Skiathos Town, Greece
08 AUGUST 2012
What am I doing here? How can I even begin to explain what I’m doing here. Thousands of miles from Ramadan and fasting and my family and my entire life. Sitting here, having a coffee on a Greek island as a dog owner (the kind I used to always see who buy treats for their dogs, allow the dogs in the house and think of the dog as a family member – even giving it a name – not like in Morocco where none of that happens) so the dog owner is saying “Sit, sit, sit. Good boy. Good dog.” Amazing. What am I doing here?
Well, just about 30 minutes ago, I stepped off the sailboat I’ve been on for the past several days. It’s been a beautiful couple of days – that’s for sure. Green waters and great sunshine, plenty of beauty and more than a little bit of relaxation. Greece is beautiful, warm, with wonderful food, fantastic sailing, beautiful scenery – and What the hell am I doing here? Isn’t it Ramadan? Aren’t I supposed to be suffering and fasting through Moroccan days with my wife and breaking the fast with her family every day and cussing and sweating in Morocco – yeah, about that…
I’ve fasted and suffered enough in Morocco during Ramadan. Enough to last a lifetime. My friend Graham, an expat in Fez who owns a small guesthouse comes sailing every year and needs crew for his boat and every time he asks, I find myself saying – “Yes, sounds great.” This year, since it’s during Ramadan, it sounds even better. I waited in Morocco to see my little Sophia’s first birthday and throw her her first party – and then – I caught a flight out of there. My wife loves it, she loves Ramadan, it’s her favorite part of the year – eating and fasting and suffering with family. Two weeks was enough for me though.
A flight from Fez to Milan, a slice of pizza in the airport, a flight from Milan to Thessaloniki – a night in a hotel before a bus to Volos and then – on the boat with three other expats from Fez, one of whom told me that he had just gotten word that one of his employees got sliced with a knife, because there is always a bit of Ramadan violence in Fez. And then sailing – Greek food, tavernas, a bit of beer, some gyros, and plenty of sun and water. No more fasting for me, but still sweating in the heat. Of course the sea spray makes it bearable and even if my cabin on the yacht gets a bit warm in the morning I can dive into the turquoise water and wash away the sweat – unlike back in Morocco where I just had to wait for the sun to go down.
So, that’s what I”m doing here. Loving it.