Friday, August 6, 2010

My Big Fat Greek Adventure - Kalineektha, Santorini

Yay!  We have television and internet again!  And just in time for me to leave for a weekend camping trip!, where was I?  Oh, ya!  Our night times in Santorini.

Traditional and Musical Evenings
The night we were heading back to Perissa from Red Beach, we learned how difficult it is to get back to different parts of the island by bus at night time.  Though we were pretty beat, we were also pretty hungry.

We had decided to check out Porto Castello Restaurant, which had advertised traditional Greek Dancing on Saturday nights.  Luckily, we made it in time for the live music (i.e. one guy on a keyboard and bouzouki) and dancing.

As we walked in, one of the hosts greeted us saying that we just had to go up to the roof deck for the entertainment.  We told him that we were really hungry, and he proceeded to say, "I'm on the menu."  I realized that I managed to walk right into that one.  But we found out that he was actually telling the truth, as he proceeded to sing "Sagapo," a great song I'm familiar with through belly dance.

At some point, the plates came out and the men danced.  That was really fun to watch, and it was neat to see the servers and other patrons participate, though I'm pretty sure the patrons were there mainly to try to call the female tourists up to dance.  At one point, there was a bit of Greek belly dancing music that started playing.  As I watched one of the guys doing some familiar moves, I decided to show that I could do a bit of that as well.  It was a fun evening.
If you wanted to break your very own plate to break,
you buy them for 2 Euros each.

We actually were treated to live music quite often during our nights in Santorini.  Most of the music was very chill and relaxing, and very beach appropriate.  I must say, there's nothing else like being by the beach and listening to live music.

Aside from the traditional music, we saw one band twice on two different nights at different locations, and one bossa nova/reggae band on one of our final nights.  It was fun to hear some of the covers the bands would do, especially the bossa nova/reggae band.  A woman would join in to sing some of the bossa nova songs, such as "The Girl from Ipanema."  What was most entertaining was to hear the subtle misunderstandings in the lyrics due to translation.  I know that song pretty well, so it was entertaining to hear how this singer heard that song.  But the live music was great overall.

Do you like piña coladas? 
So, I'm going to preface this section by saying that I'm so over going out clubbing.  I'm really quite content turning on some music and dancing in my own living room.  When I do go out for drinks, it's mainly to see friends and hang out.  I'm not looking to have some random dude rub his junk on my butt while "dancing."  Luckily, Jenny and I are similar in that respect.

From what we knew of Santorini, which is that it's mainly a spot for honeymooners, we knew that we wouldn't have too much trouble from guys trying to rub up on us.  From what we had seen of Perissa so far, we knew that it was a much more chill location than Thira.

On our first night in Perissa, we did some more exploring of the restaurants and bars along the beach walk.  We were surprisingly tired after having done a lot of relaxing at the beach that day, so we started to head back towards our hostel. 

I was surprised at how bare many of the bars seemed to be.  Though, considering that we were lucky enough to avoid the ferry strike in Athens, I assumed that others were not so lucky.

As we walked back to Tony's Villa, a girl stood in front of a bar, asking us to come in for their Happy Hour (which was from 2pm to 12pm).  At first, we thought there were a couple of other bars to check out.  But after a few steps, we realized that this was really close to our hostel, and the music wasn't too bad.  We decided to check out the Fusion Bar

And then we learned that the drinks came with sparklers!
Sparklers make drinks more awesome!
At the Fusion Bar, we renewed our love for piña coladas.  The following night, we learned that there was karaoke at the Fusion Bar.  Jenny and I, well, we never pass up karaoke.
Coast to coast, L.A. to Chicago.
Throughout our stay in Perissa, the Fusion Bar became our hang out.  We became friends with the hostess who initially greeted us, as well as with the other folks who worked at the bar.  We even watched the World Cup at the Fusion Bar (Viva España!).
The British announcer was annoying, but it was fun to watch!
But, you really want to hear about the night that lead to the hangover, yes?

On the fateful karaoke night, we first went to the Beach Bar to check out a local band that Vikki, one of the servers at the Waves Restaurant, recommended to us.  They played really chill music, a bit of jazz and bossa nova.  We had several drinks, and were treated to a shot of Santorini wine from Dimitri (a.k.a. Greek Perry), who's night job is the cashier at Beach Bar.

