Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Book 1:13 Kastellorizo Part 2


Kastellorizo 1920's - a prosperous vibrant island community

On first impression, the island immediately answered every dream. Within hours that dream had been brought to the shuddering reality that what we had come to here was not some idyll but the devastated aftermath of a human tragedy on a catastrophic scale. A beautiful mask that melted as I watched into visions of a fiery hell within.Superficially it felt much like Hydra, but almost deserted. The few people spoke quietly, moved furtively. Ruins were everywhere. One mile across an islet-strewn strait to the north lay Turkey.  A tiny town was just visible on the coast under the backdrop of towering over 3,000 metres high snow-covered mountains. I thought I'd found the perfect place to write and grow my baby within; then I began to realize the nightmare that lay beneath this paradise. The horrors these people had endured. As the months passed I realized Kastellorizo reflected the fate WW2 had inflicted on most of Greece.

Here I learned what the Major, my soldier father, had never been able to tell me. What war really meant. Kastellorizo was my Gallipoli. My coming to awareness of the horrors of war. Australians had been so cocooned, so shielded. We had no way of knowing the real cost and aftermath of those wars. Poor little unknown and largely forgotten Kastellorizo had endured hell on earth. We arrived to witness a wrecked culture, a destroyed community. But the remaining few who survived had greeted us as we came ashore in the tender with such welcoming hospitality. such dignity and grace that none of that past intruded on our arrival. It took many months for me to realize something of the extent of what had happened here on this furthest outpost of the Greek nation.

Kastellorizo 1966 (my snap) - compare this with 1920's view above! Turkey's >3,000 m. snow-topped mountains so close across straits.

We had no idea what we were coming to.  It was a curious situation, being the first non-Greek Australian tourists to Kastellorizo.  No one could work out why we had chosen their islands.  I just said I was intrigued with their being so remote. So far from the rest of Greece. They were a challenge. The little dotted line on the map that ran around the bottom of Turkey to the east of Rhodos, embracing these unheard of island pin spots intrigued me. They were, after all, the most easterly outpost, not only of Greece, but of Europe. I always liked going furthest out to the extremities. Furthest north, utmost south. Most easterly point. Western edge. Until one can go no further, then one looks back with a sense of completion. Take it to the Limit, sing the Eagles. My small version of a deeply held human instinct that will one day take us to a new home on a Goldilocks planet far far away, if we survive the looming biosphere breakdown crisis.

Kastellorizo - late 20th C. - still scarred but recovering as a tourist destination

We were treated like royalty and when the realization that I was also pregnant dawned
we were given the best house available from the hundreds of deserted residences, most half bombed out ruins from the results of the war where the British, the Italians and the Germans had fought out major sea battles, bombing the island almost to obliteration.  The few people who had hung on, the Mayor, the priest and a few key people to keep the place running,  lived a life of uneasy isolation in the ruins.  The ferry from Rhodos came once a week in good weather, while the proximity of the Turkish coast, just a few kilometers across the rocky straits, kept them in a constant state of alertness.The horrors of the ongoing situation in Cyprus bit deeply into everyone’s consciousness, . I saw submachine guns hanging behind many doors.

Kastellorizo today as prosperity returns

At first all this hardly touched me.  I’m afraid I was a disappointing first Ozzy tourist for them. Colin was better at it, always the extrovert. Willing to sing Waltzing Matilda and demonstrate the brown-eye greeting of surfies in the taberna, expounding on the merits and otherwise of the leaders we love to hate, the inequities of the system and so on. I just wanted to write, but I didn’t care for writing about the social interactions, who was courting who and where the vendettas lay.  Not for me the “human” aspect of the life there, those captured conversations, those pearls of wisdom of the crones, the wild card crazy joys of the little kids, the romantic notions of the superstitious. the eccentric barfly’s proclamations, and so on.  Of course I did move among them, but it was only the priest and the baker whom I spent what I considered “quality” time with, not the Mayor, the smugglers, the barkeepers, the shoals of children or the old women in black. They were so nice to me too, trying to weave me in with morning coffee and baklava sessions.  But I was not interested in the niceties of polite society, the bare sitting rooms, the family portraits. It was a mine field of dead relatives I could not ask about. I had no concept of what each family member must live with in terms of loss and grief. I did not want to unwittingly bring back some mother or father's dead children, sisters, brothers, parents..Because of my advancing pregnancy I couldn’t drink the coffee and the baklava made me queasy.  I just felt anything I said would be wrong, and if I rushed out to be sick it would be misinterpreted.  I turned inward, only concerned with writing, nourishing my growing child, following my own guiding light.  After a while they gave up asking me to visit, especially when we moved to a remoter farmhouse, away from the little harbor town.

