It’s 10 a.m., Monday morning and I’m surrounded by intoxicated Greek senior citizens on a lonely mountain road on the island of Samos. Empty ouzo bottles litter the plastic tables encircling the dance floor, and I’m stuffing my face with loukoumades, little Greek-style donuts drenched in honey that are worth selling one’s soul for.
The band plays a melancholy ballad, loud enough to be heard in Athens, and a group of women spin and whirl like dervishes on the dance floor. When Monday morning arrives in America in a few hours, most of my friends will be stuck in traffic, waiting for the opportunity to sit in front of a computer screen for at least eight hours.I was driving with my wife and two sons up to a mountain village called Manolates with our windows down on a beautiful day when we heard the thumping live music and wondered what kind of party could be taking place on a Monday morning.
We pulled over, grabbed a table right at the edge of the dance floor and watched the dancers and the drinkers. Greece may be mired in a horrible crisis, but people still know how to cut loose. After downing our first bowl of loukoumades, I asked the proprietor what the occasion was.
“It’s a religious festival,” he said, to my surprise. “It’s to honor the Father, the Son, and the Holy, how do you call it?”
“Spirit,” I said, completing his thought.
Before I’m accused of blasphemy, I don’t claim that getting drunk and dancing is a normal part of what is apparently a celebration of the Trinity in Greece. But for some reason, in this village on this morning, there was a host of old people living it up for this occasion.
As we sat and soaked up the scene, I thought about how these kinds of serendipitous experiences make travel worth the expense and hassle. The memory of how I spent this morning will stay with me, and I’ll pull it out one Monday morning when I’m doing something far less pleasant. Reminiscing will be a bittersweet reminder that somewhere in the world, people are partying while I’m at work.