We had the pleasure of attending a lovely party on Saturday night in downtown Chania. One of the Americans who works on the base and knows my husband turned 50 and threw a great bash at a restaurant we love. There were four or five dozen people, a mixture of Greeks, American, and Greek-Americans, with drinks, dancing, and heaps of fabulous food. Such a fun night.
A Greek standard evening affair, from what I understand, runs from about 9 or 10 PM to 1 or 2 AM. In the summer my husband reported that even kids' birthday parties started at 9 PM or later; it's just the Time When Things Are Celebrated. The party Saturday started at 7 PM; a new Greek-American friend of ours at the party predicted that the Americans would arrive at 7 and leave by 11 while the Greeks would arrive an hour or two later and stay till at least 1. And she was more or less right! It was great to meet the guests; I was fascinated at the number of couples (maybe 5 or 6) in which at least one spouse was raised in the States and came- or returned- to Crete in adulthood to raise their families.
We sat down around 8:30 and new dishes came out from the kitchen every 20 or so minutes; they were all superb. We left just after 11, and new main-course dishes were still coming out... My guess is that dessert foods didn't make an appearance till midnight. Walking back to the car we found the streets absolutely packed with people of all ages out and about - by far the biggest crowds I've seen so far. We haven't figured out the babysitter scene yet, but the children of the party host attend the same international school as our kids, and he'd kindly invited them to spend the evening at their house, with their babysitter. Several other parents did the same, so about ten kids had a little pizza-and-movie party of their own. When we reached the house at 11:30 to pick them up, they were all still awake. Even the 5-year-old! Chalk it up, I guess, to letting them have a Greek experience? (At the restaurant there were at least three toddlers dining with their parents, still there when we left after 11.)
Speaking of family members, it looks like we may inadvertently have a new (quasi) one... A scraggly little dog has evidently decided to adopt us. The island is full to the hilt with stray dogs and cats; you see them everywhere - wandering down streets, hanging out at the market, sitting alongside parking lots. They're almost like squirrels in the US. Toward the end of last week one showed up on our doorstep; of course the kids were keen and like playing with her. We don't feed her and she doesn't come in the yard or house (a "no pets" zone), but she seems not to care. She's become glued to the premises, intermittently whining outside the gate. She's even followed me twice on my runs through the farm trails behind our house. Half the kids call her "Persian" and the other half call her "Cookie"... We'll see how long she decides to hang around.
The weather has cooled down noticeably since we arrived three weeks ago; it's generally 60 at night and mid to high 70's in the afternoon. And it's windy here! Not always, but often. That might seem like an obvious thing, considering we're on island in a fairly arid climate without abundant tree cover... but somehow it wasn't one I knew to expect. Joni Mitchell - fun fact - spent time in Crete in the 70's and she wrote her song "Carey" when she was on the island. It begins: "The wind is in from Africa; last night I couldn't sleep..." Hasn't kept us up at night yet, but if we find it does at some point, it'll be nice to chalk that up to a bonding experience with good old Joni.
In the meantime, it sure makes for a speedy dry for the wash on the clothesline...!
This is post 5 in a series on our family's move to Crete.