James Beard Publication of the Year 2017

Now That, Kids, Is How You Start a Drinking Story

Now That, Kids, Is How You Start a Drinking Story

Rosé on a Grecian Isle

I’m lying naked on a rock on a Grecian isle. I’ve waited my whole life to utter those glamorous words, and it feels fucking fantastic.

My boyfriend and I have found a secret turquoise cove tucked away from the main road after circumnavigating the island on our rental scooter. The paved road ended, and the dirt track was slightly too steep for the pitiful 50ccs of our chariot, so we got off and walked the rest of the way. Now we’re here, luxuriating in the silky water and early June sun, and I feel like I’m in a Lana del Rey music video.

We set out early that morning for Piraeus, the port town twenty minutes from Athens on the metro. We didn’t have a plan of which island to go to. We only knew we wanted to get in the water. There was also a rumor that you could drink extremely cheap wine on the islands nearest Athens. The ticket agent told us we could get to Aegina for 20€ roundtrip, so we bought our tickets and ran to catch the ferry.

An hour later, we were pulling into Aegina harbor accompanied by dozens of seagulls hoping for someone to drop their spinach pie overboard. Until now, our plan had been to wander around the port for a few hours, maybe check out a ruin or two, have a fish lunch and some rosé and then catch the ferry back.

My old roommate found it to be hilariously predictable that I, as an American, get so “turned on,” as he put it, by two-wheeled motorized vehicles. I’d just started seeing my boyfriend at the time, and we were having loads of fun roaring around town on the scooter he was borrowing from a friend who was out of town for a few months. I’ll not deny it: there is something sexy about clinging to the torso of a man, especially one you’re falling in love with, while zipping through traffic. Lana del Rey must have written a song about it. I guess my boyfriend liked it too, because now we have a sweet scooter of our own.

So when we saw the words ‘scooter rental’ come into focus as we pulled into port, we obviously had to get one. It opened up the island to us. After a few hours of basking in the sun in our secret cove, we zoomed to a taverna on the other side of the island. Only in Greece for a few days, we were fine with sticking to the taverna greatest hits: tzatziki, Greek salad, fried calamari, a grilled fish, and enough 3€ carafes of local rosé to get me feeling giddy.

On the ferry back to Piraeus, full of fish and still buzzed, we happily fell asleep on the banquettes of the lower deck, surrounded by old Greek people watching soap operas on wall-mounted televisions. It was only upon waking that the haphazard nature of my sunscreen application became painfully apparent. I bet Lana del Rey doesn’t get sunburned. But after a day like today, I’m happy being me, sun damage and all.

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