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Friday, August 15, 1997

[Brian] Thanks to a reasonable phone system and a homemade modem cable (carefully crafted with a nail clipper), we're back online! For the past week we have been unable to connect due to ancient phone systems (ie, no direct dial) and handsets wired directly into the wall. In this hotel we had a fighting chance with a phone system that had direct dial and at least plugged into the wall (albeit with a plug I don't have an adapter for). Lesson for future Europe travelers: get a GSM phone and don't lose it.

Our current internet connection (upper left)

[Patti] Thankfully, today wiped out last night's nightmare! We woke up to find ourselves on a lovely island with ocean views, gentle breezes, and cute villages of white houses with blue trim. We have access to a great beach down a little road next to our hotel. After breakfast, while the boys slept in, Brian and I went down to the beach and sat down on lounges under an umbrella and just watched the tide for a while. Then we came back and organized the business of renting motor scooters. I thought I would rest on the bed for just a moment and ended up catching a 2 hour nap. Brian went back to the beach and continued the hard work of sunbathing.

At about 2, the boys came to life. They, too, were happy to find that last night was just a bad dream. First, they spent a few hours perfecting their dives into the pool, then it was off to the beach for a few more hours of bodysurfing.

This afternoon Brian and I set off on a scooter to explore the island. First stop was the Valley of Butterflies. Up in the hills of Paros, there is a small area where a particular type of butterfly comes for mating. I have never seen so many butterflies in my life! It was a densely wooded area and quite beautiful. Upon walking into the reserve, there are signs in at least 4 languages, explaining the life cycle of the butterflies and requesting that visitors do not disturb them by clapping, whistling, smoking or shaking the tree branches. Apparently, the butterflies get pretty focused on their mating and don't eat, so they have to conserve energy and disturbances can actually kill them. We were annoyed to see two different groups decide that the signs did not apply to them. One family actually sent their small daughter behind the fence to shake the branch so they could get a good picture of the "butterfly cloud" that results. The dad of the family was smoking away.

Some of the few undisturbed butterflies

After that, we did a big loop around the island with the sun shining down on us, the wind in our hair and great vistas all around.

It's hard work, relaxing on a Greek island, but we figure somebody has got to do it.