Women of The Rock

An orgy of luscious, long-legged and lean lesbitarians – playful nymphettes mincing about in the sand and sea.  Pillow fights and pedicures.  Baby oil and back rubs.  Sexy secrets shared in the dark.

That’s the fantasy image nursemyra, dolce and i played up for our recent holiday on the sunny island of Lesvos.

As the birthplace of Sappho, the poetess, the village of Skala Eressos has a long history with estrogen.  In recent decades, it has certainly evolved into a pilgrimage location for international lesbians.  Not just a place of historical significance, but a place where same-sex couples can hold hands and cuddle in public, without even the hint of a sideways glance of disapproval from passerby. 

The locals – Grecian families who have lived on the island for perhaps hundreds of years – don’t bat an eye.  They run the super market, bakery and retail establishments.  The sexual orientation of customers is of no concern.

During our stay, we easily developed connections with other guests at the apartments – due to the hospitality of the property caretakers.  Every morning, around 1015, we saw Liz, another guest, riding a borrowed bike into the village, swim fins sticking out of her backpack.  She never failed to invite us to join the group of women who did a daily “Swim to the Rock” – a short swim from a local seaside restaurant to a craggy rock in the sea.  And back*.

i was interested.  i used to be a swimmer, but did my swimming in chlorinated concrete pools.  Without waves.  No fish or sea urchins, either.  Living in the landlocked mid-west, opportunities to swim in the sea are fairly limited. 

Scuba diving is entirely different!  i have a 75 pound tank full of compressed air attached to my back.  i can breathe underwater that way.  Swimming in the sea?  Without a regulator?  That’s a bit different…  As much as i wanted to try it, i wasn’t sure how it would work.

But Liz continued to invite us.  Every morning.  i bought goggles in town – having been warned that a mask would be helpful to avoid grabbing a sea urchin upon arrival at The Rock.  Liz offered loaner fins.  The weather wasn’t entirely cooperative, as we had a couple of stormy days mid-week, and the swim was called off for safety.  By Saturday morning, i decided to try it.

Prepped like an East German lady-swimmer from the 1970’s, i was ready!

Only three of us swimming that morning – representing three continents.  Liz, from Australia.  Annie, from Scotland. And daisyfae, from the USA.  It just so happens that salt water makes you very buoyant.  D’uh!  i could very nearly float there and back with a light boost from the fins.  Slightly against current on the way out, it took maybe 15 minutes before we were hauling ourselves out of the sea onto The Rock.

Although it was far more of a psychological challenge than physical, it felt great to be there.  Grinning like a loon, the sun starting to climb in the sky and beat down on us, the taste of salt water in my mouth, absolute quiet except the sound of the sea gently splashing us and the rocks. 

The view of the village was a little different from offshore.  Always good to adjust your point of view from time to time.

Due to the assistance of a gentle on-shore current, we made it back in under 10 minutes.  Nothing spectacular as far as a workout, but i sure felt like i’d just completed a triathalon as i lumbered out of the water that morning.  Up the stairs, where i joined the non-swimmers, already having coffee.  A round of cheers as i sat down – they were fully aware that it was my first time…

Returning on Sunday for another go, it was a larger group.  Maybe eight of us – including swimmers from Iceland, Scotland, England, Australia and the US.  Certificates of indoctrination were presented to all of the newbies upon our return.  i was officially inducted into the “Women of the Rock Group”.

Sure. We played up the “Sapphic Erotica” angle of our visit to Lesvos.  And naturally, we spent some time stripped bare, soaking up sun, and playing in the sea.  There were pedicures.  And oh, the conversation!  Would have stilled the hearts of many mortal men! 

The reality of our week on Lesvos was not a lesbian fantasy romp.  Sisters.  Not born, but acquired.  For a week, a month or a lifetime.  The reality of that week was far better than the fantasy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* She emphasized that to be a member of the “Rock Group”, one had to swim out and back.  Hitching a ride on a kayak or raft for the return trip was unacceptable!

What I Learned On My Summer Vacation

Vacation. 
 
The word conjures visions of “National Lampoon” style roadtrips in the family truckster.  “See Rock City”.  Endless queues of sweaty people in stupid t-shirts waiting for hours to board a thrill ride that lasts all of three minutes.  Long days in an increasingly gamey car, bickering over which exit should have been taken to avoid the construction zone ahead.  Games of mini-golf, with dinosaurs and windmills springing from Astroturf that is warped, torn and stained by god knows what.
 
Not a bad thing, mind you.  These are some of my favorite childhood memories.  Visiting the “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” Museum in Gatlinburg, TN.  Camping at Santa Claus Land, Indiana.  My all time favorite – visiting the NASA Space and Missile Center in Huntsville, Alabama! 

Six of us crunched into a 1964 Ford Falcon station wagon – with me wedged between my parents in the front seat, my siblings shoe-horned into the back seat.  No one in my world flew anywhere back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, so the summer vacation was built on where you could get in a car. 
 
When my children were little, we did a lot of tent camping – that is, when we weren’t burning our precious vacation days visiting family over the holidays.  Exploring the wilds of the upper peninsula of Michigan.  A two week, 5,000 mile camping trip through the Atlantic Provinces of Canada.  Most of our time was spent on logistics – getting there, setting up the tent, sorting provisions, unpacking “the kitchen”, deciding who slept where – but we also did a lot of hiking and regional exploration, too. 
 
