Greece, April 2016

Alexandros, a great Greek grizzli


ith Alexandros, things had began rather badly, on the 4th of April in Preveza.

To the authoritarian tone of a man who is used to people obeying to him, shouting at me the order to join him at the table in a cafe, I answer at once with a frankly unpleasant attitude, even hostile, by sitting to another desk, turning my back to him. And when he comes and insists, not the least aggressively, rather in a curious way, I say boorishly that I like my privacy, cooled down by the first impression of a domestic tyran I had of him.
He warns me against the tunnel a few kilometers ahead of me, forbidden to cyclists. Gives an uncertain tip, and eructates with a provocative smile « so, see you later, at the entrance… »!

I was quite willing to pass that tunnel without his intervention.
Thus did I stand right at its entering zone, well exposed to the security camera, either would I be officially dislodged, or would I catch a pick-up crossing. What a strange feeling, that cold and unique eye of a surveillance system, that suddenly turns and points at you, stops moving.
10 minutes later, a service car appears, with a trailer. I understand at once that it’s for me, hourra! Once the arm of sea crossed under water, hardly a few hundreds meters later, isn’t that Alexandros in his red Nissan who appears, hailing me, so, you made it! Sure I did! Now, you see, in a kilometer, there is a cafeteria, I’m buying you coffee. Something has changed, maybe a simple passage under water dissolved what each one of us had to prove, this time I accept, with pleasure.

Meeting is about to happen, we shake hands for a long time, firmly, to finally begin.
Alexandros is a tender grizzli bear, bon vivant, with a massive presence, coarse and delicate, generous, he seems like an Hemingway’s novel character. He’s been managing his tomato exploitation, here, with Albanian employees, for 20 years, takes care of his parents as many do in Greece does he tell, and dreams about another life. He offers me to stay at his place, a small cabin, if I want to sample the greek way of life, a few days, or as long as I want to. He pilots his little plane, and sails a little boat. He’s seductive, paternal, curious about me, admirative, agitated, calm, secretive, hedonist, hard-working, comedian. When he seduces a woman in a bar, it’s by bringing a snail found at the door, and saying it’s his pet, making fun of her fear. Time flows, if he was to travel, it would be by boat, where currents would lead him.
I hop on back on the scooter, making farewells short, then a sign from afar, now I barely see him behind the glass walls, smoking at the corner of the table, on conquered land. « If you change your mind you know where to find me ».