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Chios…the eternal mystery…. of getting there

posted in: About-Chios | 1

Chios Island. Well unknown, well hidden but there are people outhere who want to visit.

Being editor and contributor to RealChios.gr gives me the opportunity to meet people that they want to visit Chios Island and they are looking some info and details. Few days back something like that happened. A Brooklyn girl has contacted me asking some information about Chios. By chance this girl is a storyteller having her stories published with big media across USA. Kiri is living in New York and she is a reporter and writer since 1999. She graduated the Journalism School at Columbia University. And she is blogging since 2009. Her memoir, “Can’t Think Straight” was published by Citadel Press in 2010. She appears with her book to numerous media outlets like “The Today Show”, “The Gayle King Show”, Inside Edition” “20/20”. Her goal is to continue to produce quality journalism with a unique slant and voice.

She was trying to find out how she can come to Chios and has a brilliant idea. Since Chios is in a middle of a human crisis supporting an enormous number of refugees and illegal immigrants, why not to ask local travel agents for itineraries and fares for tickets, accommodation, tours etc. Better her tourist dollars to end up with Chians than Emirates or United airlines….

“I could have done it myself but I wanted inside advice”

Here starts a big journey. From all the agencies on Chios (at least those they have an online presence in English) she manages to get a response from only two. Out of them only one gave her specific suggestions for accommodation, an estimation of an air ticket fare, while the other agent is still struggling to provide here with the full package as was the last communication.

Also, the travel agents there, like I said, are not responsive. I had one person totally disappear on me and out of all the places I emailed only two responded. What if I was trying to plan a wedding or large group? You need responsive people on the ground.

Initial was planning to fly back to USA on august 14 but then she was wondering if she will stay for two more days to see the folk festival of Purgi and to taste a paniyiri of Chios at its best.

“Yikes, my travel agent is trying to tell me that leaving after the 15th would be an extra 600 euros. I find that hard to believe but flights to Chios are not easy nor cheap. Probably also part of the reason tourism may have gone down.”

Why i will go to Chios this year?

So many beautiful islands in Greece it’s a lot of competition! Chios looks much more interesting than a lot of the islands, but I am kind of weird, I like old things, old villages, etc. Most people want shopping, etc. I did a search also on Facebook and saw people posting about Chios and how much they loved it and that also helped me decide. On the other habd, people are posting pics on Twitter of refugees arriving. No one wants to see that when they’re on the beach, Children and women crying, etc. So it’s hard for you guys, but if you get the word out ‘come to us we really need the help we are being compassionate please help us’, I think people would respond. But it’s not easy.

That’s why I want to go also. I said ‘these people need help’. You need my tourism dollars more than Corfu who is doing nothing. By ‘these people’ I mean the people of Chios not the refugees though they need help too but I am there for vacation.

I was thinking at that time that we want you more than your dollars. You are going to be a reason for others to come. Dollars can be easily forgotten. Kiri continues before I was able to tell her that.

But it’s going to be very hard. People with children, they don’t want their kids to see all this suffering on vacation. I want to come to figure out how to recover and keep going from this.

The issue with Refugees and illegal immigrants is something you can’t ignore it. People know it so you must address it. And say ‘yes this is happening but LOOK at us! Look how beautiful’ etc. Right, but you have to START with that. Address it. Pyrgi is so so different and amazing. There really should be more about it out there. Chios has a lot to offer that I didn’t see in other places. But the refugee situation has to be addressed too.  ‘Yes we have this issue however it will not ruin your vacation’

Why Greece, why Chios?

I went to Greece 2 years ago. I LOVED it. People were so friendly, Greek people are very straight forward. The Greeks are so so great to tourists. Also everyone speaks English. Things were affordable (mostly), I loved the architecture and I love ancient ruins. Also beaches but I mostly love ruins and architecture. Here is a story about Greek people:

When I was in Santorini, I stayed at a hotel and I was taking buses and two different people offered me use of their car. I did not take it but that would NEVER happen here. I realize I’m a tourist so people were being nice. That’s the kind of people Greek people are. But if you go to France, people are nasty to you LOL

Where have you been in Greece?

Mykonos, Patmos, Athens, Rhodes, Santorini, Crete and a few more

Ordinary tourism paths. I thought you were thinking more out of the box…

Well I went through a tour group, I had never been to Greece so I didn’t know anything. Now this time, yes, out of the box! That is why I could not decide because most tour groups go to those places and I had already seen them.

This time I wanted to go to Venice or one Greek island. So where to go? I began researching but I felt like I had seen everything. I could not decide which island, or to go to Venice. Then I saw a picture of Pyrgi, and I thought “I HAVE to see that”. Chios looked very different. It had everything I want – ancient villages, ruins, beaches.

Also I need to brush up on my Greek. My stepmother is Greek, so all my half siblings are Greek. When I was there last I got introduced to ouzo. Yia mas!!!! Unfortunately I forgot already but I learn quickly. Now I can’t wait to taste mastiha.

Kiri, efharisto!

One Response

  1. Nicholas Siderakis
    | Reply

    Chios was the place of another tragedy, the massacre of Chios during Greece’s independence movement from the Ottomans Turks. My experience there, has enabled me to write poems about this magical island that has endured so much. As a teacher in NYC, I enjoy writing the verses that explain the wonders and magic of this island.

    Delacroix Horse’s Eyes by Nicholas Siderakis
    When viewing the painter’s masterpiece (The Massacre of Chios)
    Look at the Massacre !
    Don’t see it ?
    Stare into Delacroix horse’s sorrowful round eyes
    They’re a gateway, a portal
    The horse distraught and horrified
    It’s white mane stained red
    By Chians in bondage
    Tyrants ready to sell them in Constantinople’s markets
    Or to slaughter them like cattle by the thousands
    Oh! Look all around you I tell ya
    Tears trickling down mastic trees stem
    For they are living witnesses to the carnage
    Stare even deeper into Delacroix horse’s eyes
    If a picture could speak a million words
    This would be it

    Mysterious Beautiful Tree by Nicholas Siderakis

    Wretched mastic tree
    Gnarled by resin
    Wind and lack of water
    Made it lifeless
    Dark in nature
    Dried branches
    Feeble and withering
    Wrenched with wrinkles
    Its arms with pointing fingers
    Snagging into the sky
    Making it mysteriously beautiful

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