For me the fascination was in the ethos of the island itself, or rather the archipelago, as Kastellorizo is one of a small group of islands, the rest being uninhabited.  The physical landscape, the ecology, intrigued me.  But of course then I had no academic backup, it was the emerging awakening of an intuition to evolution. The understanding of the planetary rhythms, weather, how civilization had evolved in this place and the light, the wildlife, plants, rocks, patterns in the clouds;  these were my preoccupations, not the skeleton of the remnant community, those last survivors of a once vibrant island culture, now so radically devastated.

My husband went off on a ten day caique voyage around the coast of Turkey.  Before we left Australia we had spent a couple of years traveling, surfing the east coast and we had both worked in a variety of random jobs. One of his had been briefly as a lobster fisherman off Crowdy Head . 

He'd loved it so was in his element working as a deckhand.   

To him I think his island experience was a way-out adventure. I envied him his mobility, the ability to just up an off, on a whim,  exploring a wild unknown region, or so it seemed to me at the time.  No doubt the inhabitants would be amused.

But I was content. The house we had been given to live in was one of a row of Venetian architecture on the western side of the narrow quay-front of the tiny bell-shaped harbor. It was very solid and well-designed.  Three stories with the bottom basement story dug out of the hillside and containing a sterna, or well. The temperature was always pleasant and even in this room, which was also a pantry, although I hardly used it, as we didn’t stay long enough here to get domestic.  The bottom floor, at street level, had two windows and a shuttered door.  Thick stone walls, plastered over in white with blue trims and a flight of stairs to the upper room where we camped in high style, using the sadhu orange muslin length of cloth I had purchased in Bombay as a vibrant sun-enhancing canopy over the mattress on the floor. A tiny fireplace.  French doors leading out onto a minuscule balcony. I could sit on this tiny porch and flip a coin into the sapphire clear water where I could see the tumbled ruins of previous houses lying on the bottom.  It seemed that when they wanted to build they just dumped the old houses into the harbor. An arm with an elegant beckoning hand was just visible emerging from between large marble blocks way way down. I wondered why no one had salvaged the old statue.  It was curiously unsettling. It was only much later that I came to realize the ruins under the water were the results of the bombing blitzes and were the remains of many houses, now empty gaps along the quay on either side of where were were living.

As soon as I woke on morning after arriving I explored the town, finding the supply store, checking out the few bars, I wandered along the quay to a promontory overlooked by a ruined crusader castle.  A tiny mosque and minaret on the point, an outpost of Allah looking across the furious islet-strewn foam-streaked straits to the towering mountains of Mohammedan Turkey, so close, so forbidden. 
Street paved in marble - 1966

Turing inland away from the waterfront I wandered up an ancient street paved in white marble, feeling the antiquity, sorbing the spirit of place.  My mind was full of questions: who laid these stones and how long ago? How many thousands of long gone souls had walked here before me. I felt as if I was the first to come this way, but knew I was the last. It was all very humbling and I felt such gratitude and privilege being in this place at all.

I felt my whole being sink into the sense of place. 

Ancient stones.

