The Traveller by Afrodykie

C is for … corner … also the one you have turned                                

THERE’S a taverna for just about every day of the week on Eressos Square, ok granted, a short week of four days.

 There’s life on the cobbled stones, sometimes more sometimes less.

The’re always fish sellers shouting over their loudspeakers, and the walruses are plonked, as usual, on their assets at Kolones.

Their Greek coffees thicken to mud at the bottom of tiny cups. Do they care, these rotund dons of the erstwhile drachma. No.

Even their lips don’t move.

At Kafene, your office, the internet fiends blink at their screens under one of the huge plane trees that shade the square.

A local, one of the people who empties the bins, he walks in panting, and helps himself to a 500ml beer from the fridge.

The beverage, whatever the brand, comes in half litre bottles.

Anything less doesn’t touch sides at 30 deg C, and rising — and it’s just 11am.

Other mavens of the good life the easy life, they do crossword puzzles, or simply sit and read, their frothies at alert.

It’s a good place to be, Kafene, if you don’t know the town, and even if you do.

Yiannis will raise his eyebrows, in his own Eureka moment, and tell you who fixes computers, who’s got a house to let, who’s who in the zoo — for whatever you need.

Next door, at the taverna run by a woman – a woman!, younger men sit flicking worry beads backwards and forwards over their hands.

They haven’t perfected it yet, that passive pose, but hell, the intention is obvious!

At Sam’s – Sam who gave you vegetables from his garden — at Sam’s on the opposite side of the square, regulars slap down backgammon discs from yellowed finger tips. Tobacco smoke twirls above their heads.

They sit in the shade and plant their feet at right angles to the chair legs. They’re open at the knees.

Yes, they stare too, but their mouths sort of open and close.

They flutter, a bit, when they shift in their seats to plot their next moves

All very good, but it’s time for a change, time for a yiro where the hill flattens out into the straight road to Skala.

Bingo! It’s the perfect spot for a delicious and cheap meal (E2), and you can watch the passing parade from your chair on the pavement.

It’s as dead as a door nail, GB in Joburg says when you post a picture on Facebook.

Wrong! Everyone who comes in and out of the mountain village passes here.

There’s movement at least every five minutes — at peak hour!

Take the grey-haired couple on a clapped out scooter.

They’re travelling uphill and the vehicle starts to complain. It slows down. The man, in front, steadies it on his tippy toes.

His passenger, well, she’s sitting side saddle behind him. Very demure!

She’s not even holding on to him and sort of slides off the saddle to retrieve her shopping bag in the crate on the back.

The driver revs the engine and leaves, without so much as a twitch of his ample moustache.

Then there’s another motorbike, chugging up the hill. The bloke on it urges it forward.

He’s leaning over the handlebars but the bike’s going so slowly he’s almost got to get off and push!

Other vehicles whip back and forth. You’re starting to recognise a lot of the people.

Ah, the tomboy on her two wheel mean machine, so black it glints in the setting sun.

Then there’s a guy in a clapped out red car, with no back window.

Castro he shouts, waving his arm.

And then the schoolgirls … four of them … so lithe in their long legs and short shorts.

They glide along the asphalt, they lead with their hips and kick their feet out in front of them.

They talk to each other in whispers, in glances from the sides of their eyes.

The words peep out from under their lowered lashes. O youth … resplendent in summer’s heat.

You’ve finished your yiro and It’s time to go. But alas, the shopkeepers don’t have change.

Never mind. Pay another day, they say, and decline to note your telephone number.

That’s Eressos, old school Eressos too — and you love it.

(ends)

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