Y is for … Yappity yap
YOU’VE been in Eressos for nearly 16 weeks. It’s time for an appraisal.
Okaaaaay. Scratches head. Forehead wrinkles.
Four months is a third of a year in a remote Greek village that’s about 4km from its seaside equivalent, Skala Eressos, and 90km from the island’s capital and main port Mytiline — a hop skip and jump across the Mytiline Straight from Turkey.
The villages are in the 290.947sq/km municipal unit of Eressos-Antissa (pop 5 530: 2001 census). It’s the largest on the island.
Most people in this area live in and around Eressos/Skala (pop 1 097; in 1991: 1 247).
Next are Antissa (900), Mesotopos (853), Vatousa (529), Chidira (488) and Sigri (400).
There are other, smaller villages in the unit, among them Chidira and Pterounda.
You haven’t started exploring, but it is your mission and intention to do so, soon.
For there are many interesting elements here in the backwaters: a rich history dating back to antiquity, the petrified forest formed millions of years ago, and the traditions and culture celebrated in a spectrum of festivals. They go back a bit too!
Then there’s the architecture, archaeology, birds, butterflies, plants and the secluded beaches (dot dot dot)
There’s also winemaking – organic wine, mind you – and women’s co-operatives that make delicious food, so you are told.
Each village has its unique history and character, and of course, its plateia, or village square.
That’s where everything and nothing happens.
You’re so taken by the ethos of the plateia that you’re thinking of writing a soap opera, Plateia, with the tagline Drama 24/7.
For it is in the plateia that scores are settled, lovers are met and scandal is stirred by mean and vacuous gossip mongers, screw-eyed in their cant; it’s where passions spill into small coffee cups; where the cobblestones and plane trees hear and see it all.
It’s also good for business. Want something? Need something? Ask in the plateia.
Yes, you may have to wait a day or two, maybe even a week or a month and more but whatever it is always turns up, sooner or later.
Entertainment roots itself there too – festivals, festivities, music concerts, puppets shows, you name it.
The plateia is the essence of village life, the salt and pepper of small town living, and the village square of Eressos is a haven of happening.
Yes, it does look the same every single day; the same people sit in the same tavernas or cafes, the same lips move up and down in the faces of the blabbermouths, and the same vendors drive into the square shout through the loudspeakers on the roofs of their vans.
You even get to know the dogs.
But it is new every day too. Time moves, takes you forward.
And boy, have you learnt some lessons in Eressos.
It’s been a fabulous learning curve. There’s joy in your heart, confidence. There’s peace.
You’re falling in love with this village, its characters, and its complex personality.
It’s honed you, beautifully.
You could not make up what happens here, what you see. It inspires you.
A font of stories seeps from its stones. The landscape sings to you. Sweet tunes, the colours on the mountains pink sublime dusky pink changes all the time.
The olive trees stand out green-green now against the brown scrubby shrubby hills.
Their time is coming.
Autumn nudges winter’s harvest ripening.
Goodbye? Oh no jolly-o.
You’re in the starting blocks!
Y is for … Yappity yap