Greece: Rhodes Island

**Updated with video at the end!

Upon stepping out of the airport into the blazing sunlight and mountainous backdrop, I thought that my inhibitions about Rhodes Island being a little boring fisherman village was to much of my dismay, true. We trudged along the footpath following a blue ‘Bus Stop’ sign that pointed in that direction. If we hadn’t seen a man sitting on the small bench with his luggage, we wouldn’t have suspected the run down shelter with torn casino and club promotional posters semi-glued to the wall behind was where we were meant to wait. There was no timetable, no bus numbers, no other indication that it was a bus stop other than a rusty ‘bus stop’ sign on the side. Surely there would be better maintenance of an airport bus stop? Apparently not.

The bus driver was our first exchange with a Greek local, and he set the precedence for my vote of the friendliest, nicest country of people that I’ve encountered on my Europe travels thus far. Of course, I’m saying this only in terms of hospitality since we didn’t actually mingle with locals properly, but through my people-watching moments, I think that the Greek people’s demeanour is this: have a good time now and worry later. It is a place that believes in siestas and fiestas (I could get used to this), which may go a fair way in explaining their EU-bail out fiasco last year, but they don’t seem to be affected by it at all. Perhaps the bigger cities are. I feel as if they do what they need to do but continue with their siesta and fiesta lifestyle assuming politicians and the EU will sort the economy out. This gives me a flashback of a photo I saw last year in the news of an old Greek man sitting on the ground next to an ATM, helplessly crying in despair because there was a shut-down of Greek banks and citizens weren’t able to withdraw any of their money. He could have needed it for medicine, food, school fees, debt – who knows. Sad times.

Onto happier times, on our first night AY and I stumbled to the front of a cocktail bar that we had read about which played rnb/contemporary music. Perfect, right? Well, on that specific night they were playing classical live Greek music. Not so perfect. But the place was packed, and everyone looked like they were having such a good time so we had to go inside and check it out. For some reason, the only free seat was right in front of the dance floor and band where everyone faces, and so we were seated there. To sum up the experience: the bar’s decoration was out of this world, old Greek ladies can really bust a move and there is a threshold to the number of times a singer can serenade you, throw tissues at you (a Greek tradition) and make you step onto the dance floor before you want to run away in embarrassment.

I quickly discovered that Rhodes Island wasn’t a little fisherman village. Restaurants, from cafes to tavernas were all very clean and modern with each having unique Greek-inspired decorations all around. The pebble beaches, though not my favourite and littered with cigarette butts, had really warm blue water. The Old Town, a UNESCO heritage site, was fun to walk around, layered with little shops and stalls along all the alleyways to peek into. Going up and walking along the city walls is a main to-do thing on the island, but to no one’s surprise, AY and I couldn’t find it and got distracted by a visit to the Grand Master’s palace instead, during which AY self-pronounced herself to be the Grand Master in the flesh and transformed into an absolute comedian. We laughed all the way back to our hotel where she had major bladder hold issues.

Nightlife is limited to a few long streets, either around Old Town or a street close to our hotel. Energetic, bright lights, loud music, games, free drinks, promoters asking you to drink and party with them. We both felt a Thailand-like vibe, albeit much less busy.

In our 2.5 days there, AY and I managed to eat every single traditional Greek dish there is. It was a constant cycle of overeating and eating some more. Our most memorable meal though, was a seafood taverna that we liked the look of, so decided to venture into randomly. The restaurant wasn’t very busy, so we were a bit hesitant but the waiter was so friendly and confident in his recommendations that we were put to ease quite soon. Prawns, mussels, grilled fish,  grilled calamari. So. Damn. Good. Our experience was heightened by the attentive customer service we received, so much so that we left a tip of an extraordinary amount (for our standards anyway).

We had such a relaxing and chill weekend in Rhodes Island. Can’t say there’s an exorbitant number of things to do there, as people generally stay for longer and island hop around Greece. But how can one fault sunshine, nice people and the beach? After my short experience, I really cannot wait for the opportunity to go to other Greece islands – perhaps next summer? Yes please!

