Greece… Can’t stay away, huh?

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It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything, but it doesn’t mean nothing is happening in my life. I’ve just returned from Rhodes, Greece, where I’ve managed to catch the last 2 weeks of summer 2013. Literally, as the day I left Prasonisi, the wind changed direction from the seasonal northern Meltemi to the southern, winter wind. It was quite fun to see everything turning upside down, the wave spot becoming flat and the flat spot getting a heavy shore-break… and all those poor kiteschools that had to turn all their trailers with equipment around.

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Prasonisi was cool, but it hasn’t conquered my heart like some other destinations I’ve been to so far. If I had to place it somewhere, I would put it right in the middle: good enough that I would go again given a chance, but not good enough to despair if I never see it again. The best thing about it was my friends back from Poland, a whole bunch of them, who came to Prasonisi as well. It was great fun to spend all that time with them, and as they are all pretty good riders (especially my Cabrinha teammate Marek RowiΕ„ski, who was there too) it was never boring to kite with them πŸ™‚

Prasonisi is a pretty fun spot, cause you can alternate between flat freestyle space and waves, and all you have to do to do that is cross from one side of the beach to the other. It’s also a very ‘Polish’ place, in the sense that most people coming here are from Poland. Two out of the three kiteschools here are Polish as well and that should probably speak for itself. It’s not exactly what I usually go for when I plan my next destination, but I wouldn’t mind coming back here next season for a short training trip. Who knows, maybe I will.

As of now, I am in the middle of rescheduling my upcoming months. There are a few goals that I’ve set for myself for this winter/spring and I have a general idea on how I would like to organize them, but I guess I won’t know anything for at least a week more. It’s a lot of shuffling and a huge part of what I want to do depends on a good will of other people (like my AWESOME boss on Boracay – thanks Glen! πŸ˜€ ), so it’s all very sketchy for now. I don’t know anymore where exactly I’m gonna be next month, all I know is that I still love kitesurfing and no matter what, I’m gonna have as much of it this winter and spring as possible! Life’s a funny thing, one minute you think you have it all and the next it turns out it’s not necessarily true, so I’d say those who say it’s never what you expected are probably right. And I guess at the end of the day you just have to stay positive, and not start hating what you love just because of a few hardships and challenges πŸ™‚

May wind be with you,
Suzana

About endings and beginnings.

The most annoying thing about endings is that they come too soon when you don’t want them to. This is widely known and very obvious, as time flies by fast when you spend it in great company and in a great place. And so, my stay on Paros is coming to an end – only four days left on the island, and at this time next week I’ll be in a bus to the airport, partly sad about leaving, partly excited about my next destination.

During the past two months I have managed to: loose my passport and make a new one, see Athens, eat fresh figs from a tree for the first time, teach 29 students, learn some new tricks, kitesurf in 45knts, get in an accident, try a surfboard, see a sea turtle, make new friends and see old ones, make my first vid, get interviewed for national TV, decide a few important things, eat the best cheesecakes from the best bakery on Paros…

…and the biggest achievement so far, the number of sea urchin spikes in my feet in 2012: ZERO πŸ˜€

The season has already ended and practically no one is here anymore, so it does not feel wrong to pack my bags and go. But the thing is, I already got used to everything here, to the apartment, to the surroundings, to all the sheep I see every morning from the kitchen window… it feels very comfortable and home-like and when I think I have to trade it for something new and unknown I am not that excited to do so. But I know very well that I ALWAYS get this feeling, every single time, but as soon as my feet land on a new ground it all goes away and all that stays is hunger for new and unknown.

This time I’m gonna spend in Egypt around 2 months. I’m staying in Hurghada again, but hopefully I’ll be able to go to Safaga, Luxor and Marsa Alam as well as I have some friends over there whom I want to see πŸ™‚ And yes, this time it will all be different and no, I’m not gonna be an idiot anymore. Compared to Paros, Egypt is not the windiest place on earth, but that does not bother me really, especially that I have a little vid project in mind that has nothing to do with wind or water… When you know you’ll be kiting in a month and two and four and more, your point of view on some things changes greatly πŸ˜€

It’s nice to finally be on the right path.

