Each night we sat out reading until the light failed, then eating then sharing a bit of ouzo and chatting.

Bob Corbett standing on the balcony at the Hotel Phillipi in Mykonos

The lush back garden in our hotel in Mykonos

[Added data on our Mykonos hotel]

Our hotel in Mykonos was:

Hotel Philippi in Mykonos town
25 Kalogera str.
84 600 Mykonos ~ Greece
Tel: 22890 22294

We were off season, but were able to have our room for 45 Euros a night.

I first purchased a small thin bottle of ouzo here. It was just two euros. But while using it, I realized this was PRECISELY what I wanted. It has a lovely cork in the bottle, and the stem of the cork is nicely encased in plastic to make it work smoothly. I have been so wanting a nice set of cruets for my table when I go home since I am promising myself a daily Greek salad for the summer at least.

When I told Sally of my plan she wanted a set. So we now have gone back to that little grocery and purchased three more bottles. Each of us will get two of them when they are empty, and for four euros each we not only get lots of smooth and tasty ouzo, but a set of cruets for olive oil and vinegar for our summer salads. Very cute little bottles.

Also while out yesterday we passed a shop that had some ouzo glasses. One type are rather tall, about 7 inches but not very large around, no larger round than a shot glass. We had ouzo at Olive on Santorini in such glasses. But the shop only had touristy ones with Mykonos or Greece or some gods on them, and I don't like touristy stuff, but wanted plain glass. This kind shopkeeper left his shop, walked us several doors up the block, shouted up some stairs for Nicholas, and when he came, told him what we wanted. We went up these very rickety stairs and were in a warehouse jammed with shelves. I found two glasses, but the woman managed to explain to us with virtually no English and us no Greek at all, that this was a wholesale outlet and those were the only MODELS of that glass she had. But then we found one I liked ever better and even taller, so I purchased two of those for my home, Sally passing on the ouzo glasses. I had to pay a whole one Euro for each!!!!! I was simply thrilled. We did walk back down and thanked the tourist merchant for taking us there to the warehouse.

[Later addition: Home now and so regretful I have only TWO of those marvelous ouzo glasses. Iíve found that Vivianoís Italian market on the Italian Hill here in St. Louis sells a very lovely brand of Greek ouzo, and I have one every evening before bed with two small squares of dark chocolate. It is really delicious. I put less than one shot glass full of ouzo in the bottle of this tall glass. The ouzo is clear like water. Then I slowly pour water and crush ice into the glass and the ouzo gets very cloudy. The drink has a refreshing and liquorish taste, and settles my stomach nicely. But, I wish I had more of the glasses to serve others when I have guests.]

We have checked out of the hotel. But the lady has allowed us to leave our bags there. Tonight will not be the easiest of our nights. We have a 11:10 PM ferry to catch at the "new" port a few kilometers from the heart of Mykonos. But we're already been to the central square called "Taxi Square" and we can get a taxi to the port for 4 Euro, and we will.

There is a further complication. Tonight is the Euro cup final between Barcelona and Arsenal and I have to see that game or risking dying of disappointment. But the game doesn't begin until 9:45 PM. So, what we plan to do is just walking around today, sit at a cafe or so, and finally about 8 PM set up in some restaurant where the game will be shown (my strong guess is that is every restaurant in the Greek islands. No one in Europe will miss this match).

Then we will have our dinner and at least I can watch the first half, then we'll hustle off to Taxi Square and race to the port. Crazy, but sounds workable.

[Addition to this note: Ah, me, the best laid plans of mice and men sometime agangly go! All went very well actually and we had a feast of a meal, the TV was about 4 ft. square and dozens were there to see the game and the first half went fine. Then we hoisted up our luggage and went the 20-25 steps to Taxi Square. OH, oh, oh. Dozens and dozens of people lined up for taxis. And time was ticking for our ferry.

I hustled us up a side street to catch the taxis coming into Taxi Square before they go there and head off that line. Two taxis sped by, but one stopped. He managed to explain in broken language it was against the law to pick up fares except at the square. He could get fined. I moaned and groaned about our ferry about to leave, and he decided he could risk this ticket for 10 E, not the normal fare of 4 E to the port. Okay, okay, so I let him takes us for a ride, literally. We may have lost 6 E, but we got to the ferry in time.]

Next note may be from either Samos, or in Turkey....

Later all.
Bob Corbett



Bob Corbett