It's the kind of place that dares us to do nothing. The rolling lap of the sea, the mountain view from the upstairs balcony, the occasional fishing vessel trolling at a distance. Even dinner at the harbor invites, rather forces, us to fold into the much needed state of do nothingness. After a quiet meal (we were the only patrons), of stuffed squash blossoms, potato balls, white beans, vegetable pilaf, our waiter departs on a motorcycle. No one seems concerned about our bill. When the waiter returns to drop off a package, he waves and takes off. We finally flag down another man, perhaps the owner, who in a deep Greek gravelly voice, guarantees a forthcoming check.
It is the contrast between this seaside sanctuary and Kara Tepe that enhances our joy at both sites. The juxtaposition of hard work and relaxation increases our ability to do both better. Knowing we only have thirty minutes left to swim and ten minutes left for the Mediterranean sun to warm and dry, increases its enjoyment ten fold. Knowing in just an hour we will be home in bed, pushes me to wash one more dish or volunteer to take the garbage to the dumpster.
It is the contrasts that differentiate light from dark, comfort from discomfort. Contrasts magnify our understanding and our immersion in joy when we've known otherwise.