I came to a small cathedral and peeped inside and there kneeling at the candlelit silver, pale blue and gold altar among icons and pine resin smoke from his swinging censor, was a priest.  A fine large man with a big beard and very long dark hair coiled in a bun on the nape of his neck.  He was in magnificent regalia of silver and gold metallic cloth and made a most richly regal aristocratic statement in what, so far had been a rather drab, sparse, social picture composed of barefoot children, crones in black and fishermen in ancient work-stained garments. Except, of course, for the Mayor and the shopkeepers, but even they seemed poverty- stricken compared with this gorgeous man in his splendid fine cathedral setting.  I left him to his sonorous chantings, but came back later to talk with him, fascinated by the Greek orthodox Church, which I knew so little about.  It struck me as being very Russian in origin, with its icons and pine incense, the long-haired bearded priest, more like a monk, in a luxurious stone palace hung with fine drapes and tapestries.  I mused on the contrast of the priest of my own culture, the Anglican minister, stark in his black and white, framed by his wooden box church.  Only the flowers and the stained glass to enhance the view, seduce the eye.  The difference was as stark as a slice of plain bread is to a chocolate eclair.  He helped me decipher the Teach-Yourself-Greek handbook I was struggling to learn from.  Within a few weeks I was conversing well, reading reasonably easily and even writing in Greek a little.  Well I was happy with what I was able to learn with his help.  Suddenly the whole English language developed another dimension and I realized how much Greek is embedded in it. As our conversations grew more fluent the island history was revealed and as the months past I began to see Kastellorizo in a very different way to the vapid dream I had of it initially. A deep sense of grief and pain started eating at me. The more I learned, the more I became mortified. The scales fell from my eyes.

The other person who took my attention was the baker, another Aphrodite. 
With Aphrodite, the island baker, and some of her older children 1966

Aphrodite was the island baker. She had some sixteen children, with genetic representation from all around the Mediterranean.  I enjoyed her family.  I loved being there while the bread was being made. Mixing the dough.  Stoking up the ovens.  The cheery woman and her well trained team of happy kids.  My association with her alienated me from the other women of the island with their immaculately polished houses.   Aphrodite's was a cheeky wild tribe who made their own subculture that alienated them from the rest of the village.  Free woman were few and far between in the Greece of the 60’s.  Melina Mercuri could have played this Aphrodite to perfection.  It took me a while to come to terms with the way Aphrodite functioned in this community. Everyone needed here bread and everyone needed to cook their meals in her ovens. So everyone stayed on good terms with her. 

After a few weeks living on the harbor quay we decided to move to another place, to get another feel of the island.  We chose an abandoned ruin of an old farmhouse with only one remaining livable room. The walls were some meter or so deep and there was an inglenook style walk-in fireplace with stone seating on either side of the open fire. A hook on a chain held a large old iron pot suspended above the fire.  It was set in a rocky field on the northern shore, some forty meters away from the waters of the islet-dotted straits separating Kastellorizo from the coast of  Turkey backed by the dramatic snow-covered mountains.
This place answered my every need, it was the realisation of my dream. This is what I came for. Here I could write.

Winter was in full thrust. Furious gales through the straits separating us from the Turkish shores drove foaming seething masses of raging water crashing over the islets in great displays.  No boats ventured through them in this weather.  The back drafts of the gales seeped through the cracks in the thick old stones house walls, howling and whining among the ruins outside. We wrapped up and I kept the fire stoked all day and night.  Outside in the stony grassy field jonquils flowered under bare old almond trees still holding some last ripe fruit.  Steeply behind us rose the sheer scarps of the mountain at the island’s center. It had to be climbed.  The villagers told me there were one hundred and twenty monasterios on the island and I wanted to explore.  
Steep steps on cliff track above harbor to island's plateau interior

