Summer 2014, A Prologue By Ludovico Moresco
So we find ourselves on the precipice of yet another summer season. For most of us, our tickets are booked, we haven’t had a carb since Christmas because we all know there are no carbs in giagia’s tiropites and glika. ‘Den paxainei’ she said. ‘Exeis adinatisei’ she said. ‘Eisai kokalo’ she said”, which inevitably led us to finally get our monies worth out of that neglected gym membership before we perpetuate our salmonesque mass-migration to the sacred spawning grounds we know as…Karpathos. We count down the days and hours, tweeting and #tbt’ing the previous summers’ exploits to further highlight how impatient we’ve become with the slow progression of time until our departure from this wretched country. Let’s face it, for us fortunate “frisbakia” our annual summer excursion to the island our forefathers fled from many years ago is our twisted version of the Hamptons; something our “American” friends will never understand until they come one summer and get alcohol poisoning, sun poisoning, heat stroke, and herpes within the first three days of their Karpathian adventure.
We romanticize our Karpathian summers (usually the portions we can actually remember) on our little island of Eden, no relation to Edem. Karpathos is a magical land with some of the best juxtapositions one could ever hope for; like a cross of the Flintstones and the Jetsons. Who cares that there’s less gasoline than the ‘77 oil crisis (read a book). A green-licence plate brought over from the states during the good ol’ Clinton years is easily equivalent to a Ferrari in the xorio when the throngs of the vehicularly challenged are all clamoring for a ride. We’ve all fallen for the oldest con in the Karpathian hitchhikers repertoire, a “buddy” or “cousin” walking down the mountain who guilts you for a ride. On the plus side, that four-wheeled relic of the booming 90s gives you the advantage to take that girl that was pre-approved for you on a scenic drive to that remote church in your xorio for some “candle lighting” and still have her back in time for the curfew imposed by giagia, maybe. The fortunate who live in Pigadia can replace “church in the xorio” to “Xsenona/Vronti beach”.
Who cares that while we don’t have enough energy to power the sound-system at Heaven, we absolutely need all 10 air-conditions in our homes to run at 16 degrees centigrade 24/7 (those of us who are baller enough to not need a bonendis to keep us cool), the Wifi, the Nova satellite, all the laptops, iPads, PS4/X-Box1, straightening/curling irons/blow dryers powered? Then there’s the precedence the new turf field takes over an actual, functioning hospital (instead we’re stuck with a “first aid” center that has the same capabilities now as it did when it was probably built by the Italians or Germans in the ‘30s; at least they have enough saline bags to cure the all too common cases of alcohol poisoning, and for more serious cases they have a resident yiayia who can perform a serious xsematiasma coupled with some holy-water from the mitropoli, a fakelo to the despoti and you’re golden…err…probably closer to silver in reality. I can go on and on but it’s already been done to death.
The irony doesn’t end there however; unlike other Soccer Tournaments that only come every four years (World Cup for what?), we have our very own topiko that runs every summer where the various villages who have the organizational prowess to actually form a village team proper and not some JV amalgamation of the rejects from other villages, or simply those whose villages couldn’t be bothered to put together a coherent team before the deadline, and don’t forget the loanees from Albanian Serie Z Soccer. We get to relish in the athletic prowess of our compatriots who toil on the dirt field for the honor to play on the wilted grass field to attain the glory of the plastic cup/herpes petri-dish that surprisingly has yet to melt under the constant assault of bottom-shelf liquor and viral colonies who can soon claim self-determination of that very Cup. Often times, the off-field politics and drama are more interesting than the games themselves; especially with the Saturday night Coaches (with the best FIFA ‘14 skills) who drunkenly correct all the wrongs of their favorite team (if only we could get Messi to play for us…), or the behind the scenes wrangling to get certain players to play for whatever xorio can offer the best incentive to the much coveted soccer talents the island has to offer. The dedication is astounding though. Soccer is no joke in Karpathos. I will not deny that it is a wonderful way to wind-down after a day at the beach getting your tan on, cliff-diving, OD’ing on Freddo, and looking at the daring europeans’ exposed boobs. Word to the wise: if you have to: “get ready”, wear make-up, or overcompensate your allegiance to your village don’t even bother coming. You’ve clearly missed or drastically cut short a beach day so you can sit on filthy “chairs” and watch sub-par soccer played by kids who’d rather be drinking and making bad decisions with someones future nifi. Likewise for the women, a soccer game should never be considered a first date, a feeding ground for potential grambroi, or a platform for your recent accomplishments at FDF or whatever the fuck passes for “kali nifi” material. Save that for the uncomfortable cafeneo sessions around 8pm before you head to wherever your partners in crime are trying to either drink Hoegaarden in an attempt to seem cool or likewise forcing down some vodka and tuborg in an attempt to drink “clean’” (vodka has calories too, so maybe cut out that second serving of Pastitso). Back on topic….