Then we headed to Fusion Bar for karaoke action and piña coladas.  The karaoke system was actually the Magic Microphone, a very popular system among Filipino households for its easy-to-use plug-in-and-play system.
Magic Mic!
One of the best parts of the Magic Mic is that it gives a score to every singer, with the top scores at 98-100 followed by "You are a excellent singer!"  Yes, that typo is part of the congratulations.

Well, there were only a few singers, and the winning singer got a bottle of champagne, which she shared with my friend and I.  At this point, the shared champagne was a surprise, and we had already ordered a second round of piña coladas.

We decided to continue to chill at Fusion Bar.  Next think you know, these two guys turn in their chairs and proceed to start talking with us.  Jenny and I gave each other a knowing look, but we decided to play nice.  There was a slight language barrier, and we learned that these two guys were Albanians who worked in Santorini during the summer and return to Albania (which, after looking at a map when I returned to the U.S., I realized is a neighbor of Greece).

Next thing you know, there's another round of piña coladas coming our way, paid for by the two guys.  We look at the hostess and the bartender, pleading with them not to bring us more.  Then the shots of tequila showed up, and they weren't the cheapo Cuervo shots.  At this point, we were pretty drunk. 

Shall I review?  Per person, Jenny and I had 2 drinks at the Beach Bar, 1 piña colada, 1 glass of champagne, 2 more piña coladas, and 2 shots of tequila.

The Albanians were then saying that we should head to the Beach Bar, where the music plays all night apparently.  Jenny and I had to draw the line.  We insisted that we were pretty beat, and aside from the fact that we had boyfriends, we had no interest in continuing to party with them.  They continued to insist, but our friends at the bar basically told them that they were closing and shooed them away.

We slowly stumbled back to the hostel, and proceeded to crash out.  And that, my friends, was how we ended up hung over the next morning.  That was also how we became known as the "Piña Colada Girls" at the Fusion Bar.

Several nights later, back at the Fusion Bar, the bartender and part-owner named Romeo (who is also Albanian) invited us to sit up at the bar with him.  He was entertaining several 18-year-old Brits who were starting to get a bit sloppy drunk. 

Romeo started to flirt a bit with Jenny, and they gave each other fake tattoos.
Good times...
Apparently, there are hedgehogs roaming the dark roads of Santorini.
Oh, ya...that's a hedgehog on Jenny's hand.
At this point, the drinks started coming a bit more frequently.  This night, however, there were no shots of tequila to push us over the edge of too drunk.  But Romeo and his friends insisted that we continue to hang out with them throughout the night. 

Romeo suggested that we go to "see the stars" at the beach, so we piled into his car and drove the 5 minute walk to the beach.  As I stared out into the night sky, Romeo was suggesting that we all get into the dark ocean water.  Um, ya...Jenny and I didn't think so.  We said we would go in if he went in, but we didn't have any bathing suits under our regular clothes.  At this point, Romeo reaches out to our hips to feel for our underwear, saying, "You have bathing suits under there...see??" 

Well, I guess Romeo had a bit too much to drink himself.  No one got into the water.  After more pleading for us to get into the water, we said goodnight and said we would see them again as the next night was our last night on the island.

Spa of the Gods
No joke, this place was called the "Spa of the Gods," and it was part of the "Suites of the Gods."  Jenny and I couldn't pass up being pampered at the spa.  We were on vacation, after all.

The Suites and Spa overlooked the area where the Port of Athinios was located, with an amazing and unobstructed view of the caldera.  It was a nice thought to think about staying at such a luxurious (and most definitely expensive) place.  But we concluded even after seeing the location that we were very happy being so close to Perissa Beach.

We signed up for a couples massage, as the receptionist told us it would be the cheaper option, with milk and honey.  I must say, it was an amazing experience.  The spa was in a cavernous area, and the both of us were given great massages. 

As we were wrapped up, soaking in the milk and honey, we both fell asleep.  But we both kept jerking awake!  At one point, I became extremely alert that I was basically immobile in my wrap.  I felt a bit claustrophobic and continuously wiggled my fingers and toes to show myself that I could still move around.