 Almost every sunny day I walked that mountain, hauling my ripening bulging body up the seemingly vertical goat tracks until I reached the plateau behind, where I would blissfully amble among the thyme-set rocks, alone in my reverie.  I didn’t find any monasterios, but I did find a few tiny stone huts, which I romantically thought were probably once used for meditation retreats, but now only housed donkey harnesses and goat bells.  That, of course, may have been their only purpose.  I had a favorite where I returned several times. It was just a simple stone square room with a dirt floor and a wooden door.  Slates covered the roof. A basic shelter.  I swept it clean with a bundle of thyme sticks and sat for hours there in the warming winter sun on my duffel coat on a stone slab seat outside the door dreaming into the best view out over the harbor and the straits, with the houses and caiques like pinpoints below, letting the hours slip by.  Sometimes writing, sometimes drawing, but mostly just letting it impress itself upon me.  Opening my senses, grokking the resonances, the rhythms,  filling my memory banks with treasures for my old age.  Contacting my gestating child within who seemed to be joining in my consciousness in sorbing this enjoyable place.  Other times I would just lie in the thyme thickets looking up into the sky, watching the streets of fast clouds driven by those fierce winter gales, passing rhythmically through my field of view, secure in a warm soft fragrant herb hollow, feeling like an animal in a wallow, which I suppose I was, my hands on my belly bulge, letting the baby within, now a vigorous acrobat, communicate back though my finger pressures. 

Sometimes I would just wander across the open plateau, encountering few other living beings. Once a single goat herder, another time a wandering sad donkey. 

One day I reached another view, of the dramatic lesser islands of the group, pinnacles of rock rising sheer out the sea hundreds of feet below.  And to the south the mirror of the eastern Mediterranean shining like rippling silk in the wind, stretching away, away, to Africa, Arabia. 

Looking back now I realize how ill-prepared I had been.  I hadn’t a clue about the history of the old stones I was wandering among.  All I knew was that it had been a place where many battles had been fought.  Sea battles.  I knew the old town had been bombed nearly out of existence in the second world war and that once the Venetians occupied the islands,  but for the rest, I could have been on Mars.  Up here it didn’t matter to me. I was in my own world, my private hormone heaven, my child and me, free, wandering in peace, unfettered, while out there in that human hive the affairs of the world went on and I didn’t give a damn in my happy pregnancy. It took many months before I realized the truth of the rubble and ruins. The coming to awareness turned the idyll to a stark reality, horrifying, humbling, unbearable.
I no longer felt I had the right to comment on what I was finding here. My writing dried up and became confined to journal entries recording the weather, the encounters of the day or post cards to Mama

Himself was off in his world then too.  We didn’t interact much.  I’d go off on my rambles early leaving him to sleep off his boozy excesses of his previous nights' taberna socializing. He'd wake mid morning, amble off along the harbor quay looking for brunch, then start the whole Groundhog Day process, soaking up beer and ouzo and getting plastered with the men until totally soused. As I negotiated the last steps of the descent to the quay I would often cringe on hearing his bull-horn tones. bellowing echoes around the harbour-front.

 I watched the way the men sat around the cafes and the women slaved at home, rarely appearing outside their stone prisons.   I began to see the inequality of it all and stayed away.  Only going to see Aphrodite to buy bread or to have food cooked in her oven.  It was a social world I could not enjoy.  On one occasion I was in a back lane exercising my upper body by hanging from a tree, doing press-ups.  As I often did. Stretches & limbering up before tackling the long walk up the precipitous track to the back plateau. A trio of black crones came around a bend in the lane and with much po-po-po-ing admonished me, saying I would lose my baby.  Telling me, as far as I could work out with my very rough understanding of Greek, that I should be a good wife and stay home and stop all this exercise, it was bad for me and the baby. 

How could I explain what it was like to be an Australian woman, used to riding the big surf out the back with the boys, running two miles and a swimming a thousand meters before breakfast.  I had a body with  muscles that missed their native action, needed satisfaction.  So I didn’t. I nodded and smiled and when they were out of sight I found a more private tree where I could stretch and bend to fulfill my needs.  It was too cold to swim. The realization that I was a creature of a new world came through ever more clearly.  That old world was suffocating itself and I wanted no part of its’ slavery and mores.  I would take my child to a place where such values would not impinge on it’s freedom and growth.  Another island, Fatu Hiva, the Marquesas, always present in my mind’s eye, another destination.  Gauguin and Thor Heyerdahl's retreats. Ah, but that was never to be. 

