Two harrier jump jets swooshed by overhead, the roar travelling even faster than they did, swiftly followed by another couple of military looking planes. Was Greece fighting a war I didn’t know about? Maybe I’d missed something in the news – aside from the obvious.
Cicada drills took over again. I placed my wash things next to a basin au plein air as the sound of footsteps on the stairway to this bougainvillea framed bathroom woke me from thoughts of Grecian problems.
M appeared. “I mean, they could save a few quid if they didn’t fly these jets all over the place” I said, by way of a ‘Good Morning.’ “I’m sure it costs about £100,000 to put one of those in the air every time.”
“Hmmm, quite. Did you know Greece has the seventh largest defence budget per capita in the world?” he replied. I didn’t.
We brushed our collective teeth and moved on quietly, as one does in the ablutions area: No one too keen to make actual eye contact just in case discretion is required in this unisex space.
Keen to echo the glorious colours around me I dressed in turquoise and blue and left bamboo hut number 30 for breakfast, plucking a fresh apricot off our very own tree as I closed the door latch. I bit into it and juice ran down my fingers – a surprising experience of this fleetingly accessible fruit.
Fresh orange juice, watermelon, yogurt, bread and sinfully delicious fritters broke our fast. A sea view through Eucalyptus and Pines; a vital blue sky; sunshine.
I sat next to Giorgos, fellow visitor and of Greek origin. I mentioned the fighter jets. “Well, if you think about it, Greece is bordered by Balkan states, Turkey’s right next door, Libya below and Putin’s just up the road. Also, remember the airport on this island is a NATO base so basically they’ve got to do these daily manoeuvres.”
I felt bad jumping to conclusions too quickly about the extravagance of Greece and its flying habits.
The next day I wandered winding streets whitewashed and flower laden in the local town, historical beauty emanating from every pore.
Approaching the bank I hesitated. A large queue had formed, Greeks patiently awaiting their cash, resolute expressions. My friend got her camera out. “No, I don’t think you should” I said. “It’s not right.” I caught the eye of one man. No words required; defiance, vulnerability and patriotism keenly felt and proudly shared in a moment.