Never judge a book by its cover #2

Magical Martin and I at some point in the late 80s took a two centre summer holiday to the Northern Sporades islands of Skiathos and Skopelos. It was a package deal flying first to Athens and then transferring  by boat to our first island and then after a week by boat to the second and so had four exhilarating ferry transfers in total.  

We noticed an older devoted American couple at our first hotel. He was obviously Greek, fat and 'ugly' and looked a slob. For sure a Greek American greasy spoon cafe owner from a Chicago thought I. His petite neat wife always wore a baseball style hat, a white and blue striped tea shirt but I noticed her immaculate hands, always with perfectly manicured painted red nails. She looked sprightly and chic for a Greek island tourist. We eventually over time nodded 'good morning' but mutually never engaged in conversation.

We ran into one of my playing card collectors Dudley with his French girlfriend and spent a few evenings together before moving on to our final destination, Skopelos. And who as at our hotel? Why our Americans 'friends' as well. This time we actually uttered the words 'good morning'. Communication was improving! 

Finally our last week was up and waiting in the hotel lounge for our representative to escort us to the ferry, we found ourselves sitting opposite the couple we had seen practically every day. This time it would have been rude not to speak and ask how they had enjoyed their trip and how they had passed their time.

He introduced himself as Chris Kyriatis from Los Angeles but originally from Athens. What an eloquent charismatic man!  I kicked myself for not having spoken to him earlier. I was enchanted and mesmerised. He was not 'ugly' at all despite his girth and countless double chins!

We travelled together for the rest of the long journey. It turned out his wife, Magdalena, had been a 'Gibson Girl' and modelled her beautiful elegant white hands on TV for soap and hand cream adverts. Chris had an open engaging personality and was not a cafe owner but the Dean of Psychiatry at UCLA searching, like all Grecophiles, for the ideal Greek island.  

He laughed when I told him I had thought of him as owning a cafe. He then related his story in Palm Springs, where he lived, that he had owned a restaurant called 'The Bridge' where all the A list entertainment industry dined. One evening a man walked in wanting to buy the place which was not for sale. The man opened his cheque book and said for Chris to name his price. As a joke Chris plucked a figure from the universe for millions of dollars and the man wrote out the cheque! Sold.

I asked him to tell me his love story. I love a good love story. He was 21 and walking in Athens when he saw the love of his life on holiday with her mother. It was love at first sight and he chased down the street after her introducing himself and invited Magdalena, then 19, and her mother for coffee. She was heavily chaperoned but Cupid won and eventually they married and moved to America to settle.

Chris noticed Martin's husky voice and urged him to give up smoking. Symbolically Martin threw away his blue packet of Gitanes into the Aegean promising to give up from that day forth. Promises, promises. Earlier that year Uri Geller had said the same thing to Martin when we went to his house for lunch but stubborn Martin would not listen to those that know better. He had promised that day too!!

And so we missed out on 2 week's stimulating educational conversation. Stupid me! Everyone has a unique story to tell.  Never judge a book by its cover.

Written on Valentine's Day at Hostal Jayma, Salabrena, Spain, 2017.
(Timing 4.50 minutes)