As the kids grew up, i wanted them to see more of the world.  So it was off to Germany, England, San Francisco.  The great “Skate Park and Thrift Store Tour of the Southwestern USA” to Arizona one year.  These trips were pretty amazing.  My ex-husband had no interest in going anywhere other than our vacation place on the Great Lakes, so i went without him, assuring that the kids got to experience an expanded bubble, and do things they couldn’t do at home**.
 
For me, the essence of “vacation” has always been “doing”. 
 
Until this year… i’d never visited Greece, and looked forward to being a tourist in Athens.  Once we got to the island, and settled into our apartment, there was simply nothing much to do.  Companionship was center stage.  A leisurely ten minute walk into the village of Skala Eressos from the rented apartment.  Stop at the bakery for fresh bread.  The green grocer had fruits and vegetables, and other provisions* were available at the general store. 
 
After breakfast?  Walk to the beach, toss down a towel and dip in the sea.  Try not to be obvious when gawking at the naked people.  Become a naked person.  Dry off in the sun – reading or not.  Repeat through the week as necessary. 
 
Siesta.  With a book, a magazine or a laptop, waiting out the hottest part of the day.  Napping.   Nibbling on fruit, or tasty treats from the bakery.  Easy conversation or companionable silence.  Listening to the birds, the buzz of bees feasting on the flowers on the mimosa tree, or the sound of bells on the goats in a distant pasture. 
 
Getting to know “locals”*** over the course of the week.  Seeing the woman who operates the bakery every day – and eventually explaining our ‘story’ to her.  The Dutch woman who manages the local travel agency – complaining that she hadn’t seen those photos she’d heard about on the internet yet!  Seeing the same couples on the beach during the early afternoon.  The proprietors of our favorite restaurants welcoming us back.
 
This trip wasn’t about “doing”.  It was about “being”.  And that’s a pretty damn cool thing to do…


* Beer. 
 
** Alcatraz.  The Grand Canyon.  Horseback riding through the desert at the old Tucson Movie Studios.  Castles.  Learning to ride the tube in London.  Hanging out on the village square in small burgs in Germany.  Watching surfers in St. Ives.  Getting a much better idea of what “Old” means.
 
*** The managers at the apartment were simply marvelous!  They host a barbeque every Friday night for guests and friends from town, providing an opportunity to better connect.  We would be dining in town the next day, and see people we knew – giving us a sense of welcome and belonging.  Never mind the fact that we presented a bit of an enigma – those three women from Australia, South Africa and The States who met on the internet and were photographing themselves in corsets!  When our cleaning woman found the edible underwear we’d collected on the kitchen table for possible use in the photo shoot, she was MORE than a little vexed trying to sort out which bed was being left unused in the apartment….  Are they fresh meat for the beach or not?  i’m pretty sure most of them never really sorted it out…

Somewhere between…

In case you’re playing along at home, there”s been a mild blip in our travel adventures.  Something about a general strike in Greece?  Our flight from Lesvos to Athens was canceled this morning. 

We won’t know until about noon if the 6:00 pm overnight ferry will sail.  That’s the only chance for us to make our flights out of Athens to our respective continents tomorrow.

So we sit and read and surf in a harborside cafe, awaiting news.  We are somewhere between “mildly fucked” and “up the ass without a courtesy spit”.

Sort of like “The Amazing Race”, without the supermodels and camera crews.

We will improvise, adapt and overcome.  In the meantime?  Another cup of coffee…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Update:  The ferry sailed  from Mytilene on time.  We were on it!  We’d booked 1st class passage, giving us a cabin to horse around in over night.  Ferry docked briefly at the island of Chios around 10 pm, and then we sailed overnight to the port of Athens.  No problems with the strike – but i almost created a problem with a rather adorable bartender on the ferry…

My flights went on time, and i was home after about 24 hours of ships, planes, trains and automobiles.  nursemyra arrived at her short stop in asia, and dolce – who had a grueling wait in Athens (flight left about 12 hours after ours), followed by a REALLY long transit – was en route to South Africa. 

Theft

Maybe five or six years old, the kid was pretty lousy on the accordion.  He was singing along – “Oh, How We Danced on the Night That We Wed”.

He was positioned along the walkway to The Acropolis, with a few other street performers scattered along the path.  i looked around for an older sibling, or an adult shill, but he was – at least for the moment – working alone, with the coin box in front of him.

Digging through my wallet, i collected change and dropped it in the box, which is a nice thing to do before snapping a picture. He then politely gestured toward my camera – i figured he wanted to see the photo i’d just taken.

As i knelt down to hand the camera to him, my “paranoid” gently turned on… Not that my camera is worth much, my internal alarm went off that the little dude might make a run for it.

Playing “what if” in my head, i figured i could probably snag him by the ankle from where i was kneeling if he dove into the hedge behind him.  i showed him the picture i’d taken. He then expertly flipped my camera out of ‘display’ mode, and snapped a shot of me…

That got him the rest of the change in my wallet.  Not only am i a sucker for a cute kid, i have a fondness for entrepreneurs of any age…