Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Feeling like a tourist in Kea

Don’t go to a tourist town in the off season. It ain’t worth it. There’s plenty to be said for visiting places during times besides the high season, but not if the low-season is a no-season. We’re currently in Kea, an island that is apparently famous for being close to Athens. I say this because whenever we’re asked why are we visiting Kea and we shrug and smile, the local undoubtedly says, “well I guess it’s close to Athens,” before overcharging us.

Perhaps if we were wealthier visiting Kea in May wouldn’t be so bad. The other night a group of maybe twenty old rich white people from the world over all dressed in togas had dark-skinned Greeks serving them tapas on the beach before they all retired to their private yachts, carrying their $200 high heels to spare their poor feet. That sounds like fun, what we’ve been dealing with is anything but.

Two days ago the wind picked up and all the rich people sailed away with their yachts. This dropped the population of Kea down to triple digits. I think Raquel and I currently make up around 25% of this island’s source of income. Anywhere we go hungry eyes watch us pass. I feel like a dog that just walked into a flea circus. Waiters sniff us from restaurants and bartenders waft coffee in our direction. The food is good, at least at the nicer places, and fortunately the two of us can eat drink and be merry for around 30 euros a meal. Not terrible for a roast chicken, fresh potatoes, tabouli and wine but to pay that for fried eggs, white bread and a coffee? Fortunately our AirBnB has a kitchen.

What’s really getting to me though is the little things. Like the other day we went somewhere that had wifi, and ordered a glass of juice, for 6.50! I can get a half a bottle of wine at a nice restaurant for 4 euros. Why is it that if we go anywhere but the nicest places we are considered nothing more than a source of income. It’s happened with coffee, with bars, with a taxi ride. Even the postcards are overpriced! This wasn’t the case on the island of Syros.

Ah… Syros. Where people smiled when they saw us and had menus with English and Greek. Here all the prices are written in pencil. I understand if I’m buying a ribeye steak or a fresh swordfish but a cup of coffee? Why is that because we’ve come to this island outside the regular time, we are being forced to pay extra? They’d all be starving without us! They make it seem that anyway.

Sorry about the rant, but I had to share. Maybe Kea is nice in July and August, when its swarming with tourists and the vultures have plenty to choose from, but in May, go to Syros, the bustling capital of the Cyclades, for in Kea there are no wallets to be emptied but yours.

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