Oh, I also GoPro’d our weekend. We discovered through this experience that I am camera shy and AY can talk into a camera non-stop (to compensate, she says). I’ll post it soon!

Injuries suck..

..But are part of the journey. Ride it.

Light drills today to get movement in the ankle going again. No power, just a focus on getting an extra inch or two of reach with my jabs. Then sparring afterwards because I couldn’t help myself. Note to self: let it heal, JP, have some patience goddamn it.

I bought a GoPro and this is my first video taken on it! It’s mostly of my coach’s ass, probably not the best view but not the worst either. Hopefully both my video taking and video editing skills, or lack thereof, will improve by the time I get to Greece. I’m still learning what all the buttons do and there’s only 3.

Can you believe it’s 2016 and I didn’t have a youtube account until today?

 

 

The time I almost died at work

Being (relatively) new to London and not having the cohort of my friends here really brings tame me out of the dusty closet. Friday/Saturday nights normally involve either lining our waistlines with glorious food, travelling or occasionally a free cocktail that AY likes to source from a handy phone app we use. For my leaving present, one of the items generously given by BC and my team was an eye shadow palette that smells like chocolate. I was asked recently how many times I’ve used it and had to admit it’s been a big fat T-W-O. In essence, I haven’t been anywhere that requires more than my 3-minute makeup face.

A friend of mine from the US is currently doing a Euro trip with his girl and law school friends and they were here for a couple of nights. We went to junior high school together but I left to go back to Australia in 2004 and have only seen him once since. He asked me to go to a pub crawl the other night since it would be their last night in London and I was instructed to get to Picadilly by 9:30. At 8:55 I was sitting on the couch in my pyjamas typing out a message on my phone with an excuse of why I wasn’t going to go. I didn’t need one really, as my ankle is still sore, but what was really going through my head was:

  • It’s a Thursday night
  • I have work tomorrow
  • I already had dinner with them the night before so I wouldn’t be that bad of a friend for bailing now
  • I’m comfortable here
  • I really don’t want to move

Somehow 2 minutes later I was running around home pulling on jeans with one hand and applying eyeliner with the other (sorry, I didn’t use the eye shadow. I’ll use it soon I swear!). 5 minutes later I was out the door.

The good thing is I didn’t pass out an hour in. The bad thing is because my alcohol tolerance decided to be so strong that night, the drunkeness set in very late, probably beginning its full effect as I was making my way home.

I don’t know how I managed to wake up the next day, transform into some clothes and make it to the office. What’s more impressive is I got to work earlier than I normally do, but my accomplishments for the day came to an end here. Upon arrival I proceeded to head straight to the toilet because I felt sick and realised that for the whole journey into work my fly wasn’t done up nor was my bb cream evenly applied on my face – blotches everywhere bro. I then vomited my guts out and was an inch away from passing out in that toilet stall. I sat at my desk for the first 3 hours of the day trying to keep myself composed and telepathically sent out radars to people not to approach me. I must’ve succeeded in keeping too low a profile, as my manager asked if I was okay.

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Yes, yes I’m super.

During this episode, I was going through a hot-cold sweat, my head was exploding, and I smelled like a combination of whisky and vomit. It was unpleasant to say the least. I heeded advice from friends telling me to get Gatorade and munch on ice, which comforted the drunk me but didn’t really help with the drunkenness itself. I don’t think I sobered up until midday and didn’t get over the hangover until 4pm after which I got so sleepy I seriously considered going back to my toilet stall for a nap.

Moral of this story: I’m a great mate and I don’t know what ‘drinking responsibility’ means.

I didn’t go home in the morning because I didn’t believe I would be able to coordinate myself out the building, onto a correct bus, and home from the bus stop without mishap. I would probably have tripped up the stairs to my flat and broken my other ankle. The safer option was definitely to stay put at work; although I’m not sure I’ll still have a job on Monday.  By lunch time I was feeling better and the option of going home ceased to outweigh the opportunity cost of lost wages to support my frappuccino and burger needs.

