August 23rd, 2002


Much sunlight, little privacy

I'm on holiday in Crete with Anastasia. There is much sunlight, blue sea, wind, surf, haze, and, just now, a full moon. There are mountains - lots of mountains - tastefully decorated with several rows of wind generators. These turn optimistically by day and by night are visible as a single red light each, clearly a joke to aviation that it is them, rather than the huge dark mountain, that pilots should watch out for.

There is culture too, a long-time export of the island. We are sitting in the courtyard of the small Venetian stronghold over the town of Sitia, about to listen to a concert based on Erotokritos, a traditional classic (a long poem recounting a somewhat more upbeat Romeo and Juliet story). Earlier we perambulated the indecipherable ruins of the Minoan palace of Zakros. I'm convinced that archaeologists are largely making it up when they say "These were the queen's chambers, that the ceremonial cistern". There were cute little turtles in the alleged ceremonial cistern.

Crete feels remarkably more relaxed than Milos, where we spent four days earlier, as my inherited family are not here. There are no arguments as to which room of the house we'll stay in, why that room, how long we'll stay, why so little, and nobody is asking when would we be getting married...

The nicer beaches are enough of a drive from the town where we stay that only one outing in the day makes sense. As we lay on a towel next to the sea but far from any privacy, I become increasingly frustrated that it's not yet socially acceptable to simply have sex on the public beach. We're already naked. There is enough personal space between us and neighbouring groups. Would anyone really mind?

Our culture is, for better or worse, one of images. It could really use some positive public images of sex.

Here until the end of August. Back in Edinburgh September 1st.

  • Current Music
    Psarogiannis: Erotokritos