Thursday, April 10, 2008

Places to stay.

I had just finished biking through the city of Patras, Greece and then going across the 2.5 mile bridge into a sleepy little country town. I was a bit frazzled by the trip through Patras, it had been rush hour traffic and I had spent about two hours negotiating my way through the thick mass of cars, buses, motorbikes, trucks and such. I was relieved to be out of the fray but it was getting dark and I had to find a place to sleep. I usually check out the churches in towns for a yard to sleep in but this particular town's church had no yard, not even a court yard to speak of, so I headed out of town. I spied a horse pasture but it was right next to a road and house so I continued on a bit further. I passed a grove of olive trees with a bent over old man and a woman in a dress among the trees herding their sheep and chickens into a little shed. I thought to myself what an idyllic life, a grove of olive trees, sheep, chickens and a garden, everything they need. A simple stress free life. I bicycled on by and as the road narrowed and the country side opened up the camping options dwindled. No woods or olive groves to hide in. I turned around and headed back into town and as I made my way I passed the old man who had been in the sheep field. He was on an ancient rickety bike with a contraption on the front rack that held his milk bucket. He had a traditional Greek cap on, was dirty from milking and had absolutely huge farmer hands, short stubby and muscular from years of work. I said "yahsus" , he stopped and smiled and then I proceeded to make a little tent with my hands and then put my hands together under my cocked head to indicate sleeping and then began to shrug my shoulders to ask where I could camp when he said... " do you speak English". We both laughed. We spoke for some time as I anxiously watched the sun go lower and lower and disappear. Then he told me to come with him. I followed him to his yard and he told me I could camp there and when I got my tent set up for me to come to the house. I spent the evening with him and his wife, she did not speak a lick of English but he was fluent. He was also fluent in world politics and economics. He could tell me what was going on with our election process, what the candidates were claiming to believe and for whom he would vote... Hillary. We also talked about personal economics. He asked me what the average slsary at home was and what kind of taxes we paid. Turned out he did not pay any taxes in Greece, he and his wife made less than twelve thousand dollars a year. They made their money on their olive grove and kept the animals and garden as a supplement. Some years were good and some were very bad. They fed me a dinner of their lamb, cheese, and eggs and I went back to my tent stuffed full. The next morning I met him at their sheep shed and helped do some chores and played with the day old lambs. I had coffee with him, his wife and his sister who lived next door. I asked how they made their cheese. The farmer began to explain but then the wife and the sister took over. They fought over the stage, each grabbing one utensil or another and demonstrating what to do with it as if they were on a cooking show and then arguing with one another about whether they had done it right or not. One would use the utensil and look at me and smile then the other would grab it from her hands and shake her finger at me or the sister and use the utensil in another way. I don't know how they ever made cheese. I was sent off with 6 boiled eggs, and about 4 pounds of cheese, bread and fresh milk. Life was good.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy
It sure does sound like an idyllic life. Isn't it amazing how generous soome people are & friendly? Did you find out how he became fuent in English? I bet he wanted to leave wife & sister-in-law & hit the open road with you! You always describe things so that I get a wonderful visual!! Can't wait for more & especially your safe return!
Love,Mom

bonycrow said...

yeah, ditto on all of that.
p.s. pix to come soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy, I finally checked out your blog. It looks like you have had and are having a fantastic trip. (Of course I think I deserve some credit). The photos of Thailand looked familiar. I had a dream the other night that your girlfriend was a high school principal and was pregnant with twin girls through in-vitro fertilization. Be well I'm glad you are having a great time. Kim K from Illinois

bonycrow said...

holy cow! the secret's out! damn those premonitory dreams.