I can safely say I can leave the big Thursday benders to London locals who seem to do this on a weekly basis. For me: never again.

10 things that make you happy

Apologies about the hiatus. No excuses, just a lack of accountability (no pun intended) on my part despite the consistent pestering by my dearest AY, whom I can’t escape, and others. I am alive, and funemployment is no more.

I have done more travelling since I last wrote a travel-focused blog; being day trips to both Cambridge and Bournemouth not far out from London, soaking in some Barcelona and Ibiza sunshine, and spending cheeky weekends in Paris and Edinburgh. Coming up next: Birmingham and Greece!

I wanted to write about something light-hearted after my last post and had 3 drafts written up discussing arbitrary topics of sorts, but upon reflection they all seemed dull.  I don’t fancy dull, so they went straight to the trash bin.

BC (@https://miriadic.wordpress.com) came up with the perfect solution for me: make a list! 10 things that make you happy… I think this needs to be taken with a grain of salt because these things can change in a day, a month, a year as we grow and change as individuals. I recall making a similar list when I was 19, and can confidently say that I can relate to only half of those things at most now. Alright, now that disclaimers are out of the way, I’m going to list 10 things that make me happy at this very point in time – JP, 11:44pm Tuesday 16 August 2016, in no particular order of favouritism.

  1. Sleeping. Trust the sleeping queen to list this as her first point, but there is some complexity to this simple pleasure. Certain slumbers possess an extra element of wonderful – for example, the smell of clean bedsheets; going to bed happy; waking up on weekends with the sun peeking into your bedroom from the corners of your curtains; waking up on weekends thinking you’re late for work but realising what day it is; waking up before your alarm knowing you have an extra 15 minutes of sleep; or waking up with something to look forward to that day. Ok who am I kidding, I love every nights sleep. I also brought up this point because it’s past my bedtime and therefore all the above points will not apply to me tomorrow morning.
  2. MMA. Despite the obvious surrounding the grind, the training, and the new levels of fitness it pushes me into, I think it teaches me lessons that I apply to everyday life. To persevere when you want to give up; to turn up on time, and keep turning up; and to find your plus, minus and equal. I read an article recently of a mma coach that makes his fighters train with people better than them for improvement, less experienced than them so they can teach, and equal to them for comparison. +, -, =. I apply this to leadership and I like it.
  3. Editing. Give me words, let me edit it and give it back to you. It will make my day.
  4. Being able to buy things for my parents. The last time they gave me anything material was when I was 18, but they gave me a lifetime of love and made sacrifices for me to have the upbringing that I did. It’s nice being able to repay back a fraction of that through taking care of all household bills, holidays, presents etc. Due to this, unfortunately funemployment is non sustainable.
  5. Ice-cream and cookies.
  6. Music keeps me going on and on and on and on. There is a genre for any occasion. I’m open with my music selection as long as it makes me pumped and jolly.
  7. Clean ironed clothes. Short of underwear, which I have done before, I iron everything! I have slight self-diagnosed OCD with laundry and hygiene.
  8. Meeting people who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves (since I find it hard to take myself seriously); who are humble, walk with an aura of positivity, are geniune and understand that humility can bring out the best in the worst of times. If you know me, then you know that I don’t really like meeting people. I’m anti-social and shy and awkward and all these faltering attributes around people I don’t know – but get to know me, and I will probably be the one making you uncomfortable with the embarrassing antics I get up to – just ask AY. Maybe meet me when I’m intoxicated, I’m much friendlier then. I digress, what I’m trying to say is I guess meeting certain types of people allows this side of me to come out faster. If we’re friends, and you would know this, then I think you’re pretty special in one way or another.
  9. Cafes. The buzz of cafes and smell of caffeine and freshly baked bread makes my heart sing. Add free wifi and my macbook with me for company and I’ve got a perfect morning/afternoon planned.
  10. Making others happy.

BC was right, compressing this to 10 specific things was hard. I could’ve gone to 100!

I’m easily amused, and it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

I hope YOU have a splendid day ahead.