The flight to Rhodes was uneventful if, as all flights, tedious. The taxi ride to the old town was, as ever, an opportunity to tune my ear to the language with the driver doing me the courtesy of speaking Greek the whole way but making sure that I was following him by enunciating clearly and repeating when necessary. Even so my Greek is still very limited otherwise I would have told him that the Lions had just beaten the Wallabies thanks to a strong Welsh contingent in the team.
Having parked my bags in the hotel I hit the town, still vibrant at 23.00 in marked contrast with when I was here at the same hour in April when streets were near-deserted.
I ambled around the old walled town for a while but then, not in the mood for retail therapy, at close to midnight even less so than normal, I found my way into the old ‘New Agora’ for a drink. The action was just getting going in an ouzeri with very good Greek music. The not-very-young male singer moved from table to table singing passionately to the female customers, then a not-very-young female singer took over and roved her microphone from table to table getting the same female customers to take the lead in the singing. Both were good.
Spontaneous dancing broke out and tables were moved aside to create a larger floor as the not-very-young dancers weaved around in intricate traditional Greek set pieces arms aloft or around each other’s shoulders.
One of the dancers, a man in a vivid yellow shirt, retaining his skill and style but fitness diminished and physique enlarged by good-living, retired back to his table wiping his brow and, accosting an itinerant rose-vendor, bought roses for all the females in the ouzeri. After a while he bought the entire stock – a lot of roses – and tearing off the petals scattered them like confetti over the dancers and the singers and the waitresses.
Not a professional display, just a bunch of Greeks enjoying themselves. And the odd onlooker.
The pace was slowing when I left at 01.30.