Jun 3:  Santorini

The off night from partying did me no good.  I got out of bed at 8am but barely slept.  Big reason was a violent howling windstorm at night, and a brief downpour, and at some point my air conditioner let out a loud beep and shut off permanently.

Absolutely nothing was on the official agenda for today, but I'm afraid to be wandering around in the big city all by my lonesome.  So I got to breakfast early hoping to meet the rest of the group and plan something.  A general consensus solidified around going to Fira.

I checked the Internet at the hotel again.  Boners still in 2nd by 4 points.  Got the most unwanted e-mail I can possibly get while on vacation:  "Trade Offer From The Untouchables".  I was online 9:45am-10am, during which time I had another glass of retsina.

Song stuck in my head today:  Hungry Like the Wolf.  It was sort of in my head yesterday but then it was on my iPod as I was trying to fall asleep, which solidified it.

Most of us took the bus to Fira.  Most wanted to do the hike from Fira to Oia, allegedly 4 hours total, but when we got to Fira we all split up.  Patty, Jodi, Rosalie, Gloria and I took the cable car down to the port and then rode donkeys back up.  My donkey was aggressive and awesome...3 donkeys merged in front of him and he still tried to force his way past...literally "burroing" through them.  (That's one of the all-time great bad puns.  I was so proud of myself for coming up with it.)  The only thing I hated was trying to keep my leg away from other donkey's asses so I wouldn't get poop on my leg.  Whoa...a donkey is also called an ass, and it itself has an ass...I just blew my own mind!  Jodi's donkey darted under a rope and literally clotheslined her and knocked her off.  Comedy gold.

We continued splitting up here.  Jodi took the bus to Oia, leaving me and Patty to begin the hike.  Other people did do the hike, just not all at the same time.

Fira, looking back to the south.  We're hiking north here.

I think this is a couple feet further north.

Somewhere around here we encountered a dog with nasty matted fur and warts, but his face was OK.  Kind of like a butterface, but the opposite.  And in dog form.

We're out of Fira at this point, continuing north.

And a bit further.  At this point we're on a variety of paths, streets and alleys.

Our only guess is that he's keeping cool.  But he still looks ridiculous.

This looked like a good photo op, but the result is unspectacular.  Sorry.

There was supposed to be a town around here, and hour into the hike, but we had no clue if we'd passed it already or where exactly it was.  And looking in the distance at Oia, it appeared to be a lot more than 3 hours away.  So the hike plan was abandoned.  We turned around and walked back to Fira, saw a few people from the group briefly, then caught the bus to Oia.  Much easier.

In Oia we walked around a bit (it's like Fira but far less crowded) and found a cool lookout point:

Taken in the same general direction as all those Fira pics.  Or more easterly I guess because of the curve of the crescent.

And this is in the other direction.

We reunited with Jodi, and then walked down a ~220-step staircase to the "beach" (really just a port and some rocks).  We put a lot of thought into going down there, considering we'd have to walk back up again, but decided we could handle it.

Port and cliffs below Oia.  On the right you might be able to make out the staircase we walked down and then up.  We had beers by the water before walking up.

Yesterday at the hotel I saw a beetle on its back trying to flip over.  I helped him.  Today in Oia I saw a similar beetle whom it was too late to help.  That's how I want to go.  I want my cause of death listed as upside-downness.

Also in the streets of Oia I watched a dog peeing for a good two minutes, at least.  It was a strong, healthy, uninterrupted stream, like Ogre in Revenge of the Nerds.  And it was bright yellow-orange, almost fluorescent.  He must have devoured a dozen melons in one sitting.  I applauded at the end of his highly impressive feat.

The attraction of Oia is that it's supposed to have the best sunset on Santorini.  But we decided that last night's was good enough and we didn't want to wait around, especially with the bus schedules as they are...if we stayed too late we'd have to take a taxi at least part of the way back.  So we took a 6:30pm bus from Oia back to Fira.  We wanted to reward ourselves with sugar, so Jodi and Patty got baklava, but I was craving chocolate ice cream.  Unfortunately one ice cream shop had closed and the other was out of chocolate.  That sucked.  While the girls were eating, Jodi asked a dog if he wanted to lick the box.  THE box, not her box.  But I still gave it an "oh my".

My final documentation of the fouling of Jodi's sneakers.  This whole dirty-sneakers storyline should have been cut, and perhaps included in the deleted scenes on the DVD.  It just doesn't tie to the rest of the plot.

As the girls were finishing their baklava, we witnessed an aggressive attempted doggie rape.  "The Timeless Art of Seduction," I commented.  The dogs moved out of our view so I did not get to witness the hot dog-on-dog action, if any.

I made an important observation here:  I've encountered far less cigarette smoke in Greece than I do in LA.  Maybe it's because Greece is full of nonsmoking tourists, whereas Hollywood is full of assholes and tourists from smoking countries like China and Japan.  Still, very surprising.  I thought I'd be shrouded in smoke for the duration of my stay.

I mentioned this sometime today but I forget where, so I'll put it here.  Seems like on every tour, there always someone reading a book, and invariably there's a lull in the collective group conversation, and for a couple minutes the topic turns to that person's progress with the book and what's happening in the story.  I'm not singling out anybody in this group and the book may in fact be fascinating and discussion-worthy in every case.  I'm just saying, the "book conversation" has become a bit of a cliché and a crutch.  But maybe I'm just perceptive.  I notice patterns like this before everyone else does.

We finally took the 8:15pm bus back to Perissa and the hotel.  I freshened up (i.e. the 3 S's), then went back out with Jodi and Patty for drinks and food.  On the way out we saw Sarah and Gloria and asked them to join, but they were tired.  Gloria said she found a place that has '80s night (it's cool that someone born in the mid-'80s is into '80s music) but it was a few days later and we'd miss it, so she wasn't interested in going out.  Bad call, because the tropical-style bar we found had VH1 Classic on and showed '80s videos for an hour.  I had a burger and a slice of Patty's pizza, and a Sex on the Beach, and a caipirinha!  Mmmmm.

I could have kept going but the girls were tired, so we returned to the hotel at 11:30pm and I went to bed shortly thereafter.