The village square on a windy evening in October. A few people sitting at Lefteris kafenion, a few at the Rainbow Bar, some on their way to eat at Georgio’s, or Taverna Zoi, but it’s still a bit early for dining, so a quick G&T first. Friends meet up for a chat, pulling fleeces and cardigans around their shoulders. These are the ones who have been on Symi for the summer and feel the difference in temperature more than those who have just arrived from even colder climes. Not that it is actually that cold, still in the 20s, but it feels it now that the wind has moved around to come in from the north.
Later, in Yialos, more friends meeting, locals greeting, wine poured and some in shorts wondering if they should pop home and change. Now it is dinner time, and some tavernas are doing as well as to be expected as the season slows down. Others are strangely quiet; some across the bay shine their lights in the hope that more guests will arrive. It might be even windier down by the water, and maybe not the best place to sit should that rain come back. Tavernas with inside seating fare better.
Watching the street life pass by as starters and mains are ordered and the wine jug filled. Shopkeepers going about their business, tourists wrapping up in pashminas, others braving the cooling air, still in their shorts. Conversations in various languages, the sky now dark. Laughter rings through the lanes hot on the heels of a chugging moped. A bicycle or two. It must be ten to the hour as there’s the bus driver heading home for a quick turnaround before getting back to his driving seat at more or less the top of the hour. Life has a timetable.
And then, the next day. The wind has died down but what there is of it is still from the north. The sea is ruffled and white in places, but not overly so. The Sea Dreams comes to harbour blasting its horn in an unusual rhythm, and a taxi boat hums out towards Nimborio. In the village square, the neighbours meet for their coffee and chat. Laughter from the Olive Tree, the smell of herbs wafts up the Kali Strata. The supermarket is not yet busy, but fresh vegetables have arrived. What can’t be found at the supermarket can be found at the green grocer’s, the Fruit Boutique. The corner shop is open, and Michaels stalwartly guards his empty peripteron, as he must.
Life is here, and life goes on.