The tentacles of socialization bound my husband tightly and he poisoned himself with alcohol, creating a monster which destroyed us all before I could realize that dream. We were both laying the basis of very different future lives. I began to be aware that I was falling out of love with him. He was no longer my charming Neptune, redolent of foaming surf, ozone, seaweed, but some repulsive idiot ogre with a bad breath stinking of stale cafes.
My beautiful baby Klea - Dunterton Devon  Spring 1966
 It was hardly the place to think of separating but, with only 2 months to my due date,  I began to plan to give birth in England and booked our return on the next boat to Rhodos. Then we would return to Athens and make the long journey to London safely on the Orient Express. I wanted to be around happy people, joy, laughter and fun. One morning I woke from a dream with a clear vision of a tiny cottage on the English West Country moors. So, with a Spring birth immanent I set my sights on finding that destination in the West Country of Devon or Cornwall.  That was my plan and thus it came to pass.

One of the events on the island was the arrival of a boat.  The weekly steamer from Rhodos was the main event of course.  But often in the fierce storms sailing boats would shelter in the harbor.  One morning I came down to the quay and two old three-master ships were riding at anchor, sails drying on the deck, loaded heavily down to the waterline.  A buzzy crowd was gathered around the cafe tables and everyone seemed to be eating oranges.  They were trading vessels that plied the Alexandria, Haifa, Athens, Malta route.  The crew were Arabs, Egyptians, Turks and mixtures of all of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with many black men in the mix.   Here was a pocket capsule of a world I could never enter. I was intrigued.  Genetics in action.  I watched them visit Aphrodite’s bake house and saw the younger children leave, holding each other by the hand, led by the eldest daughter.  The older boys sat outside, squatting on the quay, eating oranges.  Tathata.  Thus it is, it is thus.

On another windy day while my beloved was still away on the caique  a large steamer was sheltering as I came into the town to buy supplies for our farmhouse existence on the northern shore. I noticed a a newcomer, a very citified, well dressed and well-groomed  trim-bearded stranger sitting at one of the cafe tables. A fine handsome gent I noted, as I passed. He jumped to his feet and introduced himself to me as the vessel’s captain.  He seemed nonplussed at my presence.  I hadn’t realized I stood out so much.  I thought I’d “blended in”,  gone native so to speak, with my dark long hair and unplucked thick eyebrows and dark clothes. Apparently not. 

What are you doing here?”  he exclaimed, in English as if it was something quite extraordinary to him. “I mean, someone like you !”  I didn’t find out quite what that meant to him  so I asked him what he meant. "A young western woman like you, I don't find any like you in these remote island ports" he flustered.  His idea of what I was, in this place obviously did not compute for him. Likewise I was at a loss categorizing him. Didn't feel like a traveler or tourist, maybe he had relatives here. He could have been CIA or a gun-running smuggler for all I knew.  He spoke English as well as I did, educated, suave, with a French or Italian, perhaps, trace of an accent.  But I didn’t speculate.  Besides, he was ultra attractive and I hadn’t had those kinds of spells caste on me for many a moon so I was somewhat entranced, not thinking straight.

I explained I was here to visit, to write, to explore.  Just a tourist really.  Perhaps it was a bit like going to Paris to write.  Somehow the destination for the muse this year was the Greek Island Experience.   Next year Mehico.  Somewhere out on the planet the bees come to the ideological honeypot of ancient stones, magic mountains, beautiful coasts where trees are still trees and the food comes from the locals who are happy to sell and barter.  This was my honeypot.But I didn’t impart any of this to him. Maybe we were a bit off the beaten track, if that was what worried him.  

But I suddenly saw that, yes, maybe I was a bit different.  I wasn’t in the Kalymnos or Hydra arty set, nor was I swanning it with the Mykonos international backpackers, or the Rhodos hand weavers, like the main currents of tourism in the Aegean seemed to flow.  I’d never questioned my lack of social conformity.  I just followed my dreams.  A certain sense of geography, an instinct for antiquity.  When I did encounter these tourist flows in places I was drawn to, not for the contemporary “scene” but for the sense of place, I generally withdrew, watching them from a distance.  Entering at times, but never a part of that action.  Others would try to attach to me.  But I generally didn’t encourage them.  I had my way and let them go theirs. 

