ave been to the Greek Isles, and I can safely say with the utmost authority, that it is not the fantasy everyone thinks it will be. Like many people, I had dreamed of the Isles often, envisioning myself lying on a beach with a cold beer in my hand, listening to the lapping waves spilling gently over from a crystal blue-green ocean, only moving occasionally to take a sip of cool beer to relieve my thirst. In other words, I wanted to enter any and every Corona commercial ever made, sink my claws into the sand and never leave.

At first, it seemed as if my dreams might actually be obtainable. My good pal, Arthi, and I rode a ferry over from Athens to the closest of the Greek Isles, and when we stepped onto the dock, it seemed as if we had walked into a travel brochure. The sea somehow managed to be the bluest blue and the greenest green at the same moment.The mountains stood tall with a mystical foreboding beauty in the background – kind of like how an Italian man in Gucci glasses stands in Hyde Park.

There was a quaint, brightly colored fishing town twinkling in the distance ahead of us. My view, however, was interrupted when a boat full of hairy, very tan Greek men. They sat lounging in a boat, laughing at us for taking pictures and taunting, “Tourist! Tourist!”

Us? Idiot tourists? We indignantly thought not. To spite our Greek tormentors, we marched right off the dock – and into a tourist trap.

Before we knew it, some Ukrainian guy had wrangled us into renting bikes for the day, right in front of the laughing group of hairy Greek men, who had by this time positioned themselves outside a caf so that they could witness our stupidity rear its head 17 million times.

Determined to put the unpleasant hairiness behind us, Arthi and I began our 10-mile bike ride out of town to what would prove to be an exclusive beach. “Alright,” I said to myself. “It’s time to enter paradise. Just relax and -”

A shrill voice interrupted my reveries. “Leah!” Arthi called. “Something is wrong with my bike!” I cursed under my breath and immediately began to damn Arthi to hell, having decided, like the good friend I was, that she had invented a problem just to ruin my Corona commercial.

I rolled my eyes and begrudgingly invoked my many years of biking experience to inspect her bike. “Oh – ” I said. “It’s just your brakes. Yeah. You don’t really have any.”

The hairy men laughed very hard indeed as we hung our heads low and returned our bikes to the overly disappointed Ukrainian, who promised us better ones.

We declined the generous offer and told him to keep the money – although we said this last part quietly so that our judgmental Greek friends wouldn’t have any more fodder for their amusement.

After a disastrous bus trip to the “beach,” we had originally planned on biking to, which actually turned out to be a Hellenic Navy Firing Range, we made our way to a crappy little beach near the town. I found the piles of trash on the sand to be calming and rather spiritual.

Being eye-molested by a creepy old man sent us into a state of panic as we shoved our posessions into our back-packs.

Soon enough, we found ourselves surrounded by thin, gorgeous women who were far more attractive than me and very, very naked.

I gave up. I came here to float in a pretty ocean and I will float in the ocean if I want to – creepy sex offenders be warned.

So, I stripped down to my skivvies, waded into the ocean and stared up at the impossibly blue sky as I floated on my back.

After a day of disappointments, I had finally entered my Corona commercial, complete with a beautiful body of water, a shining sun, blue skies and a very large, tan and hairy bottom mooning me from the beach.

Apparently, a homeless man had decided to join the sunbathing festivities with the nude beauties.

As I continued to float, I began to laugh. I laughed, and I laughed some more. Then I choked on some water because I was laughing, so then I had to laugh again.

Perhaps those Greek men were right, perhaps we really were idiot tourists looking for our own Corona commercials. I realized then, if that’s what I was, I should display it with as much confidence as that homeless man displaying his hairy rear. When I get back to London, I’m getting myself a Budweiser.

Kaminsky can be reached at lkaminsky@campustimes.org.

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