After we were released from our wraps and showered off the delicious smelling concoction, we went to soak in their underground pool.  It wasn't until we were back in L.A. that Jenny clued me in to the fact that the masseuses probably thought we were a couple!  I realized that they were very careful not to "walk in" on us getting busy, remembering that they would ask if it was okay for them to come into the pool area.  We had to laugh about that one!

Being driven back to Perissa, we noticed that the Spa driver was perhaps the only attractive Greek man we had seen the whole time we were there.  Clearly, we had mainly been in touristy areas.  Perhaps next time we'll do a better job of seeking the fabled hot Greek man.

Our Last Night in Santorini
On our last night in Santorini, we dined at The Volcano Restaurant and Taverna, and stuffed our face full of deliciousness.  We then decided to check out what exactly made the Beach Bar so wonderful.  In our week stay, we learned that the Beach Bar was the place "to see and be seen."  Many of the tourists danced the night away there, and the locals and restaurant workers would hang there after work.

We really realized how much older we were than the general tourist crowd at the Beach Bar.  I had noticed that there were a lot of 18 year olds from all over the world, but mainly Europe and Australia.  A lot of them were still learning how much alcohol their bodies could handle.  A lot of them were just begging me to hand out condoms.

Not literally, mind you.  But I just couldn't help but want to go around handing out condoms to those kids.  Perhaps next time we come, we'll find work and I'll set up a health center in Perissa.

There were also several younger teens there, making themselves known by the bottles of soda they would order at the bar.  It was entertaining to watch, but man we felt out of place.

Now, we obviously couldn't avoid heading to Fusion Bar on our final night.  We were hoping to say a final farewell to our hostess friend, but learned that she had gotten a bit sick and wasn't there.  Another woman with a British accent, who we assumed was another person working for the season, was in her place.  We were then hoping to have another fun night with Romeo and friends. 

But instead, two of the other workers (also Albanian) seemed to have been sent to chat with us.  At one point, Jenny asked a question about where the usual hostess was and commented about how busy Romeo seemed that night.  He then proceeded to say that Romeo's wife had come in from the ferry that day, followed by, "Do you understand?"

Jenny and I laughed so hard at that, even though I'm sure they didn't mean it that way.

One point during the evening, I noticed that one of the girls from our hostel was walking down the street with a big black dude.  Wait, let me backtrack.  This girl was from China, and she had been in Santorini for about 14 days already.  She seemed really quite and didn't seem to leave the hostel too much.  She was very nice and friendly, too.  Boy, were we dying of laughter when we saw her walk back towards the hostel with this dude!  Quiet during the day, but party queen by night!  We saluted her that night.

After the Fushion Bar closed, the two guys whose names we can't remember for the life of us took us to the Beach Bar.  We learned a bit more about the two of them and their aspirations, interestingly.  One of them was very much into hip hop, and proceeded to "free-style" for us, and asked us if we "like the Westside."  "Hells ya!" we answered.
Getting gangstah in Greece.
We then learned how young the two of them were.  We asked if they had wives like Romeo, and the really nice one (in the right in the picture above) said that Romeo got married because he was 28, so he still had time as a 23 year old.  We laughed, saying that the main reason we came to Greece was because we were 28 and unmarried.

What an appropriate end to the evening as a jolt back to reality, eh?

Kalineektha means Goodnight
But seriously, we had a lot of fun.  Everyone was extremely nice to us, and not once did we feel that we were in any danger.

I just want to take a minute here to talk about the food once again.  We realized after our first meal in Greece that we would need to share our dinners.  We ate a lot of moussaka, kalamari, baked feta, stuffed tomatoes, and dolmathoes (stuffed grape leaves).  I know for a fact that I was as stuffed as the grilled stuffed kalamari I had in Thira, and I looked it when I returned to the States.
I could only hope to be able to recreate some of the delicious meals we had.  I can honestly say that I have a new love for Greek food after this trip.

Coming up next:  Back to Athens and Back to Reality


  1. hello!!! looking for Filipino bloggers :)

  2. Hi Hotcakes! Welcome to my blog!

  3. You had me absolutely rolling on the floor with laughter! I came across your blog completely by accident... Last year my friend and I made our way to Santorini for some very much needed girl time. Later in the season, so more desserted, but either of us could have written your exact story of Romeo and his crew at Fusion! Night swim attempts and all!


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