May wind be with you,
Suzana

I KITE IT VIDEO #1: Another Day In Parosdise

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! It’s here, IT’S HERE!!! My first video ever, straight from sunny and windy Greece! There’s a lot of ranting, some riding and maybe one or two closeup shots of sheep… πŸ˜‰ It was so much fun while shooting, and even though it’s nothing “super pro”, I hope you’ll enjoy it and maybe consider visiting us on Paros next year πŸ˜€

So without further ado:

I started shooting this video very late in summer when the season was practically over and the island almost completely deserted, so I did not manage to capture the usual atmosphre and liveliness of Paros when it’s in its prime… I guess my talking about it will have to suffice πŸ™‚ Next video will be from Egypt and this time I’m gonna film from the very beginning and focus on local lifestyle and the real life over there… so there’s gonna be less me, more other people πŸ™‚

Big thanks go to all the people who made this vid possible.

filming: Alex Tetsis, Sandra Schnegg, Zuza”Suzana” Czaplinska, Joanna Dee
editing: Zuza “Suzana” Czaplinska
music: Work Drugs – Dirty Dreams

Thanks for all the support:
George Georgoudakis
PAROSKITE.GR

you can follow my adventures more closely on the FB page:
I KITE IT Facebook

May wind be with you,
Suzana

I’m gonna be on national TV and shooting a vid is fun!

Oh boy, oh boy, where do I start? πŸ™‚
So, the national TV. Okay.

So yesterday a group of Polish journalists from one of the major Polish national TV channels suddenly appeared in our school, asking for an interview about Paros. They wanted to know about our wind conditions, the school and kitesurfing in general… and since I’m the only Polish person in Paroskite at the moment, they asked for my participation. I was out on water and shooting some footage at that time – lycra, boardshorts, wet hair, water dripping everywhere etc… not exactly the perfect state for an interview, but my boss dragged me out of water, they attached some cables and this little funny square microphone to the back of my shorts and pushed me in front of all those huge pro cameras… All the filming crew was very nice though, so despite the fact that it felt a bit weird I enjoyed it a lot πŸ™‚ After the interview they took some footage of me riding on water, then gave me their card and told me that after they release the episode about Paros on TV (December) they will send me a DVD as a souvenir… and after that they packed all the cameras and microphones into their van and -POOF- they were gone.

Lately I’ve had so much free time I didn’t know anymore what to do with it. It was windless for a whole week (for the first time since I came here!) and on top of that my shoulder was screwed up pretty badly, so I couldn’t really go and do anything active… In the end I started playing with my camera, filming this and that around my house just to kill time and forget about the pain. One thing led to another, I got back on water yesterday (yay!) and my friends filmed some more scenes of me riding… and I think I will make a small edit out of all that. It’s pretty fun to walk around with the camera and film things, so I’ll just continue for a while and see what comes out of it. My riding is still as lame as ever, but who cares, shooting a vid is fun! (…and my boss said I can take all the new 2012 equipment for the vid if I want. Not that this is the reason I want to make the vid. Or maybe a little. Okay, a lot. Best Kiteboarding GP c-shape kiteys all for MEEE, in all sizes I want~!)

Some screenies below πŸ™‚

May wind be with you,
Suzana

Athens, here we go again.

May wind be with you,
Suzana

Water is your friend. Dirt roads… not necessarily.

Wow, it’s been some time since I last posted something… Greece has been treating me good, for the past 2 weeks it’s been mostly get up, eat breakfast, bicycle to school, teach a few hours and then ride ride RIDE. It was warm and windy everyday, with a few occasional clouds here and there as the September weather is finally kicking in. So basically, it’s been good and it’s been everything I could want and hope for. I think I have finally progressed in my riding, it really makes a huge difference when you can ride consistently everyday… I got a few pictures from Anny Barlow, a very talented photographer who’s also my crewmate at Paroskite πŸ™‚ You can check out her other pictures HERE. Unfortunately I had only a few minutes to ride back then (and then I had to teach when everyone else was photoshooting…damn), so that’s only some raleys from the warm-up, but at least I can finally prove that I actually DO kitesurf sometimes… πŸ˜‰

I had an accident today while bicycling to school, which left me with my right shoulder, elbow, hip and hand raw. The brake in the bicycle broke as I was making a turn on a dirt road, the bike lost its grip, I fell headfirst into the stones on the road and the bike fell on top of me. Hurt like hell, but after a quick rescue action from my friends I’m fine now πŸ˜‰ It’s a good thing the wind stopped blowing yesterday and won’t start again until next Friday, because I have a week to make sure the wounds heal… Gotta be ready to ride on the first windy day after all πŸ˜€

Apparently bicycles are not safeat all. Poo poooo.

