After the disaster that ruined my stay in Spain, my father decided to help me sae part of my holidays. He proposed that instead of staying alone in Athens in the midst of August, I should follow him to the island of Paros, to get a glimpse of good clean family fun once in a while. I had visited Paros after my graduation, 10 years earlier, and I had very fond memories of the whole debauchery that occurred there. Plus I remember the island as a place full of pleasure and opportunities for easy sex, with easygoing locals. And the travelling beast in me was arguing that it would be better to jump on the next ferry than stay in town
Apparently all this had changed radically in the passing years. And there I was crashing in this 65 euro-a-night room to let, which was obviously a bit too much in my eyes. The food was ranging from nice to awful, the alcohol was going quickly down the drain, the music was a bad combination of mainstream hits. Bleh! Suddenly, by the beginning of the first night, I was at a loss. I was missing something. Instead of the hippyish adventurous crowd I met in my travels to Spain, I came across something completely different. Most of the crowd was among the kind of the social climbers. Most of the youth looked like Mykonos wash-outs, trendy kids and socialites that can’t afford Santorini.All of a sudden I had sunk in a different kind of swamp. Barcelona might be a city of vice, but Paros and all these wee islands in the vicinity of Athens are a totally different animal.
Within the last few years, aros had emerged into a must for all semi-well-to-do summer escapees from Athens, catering for the needs of a crowd that needed to sow off. Hence, the island is dominated by overpriced services aimed at rich Europeans and Greeks that have some extra money to spend. At the time a week in Paros cost as much as three weeks of roaming around Spain. Do the math. The truth is that Paros turned out as a place not meant for budget holidaymakers. The contrary. In the Cyclades, at the time, the term value-for-money was unknown. Even though some terms of traditional beuty survived (like the winemakers in Naousa, the architecture), the evil truth is that the island has surrendered to capitalism altogether. Most beaches with easy access are full of umbrellas and seats for rent (as much as five euros an hour-do the math), and the golden sands of the island are full people. In some of the most crowded beaches, finding space is unpossible by all means.
The night activities wre different in a similar fashion. There was no bar whatsoever that was playing any decent music at all. Even the idea of organising a botellon , seemed like something different altogether.The idea of going out here, certainly differs from the idea present in other parts of the world. Fashionable clubs with spiked drinks are all the way. And I could not even think of searching for any drugs, this would definitely be beyond my wallet.
Within that week I had travelled clockwise around the island, and I had found one-all-evident truth. Paros was definately not the island Greek poets were talking about, no more.. But then again, I was in a bitter mood after the end of my travels in Spain, and I was probably unfair to the place… I would visit it in some niche period, a few months later.