 I think my husband was put out by this.  He liked his “scene”, he liked socializing, he liked being a party king.  One of my more vivid memories of him on Kastellorizo was looking into the doorway of the cafe late one night, or was it early one morning, to see if he was OK, or was unconscious in a drunken stupor and needed to be helped home, only to be presented with the classic scene of him “dropping his daks” (as he would so eloquently express it) and giving the “brown-eye” to the assembled drunks while singing “Waltzing Matilda”.  The good old Ozzy tourist out on the lam.  It was moments like that that made it easy for me to walk away from him finally.

The handsome stranger invited me to sit & share a moment. He introduced himself as Captain Jules X. Over coffee we explained ourselves, thumbnail his & her stories. He had been born in Paris to British parents who traded upmarket goods,(jewelry, fabrics, furs and so on), between Asia, Russia and the west. They traveled and lived the good life with houses on Lake Como and Cap Ferrat,until WW2. He'd been sent to private school in Devon where he fell in love with the ocean and after some years in Naval College he attained his Master Mariner's certificate and went on to captain many merchant ships trading around the globe. Apparently now he not only captained the ship riding at anchor in the harbor, but also owned it and some dozen or so others. His presence here was unexpected and due to bringing one of his crew to visit his dying mother. 

I was very impressed with this man and soaked up his ethos like wine for my soul. Once again my horizons had been widened as I took in the fact that people like him were part of our civilization's patchwork of people, characters, professions and the lives they lived. He was my Onassis, peeling away another onion layer of my innocent naivety, expanding my mind to reveal a whole new panorama of possibilities this life could offer. He brought my wallpaper alive. Suddenly the world was full of functioning jig-saw pieces, tessellations activating, coming undone and reforming in differing patterns.

I loved this island of Kastellorizo.  Not for the social life to be sure, no fault of the islanders, that is just me. But for its’ beauty, its’ peaceful isolation, its’ setting in that proximity to the dramatic snow-clad mountain backdrop of the Turkish mainland. I believe it is now a tourist destination of the Eastern Aegean with the old isolation now replaced with easier access by fast hydrofoil services carrying hundreds of foreign tourists. The old enmity with the Turks probably still festers in the hearts of the elders, but commerce has won the day and they freely cross that mile of islet-strewn water to the Turkish mainland.  But I don’t know.  The proximity allowed a lot of intermarrying in the old days.  It isn’t appropriate for an ignorant foreign observer to even try to assess the workings of such societies. 

I recently tried to find out more about the island(s) from the Kastellorizon Society in Melbourne and received some flashy tourist pamphlets back in the mail.  General information - hotels, boat times.  But no history or ecology. Too old now, but I would love to have had the opportunity to have returned, this time after some solid research.  To approach it from a greater depth of field of knowledge of its’ evolution as a part of the eastern Aegean would make it really come to life for me. But I’m also sure I would still find that intense serenity, that unique ethos of the isolated island of the Levant. I have only given the roughest outline of my time and what I found in those few months I was privileged enough to spend on Kastellorizo in winter 1966, but it is all there, in my mind, and a lot still untouched in a folder of notes, mine alone. 

I found so much about Kastellorizo online. The island is now in easy reach of the world, just minutes by air from Rhodos, a short ferry ride from Kas on the Turkish coast and visited by large ships. On the fast hovercraft Rhodos is only  two and a half hours away. This site reveals the island as it is today.  http://www.my-favourite-planet.de/english/europe/greece/dodecanese/kastellorizo/kastellorizo-10.html

What I took away from Kastellorizo was, above all, the deepest respect and admiration for the Greek people. Every time I meet a Greek, and there are so many here in Oz, I understand what it took for that person to exist in the here and now through the sacrifices their ancestors endured in the past. That strength of endurance-heart.  I recognize that goes for all of us, in some degree on a scale of such things. It could apply to so many cultures, places, people. It was the Greek experience of 1966 that opened my eyes to the way that process of our evolution works. So many Greek individuals I encounter evoke a special, deep love and respect, born on Kastellorizo. 

