When one is on vacation in a strange place, alone, a few things they should not do, or at least not do in the same day:
1) Jump off a cliff with their phone, despite how waterproof the case is. I do not think the good people at Otterbox built this into their specifications. (This one I should have known.)
2) Go out with any English dudes who want to party... because you'll be out til the next morning.
3) Stay out til the next morning when you have to get up and travel most of the day.
4) Forget to take your anti-depressant.
5) Completely freak out and have a near meltdown because maybe your phone is forever dead and you didn't realize how much you rely on it.
The first few nights here I was having trouble sleeping. Only got about 7 hours total in my first two days. Which is, needless to say, exhausting. I woke up early on my first full day in Santorini. I wanted to make my way to Oia, which was on the exact opposite side of the island from my hotel. And while buses are great, they take forever, and as mentioned, you don't necessarily get to go where you want to in one try. SO, I went and rented a four-wheeler. (A scooter had been my dream, but for whatever reason, my license does not cover motorbikes. Which is probably for the better as there is a lot of stop and go and uphills and downhills on the islands.)
And off I went! The island, while small, still takes about an hour to traverse across.
(Side note: I sit here writing this next to the pool at Lagada beach. I had made a point to Emma back on Santorini that I was so impressed that none of the pools had signs for no diving and no glass. Both diving and glass containers are allowed. Which just means Americans can't be trusted with common sense. Skip to right now. I brought a beer with me down to the pool. And what did I do before taking a sip? Smashed it. Because Americans cannot be trusted.)
I drove through the island back by Thira, heading straight for Oia. Got there and it's just as picturesque as you'd think. Greece makes it very difficult for me to take a bad photo. White buildings, blue domes, tiny sidewalks sprawling up and down the hillside. The only kicker is that it becomes obvious that this is a definite tourist location. I pass a shop selling Jimmy Choos. I see my first McDonald's. I go into a shop looking a jewelry. A saleslady helps me try on a necklace it's over $1k. She helps me try on a bracelet in a similar price range. "I'll be back later," I say.
I walk through the streets and hear bells and yelling behind me. Here come the donkeys. I stop at a cafe for lunch. I ordered a cheese, pepper, tomato sauce and ham (I think it was ham) crepe. Santorini has a local wine that is sweet and red. I ordered a glass. It's like sangria... but not. Everything was delicious and I overlooked the town and sea whilst stuffing my face.
After I ate and looked around a bit more, I decided to be on my way. I drove around, without a destination in mind and made my way to the end of the island, down below Oia. I didn't realize where I was going until I got there. But if you walk past a bunch of seaside restaurants and take a hiking trail behind the island, you'll find a cove with people tanning, swimming and yes, that's right, cliff diving. When in Rome, right?
The whole thing terrified me, but I knew I'd kick myself if I didn't take the opportunity to fling my body off a cliff at one of the most beautiful destinations I've ever been to. You have to swim across to a tiny island rock, hoist yourself up and walk up to the top of the cliff. There had been groups of people going over, jumping and swimming back. But when I went over, I was alone. Which is scary as all hell. And there was no one except myself to egg me on.
I jumped. I don't have much to report about it except that I'm still scared. My legs were shaking for about a half hour afterwards. I'm not sure how high up it was. Maybe 20 feet?
And then... I realized need to write a strongly worded letter to the people at Otterbox. Because when they designed their waterproof case, they did not take into consideration the fact that I was going to jump off a cliff into the sea with it. (Again, yeah, yeah, my bad.) Something leaked and my phone hasn't been the same since. It was mostly dead all day yesterday, which really bummed me out. And scared me.
But more on that later. Back to the day.
Ugh. So I'd realized the night before that my reoccurring tonsillitis was rearing its ugly head again. And no one wants to be sick on vacation. So I took a shot on the ride back to the other side of the island and stopped at the pharmacy to see if they'd give me some antibiotics. I told them what it was for and they said they wouldn't give me anything if I didn't know which medicine I needed. Which I get. But I could not for the life of me remember what I'd had before. So I furiously tried to search on my phone (which was still mostly working) for what I had taken. Finally I just remembered that I'd taken and they just handed it over for $7.50. What? No prescription needed, cheap as hell? Oh, Europe. So, I'm on my second day of that and already feel better.
I made my way back to the hotel, first stopping for rice to dry out my phone with. I'd received a text from Simon telling me he'd gone down the beach for some drinks and would I like to join him? Yes, yes I would. We met up, drank on the beach and watched beautiful people play beach sports and lounge. Kind of picture perfect. Afterwards, Simon told me he'd be going into Fira for a night on the town. Things at our beach town closed up around 9 or 10pm, but mostly cleared out completely by 7. Yes, yes I would like a night on the town. (It was a very YOLO sort of day.)
"Do you know what you're going to wear?" Simon asked.
"Oh, that's good. You've got that whole American thing going on."
We went back to our respective rooms. Tried to convince Emma to go out with us, but she'd had one too many 1/2 liters of wine the day before. We met up for a drink at the hotel bar while we killed some time waiting for the bus. At the bus stop we waited well past the supposed arrive time. I get that it's island time, but it was over a half hour late. So we approached a few people stopping by the nearby mart asking them where they were going. Eventually a guy called a guy and gave us a ride into town with a few Austrians. Cuz, Greece.
I think we got into Fira around 9pm. We drank, met some people, went to a number of bars. Unfortunately, got late night McDonald's. Met more people, decided it was a great idea to go back to their hotel and hang out because they promised us a ride home afterwards. Yeah, the ride home never happened. I didn't even realize what time it was until it started to get light again.
"Is it getting light again?! We have to go."
We had to walk from wherever this hotel was back into Fira to find a cab stand. It was during this walk that we stopped in a field to watch the sunrise. #magical
I passed out hard when we got back to the hotel, but would have to be awake in just a couple hours again to grab the ferry to head to Milos. When I woke up, my phone was definitely busted. It would not charge. Shit.