A new phenomenon in Karpathian Sports is the Basketball tournament. Finally, a topiko that us frisbakia can dominate (even if it is with dumbass FIBA rules). Amerikanakia are literally the black people of Karpathian Basketball, they dominate and the team with the most frisbakia usually wins (read: Aperi and Othos*). The only sad part is when some of the little LeBrons bring over HS (or GOYA) rivalries from the States and eventually end up in fisticuffs (usually after drinking two Corona’s) outside of Heaven. That’s bush league if you ask me, and shows the decline of the fabled Karpathian Club Brawls of yesteryear (ask some of your uncles if you don’t know what I’m alluding to). I’d rather save my energy fighting over the last bottle of Jack Daniels, someone holding up the minibus at 4 in the morning when there’s no room left, or the odd dopio (local karpathians who live all year round) who forgets that certain “frisbakia” are not like the others who bolt at the slightest flinch, but I’m a lecherous badass who could care less about Dingleberry HS beating Peckerwood Regional in the semi-finals. I never really understood the lure of playing sports in Karpathos (besides the occasional wind-surfing to pick up surfer chicks at the Baja parties or the zembekiko dance-off at 4 in the morning). Why would you want to waste your precious beach/gyro/freddo espresso/ drinking/ UFO demolition time training and “doing the right thing”. Then again, some people get untold satisfaction from being the Messi of a rag-tag team of Barcelona-wannabes.
The entertainment abounds however. We can’t forget about our favorite watering holes (at least the ones that haven’t gone out of business or have lost their loyal customer bases to the mainstream flavor of the summer). I personally love walking in to my favorite bar where the staff has known me for the better part of my life and I’m wagering you all have one such bar as well. They play the music you like (unless you’re hopping on the bandwagon with your parea and stay outside and order one drink counting down the minutes until it’s time to hear the same 20 songs on repeat that have most likely been the same songs you’ve blacked out to for the previous four summers you’ve been allowed off your parents leash at edem or the cafeneo deemed acceptable by the village of your origin. Sadly, very few bars remain in Pigadia and this had led to the drinking population dividing themselves along age groups. Niche bars are now mainstream and the regulars are left with an influx of unappreciative patrons just looking to be apart of what the cool kids are up to. C’est la vie. By the time we get the minibus to one of the two clubs worth going to (or find someone who’s not *that* drunk to give us a ride) we better be wasted or else it’ll be a night of either a) mooching from an overzealous bottle-buyer or b) sitting all melancholy by the food truck eating food and waiting for a fight to break out over something trivial. So use your time wisely before ending up at Heaven/Fever or don’t even bother; no body likes a debbie downer when Juicy eventually comes on.
Last but certainly not least: Beaches. The fucking beaches man. Beaches make it all worth while. I’m not even talking about the major ones that certain sects seem to only go to. Kyra Panagia is a great beach, for one or two visits perhaps. Axata is a good staple when you’re not up to driving too far, but you need a chair unless you like tanning on rocks taliban-style. There are so many beaches to explore in Karpathos that you could literally go to a different beach every day (and if you don’t, ntropi) and thoroughly enjoy each and every one. Don’t let the dirt roads fool you, a good enough driver can handle it without a truck; you may have to stop and walk the rest of the way for some of more secluded beaches but lets face it, all those calories you drank, the gyros, the crepes, yiayia’s tendency to force feed you like you’re about to be the next foie gras meal for dinner need to come off somehow and fist pumping doesn’t cut it (sorry volaguidiotes).
*Someone needs to get some doping tests done on that team.
Well, this is it for the primer of Karpathos Summer 2014. We’ll be periodically coming out with more of these types of articles leading up the grand exodus to our Mecca. As always, requests for articles are welcomed. We can be reached through our twitter or email MorescoBrothers@gmail.com