 Like Freya Stark, I will always feel that stab to my endurance-heart from Kastellorizo. Here my naive dreamer learned so many lessons on her/my quest for the Truth. But some Truths can take time to process, often needing to be reinforced by other sources, viewed from other aspects, illustrated with other images.

I had no idea I was being thrust into such a long quest.
One which would see me travel further than Freya, going even deeper into our origins and potential destination following that bright star of:

"who are we, where did we come from, where are we going?"

Outside my studio the day is growing.  The worst drought since records have been kept.  Another isolated place.  I seem to need to live alone in serenity.  Where I can grok the rhythms of the planet, sorb the passing planet spin, watch the wild animals come in to the water - the newly hatched Lace monitor, the big old black shiny Land mullet, the resident
Leuwin’s honeyeater, the noisy Scrub wren family with their indignant shrieking as they discover the presence of the Night tiger raiding their nest.  From under my couch a Major skink regards me speculatively and makes a rush for the security of the refrigerator, dragging its footless back leg stump, a legacy of a Lace monitor dragon attack from last season.  It’s Jacaranda time again, the air is infused with its' violet blue, as falling flowers carpet the roof and ground all around the studio. Beautiful to the delighted eye, treacherous slippery pratfalls if that eye chooses rhapsody over safety.
The sun is well up but the smoke in the air has obscured it and the light is an eerie sulfurous glare.  When will the burning stop ?  When will we wake up to the damage we are doing to our precious land, water, air.  From space the blue jewel is now a furzy old potato.  I grieve for human nature, so self-absorbed in ego and destruction.  Once I believed we were beautiful, the gift of love on the planet.  Now, not so much. Now I see the brutals.  Now I understand that aesthetes are a breed apart, fragile and threatened.  The meek will not inherit the earth.  The arrogant and the powerful have done so and all that is delicate and pure is being pulverized and destroyed. Like the beauty of the jacaranda blooms, treachery lurks in those beautiful children of love. I despair.  But I prevail, nurturing my delusional dream, even now, when I have seen, experienced, understood, the potentially fatal danger of such holding such romantic dreams.

Yes I do have something to say and it will be said.  The story of my long walk is long, but it will be told.  I will add my presence to the congregation of voices, one of billions of stories archived in The Cloud.  I lived on planet Earth in a time my culture has designated the 20th and 21st centuries. Time is tricky. Try to hold a millisecond of it and !poof!...gone. ever the past. To me every moment of my life is as valid now as it was then Memory is an unreliable thing. Fortunately I have kept diaries spanning some >60 years and can easily access precious moments and events should any memory feel invalid or vague. As I was seeking Truth I recorded truth as I progressed through time and space to this here & now. Sure, like most of us, in my mind I live now, here, at the time when the technology of civilization has produced the computer, satellites and the so-called Internet.  In other words I can put my words out via this blog and hopefully, potentially, they will forever be in The Cloud for you to access and read in the eternal now of some undefined future. Maybe you will even reply.  What am I saying? Time travel? Who knows...technology is a miraculous magical thing.
 Read on........

So where was I - oh yes.  After Marrakesh. Ayesha is Seeking Atlantis. Walking with a donkey called Maya with Brother Thoma, the Son of God, along the west coast of Morocco where the Atlas Mountains drop into the Atlantic Ocean.. Who is this woman and what is she doing here?

So very very far from Kastellorizo, and several years on, I had transformed to another almost unrecognizable version of myself. Let me take you there....
read on in next Blog #14 Atlantis

Footnote - photos by David John at www.my-favourite-planet.com
In this blog I very grateful to David John for allowing me to include some of his images of 21st c Kastellorizo from his very comprehensive My Favorite Planet blog. I encourage interested readers to visit this site to fully appreciate the island  and all it has to offer the adventurous traveler seeking an ultimate Greek island experience.