Archive for January 2008

We Are All Creatures

12 January 2008, by

Since we have had many visitors to our little island house, I thought I would write a tribute to them… but for now I will focus on the non-humans.

Last night our guest was a prehistoric creature that gave me pause about my tendency to walk around barefoot. Ordinarily not being one to kill, this time I was insistent that our visitor meet its maker. Euscorpius carpathicus Dave had a different interpretation of the line between a creature’s right to live and a human’s right to safety and he tried to free this visitor from the confines of our house. This process left our Scorpiones friend seemingly close to death, offering little resistance to being prodded and pushed into a cup. Dave brought our uninvited guest’s limp body outside and left the cup tipped so he could walk out, if he was still alive. This morning, there was no body…

Mantis sp.This past summer, we had a visitor who stayed for a few days and we spent at least one afternoon watching his antics on our rooftop. He was happy to pose for us and even went in for a close up. He or more likely she seemed happy to have us disturbing her rest for a day.

As a natural counter to the company of spiders and flies and (unfortunately) cockroaches, we welcomed the appearance of our very ownTarentola mauritanicas cold-blooded insurance salesman. If in North America he has become a more civilized breed, driving a red convertible and cultivating his native Australian accent, here his is still living in his natural state of savage predator, happily (and thankfully) snacking on the insect plague of the order Blattodea.

The Foreign Connection

11 January 2008, by

Dave and I recently received a Christmas card from friends of ours in Brooklyn – the first time I have ever gotten a Christmas card from a Hasidic Jewish couple. Anyway, it was addressed to Kristy and Dave Gapoostoliriweeds, but delivered first to another address a few houses down. By now all the neighborhood knows there are a couple of foreigners living in Alexi’s house, most know that the girl in his house is half Greek and half American, and quite possibly they even know my last name, which is a very common name here. Certainly the mailman knows my name and probably Dave’s as well, but apparently gets a bit confused when encountering an anagram of the two.

So the card found its way to our Mediterranean island and landed at the wrong foreigners’ house on the right street. This morning it concluded its journey when I answered the bell and was greeted by a gray-haired woman and her wiccan-looking companion, neither of whom I had met. Holding up a letter and speaking in deliberate Greek with a seemingly German accent, the gray-haired woman asks me, “Can it be you?” Looking closely at the names, I let out a giggle, confirm that it could be me and thank her as I close the door. I laugh a little more when I realize that the letter, missing a house number, was wrongly delivered to the house of the foreigner without a Greek name, that our anagram name appears more German than American, and that the wrong foreigner immediately knew which house held the correct foreigner.

New Year 2008 – it’s like the future or something

3 January 2008, by

We recently returned from a New Year’s road trip to Heraklion – that’s the largest city on the island, about 2 hours by bus to the east of Chania. We stayed with Christos, our Koumbaros, and spent New Year’s Eve (and the first seven hours of 2008) touring the city center and sampling the local nightlife. Had a good time, though perhaps a bit too much drinking. I spent the first day of the new year wishing the words “another bottle of tequila” had been stricken from the language – English or Greek – the night before. But it was nice to do something special, get out of town, and always great to visit with our very good friend, Christos, and his family.