I’ll have a lot of free time this week, so expect some non-kite related updates… I went on a short trip to Naxos last week and I still have something to say about Athens as well… So until next time!

May wind be with you,
Suzana

Athens, the city of dogs.

I arrive at the Monastiraki station at 6 o’clock. Everything is closed, all the doors and shop windows are barred, not a soul around. Only them. Big, furry, mostly black. Laying here and there in random places; on the lawn, under a bench, on the base of an old monument. Dogs. They seem to be everywhere around here, mostly sleeping, minding their own business. It is rather a curious thing to see them sprawled on the hills of Acropoli or decorating the entrance to the Parthenon temple, but people here don’t seem to mind. They like those dogs, and if nothing else, this is the first thing that makes me like those people.

A dog sleeping on the steps of Acropoli.


…and another one taking a nap in the middle of a busy street. Those dogs really don’t care about all the people around…

At first, Athens it a disappointment. It may be because it simply turns out to be something else than what I was expecting. The old town is smaller and less ‘grand’ than I thought, and wherever you look there are shops with postcards and lame cheap souvenirs. Tourists pour down the streets from all directions, making a lot of noise and faking stupid picture poses under every bigger mnument or statue. Waiters walk up to you on the streets trying just a bit too hard to make you eat at their restaurants. Monastiraki is pushy. And loud. Not exactly what I was hoping for. And so, I am disappointed.

But that is only at first. A few hours later I discover that my hostel has the coolest little garden with an always-singing parrot named Billy, that their breakfasts are fresh and good and their library offers a quiet refuge if I want it. There are free computers with internet for everyone to use, the shop around the corner serves nice latte freddo for 1 euro only and the people I meet come from everywhere around the world. It doesn’t take long to become friends with two siblings from Mexico who are on a backpacking trip around Europe. Then Lucas from Argentina comes around, and later he takes me on a trip around Acropoli, in the meantime telling me about its historical background and awesome stories connected with it. My favourite one is about the fight of Athene and Poseidon over the favour of the people of Athens. Or maybe the one about the fight of Gods and Giants. I can’t really decide between them, and there are still so many more to choose from.

Billy the bird

Outside the ‘old’ part of Athens, this city is just as any other, maybe a bit bigger and whiter than some. Backstreets are rather ugly, which presents an annoying contrast to the posh touristic streets, but there is some nice street art you can find if only you care to look. I liked the yellow cabs everywhere. And I liked my taxi driver who took me to the embassy, even though he asked me if Poland was in Europe. I liked the public garden and the lady selling enormous sized doughnuts in front of its entrance. And I liked Damir from Serbia who handmade me a necklace with my name shaped in silver wire, my REAL name, not the one I normally use outside my homeland. I wanted to have something special and unique from Athens, and I guess this is as ‘special and unique’ as it can get.

Most shops around are full of souvenirs: postcards, cheap bracelets, fake swords and… sponges. Why sponges, I really do not know.


Backstreets are mostly empty and… not so pretty.


Yellow cabs everywhere.


Random book stands on the streets are pretty common. I love that so much! If only I could read in Greek…


This guy was selling fried nuts on the street… 2 euro per package, but they were just soooo good!


This is the main secret to surviving crazy hot temperatures while walking around Athens… iced coffee! Had many of these during my stay πŸ˜‰

In the end Athens gave me all that I wanted, or maybe even a bit more. I hope to return here in the future for at least a few days, to once more sink into the city atmosphere and read a good book while sitting in the gardens and sipping on an iced coffee. It’s been only 2 days and I have so many stories to tell. This is how it should be, and so, I am happy.

Some street art:




When I was packing for Athens I took my long lens instead of the short one, which made my camera completely useless in the narrow streets over here. This is why I had to use my phone to take pictures and so the quality sucks… nothing to be done about that now, I guess it just means I’ll have to visit Athens again, which somehow doesn’t worry me at all πŸ™‚ I’ll post a few pictures from the public garden and Acropoli in separate posts, simply because I have a lot more to tell about both of those places! πŸ™‚

May wind be with you,
Suzana