Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kerkyra: Part One, Preparations

This missive will serve as the first installment of my essay on my trip to Corfu. Sounds pretty boring already, right? Well, it's getting better. I booked the trip in my usual haphazard way, in a fit of feeling sorry for myself and thinking of G. in Corfu last September, the only man who has shown the fortitude to accept my wonderfulness with enthusiasm, waiting for me until the wee hours of the night outside my hotel even after I'd promised I wouldn't come out. Okay, I don't know if he really waited but who cares? I lost his number (he wrote it in my copy of Henry Miller's The Colossus at Maroussi, which I lost somewhere at the airport) but I expect him to still be there. Or not.

My last trip to Corfu was wonderful and convoluted and disappointing in many ways, documented here, somewhere, if you care to feel my pain. This time, I thought I'd go alone and check out the place again and maybe find some sunny sliver of happiness to carry me through another New York winter.


The Rough Guide to The Ionian Islands
"Dangling between the southern tip of Italy and the west coast of mainland Greece, at the point where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea, the lush green sickle of Corfu was one of the first Greek islands to attract mass tourists in the 1960s. Since then it has acquired the sleaziest reputation among the islands, although much of this is exaggerated and due more to snobbery than actual fact."

Okay, note to self: Read guide books BEFORE traveling. Eh, who cares.

My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell, brother of Lawrence. So far, an extremely amusing account of an Augustin Burroughs-meets-David Sedaris' family that leaves damp England for the sun-soaked climes of Corfu.

SayIt In Greek
Χάρηκα για τη γνωριμία Χάρηκα για τη γνωριμία

The Greek Islands, Laurence Durrell. No excerpt can do his writing justice but as he harkens back to Homer and winds back to present-day Greece, he provides a sensuous tone-poem to Corfu; one gets it: the place is an endless series of contradictions.

"Another thing becomes clear as you sit over your afternoon ouzo watching the sunlight decline among the green cones and vales of the Ten Saints Mountain. If the scenery has a certain plumpness, a Venetian rotundity (this is what the Athenians will always say about Corfu: but they are jealous because here is limitless shade and water)... On the light: "It has a queer x-ray impression, as if the sea were really a dark negative of itself against which the swimmers move..."

I leave for Corfu in 10 days. PS. I'm going to go to Albania too. If it's possible.

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