I wonder if anyone’s checked TripAdvisor for posts about paradise?
While holidaying in Greece recently, modern metics meandering, we approached a very secluded aquamarine bay with white sand and clear waters, and my 10-year-old daughter proclaimed “that’s paradise that is”. It was indeed a great trip. On the surface of it, as well as deeply ingrained, the Greek vibe is chilled yet warm, rich and simply welcoming.
But, as the 14th C. poet John Lydgate realised “You can’t please everyone all of the time” – of course this is still true. Going by TripAdvisor it seems some people might never be satisfied. Are you?
“Taste is the enemy of art”, oft quoted by many an art student. But perhaps taste, or preference, is a hindrance when it comes to a shared utopia?
Our wisdom, our preference, our expectations, our wants… We all have different ideas of what is ideal. The Greek Plato, realised “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” I think the word ideal comes from the Latin idealis “existing in idea”, therefore, perhaps a common ideal is not achievable in a sharable way.
But back to our paradise…
One person’s heaven is another person’s hell.
Our opinions, habits, prejudice and other survival mechanisms can get in the way of knowing paradise on earth.
Alexia from Ghana has been Greek island-hopping for 6 years, she braids wrist bands for the tourists as she recites popular Bob Marley lyrics “rise up this mornin’, smiled at the rising sun”… she has a certain bonhomie but I sensed her mind was elsewhere.
Our fervently friendly municipal bus conductor Katrina tells the passengers “we’ve only one life, best be happy now”, and indeed she did exude happy everytime we saw her.
Our barman Spyros is originally from Athens. “The city’s ok for the young” he says, but he’s “happier now on the coast, where it’s easier”.
The mysterious mountains of Albania morph colours with the light like a giant chameleon lazing across the hazy strait. There are super-yachts the size of planets moored in the millpond sea just out of reach of the port, where old wooden vessels, wizened and lost, rust and decay amid big brand tourist fodder and small brand tourist tat.
Spyros serves us a Blue Lagoon and a Roda Garden Sunset, gin, and brandy cocktails. The beach is 10 meters from the door and the sea’s warmer than the pool. It’s 3pm, 35 degrees, and the sun is scorching the lizard’s tail as it scuttles behind a cactus. Cicadas buzz in a never-ending chorus, but the frequency of the sea’s waves is so low, even Eirene herself might fall off her peaceful perch… The Tower of Bable does seem to have fallen, around us a hum of multiple languages create an odd sense of freedom, (nobody mention a brexit).
Despite all this, we still reach for home, creature comforts, our own beds, familiar flavours and totems…
I guess we may need to acclimatise to paradise if we ever get there. Three little birds might make an awful din!
Having said all that, we did have a great Greek holiday.