Day 5-7. At the farm.

We get up early at the farm to walk the two HUGE dogs. It's like
trying to walk, on a chain, two badly trained horses that are equally
frightened and excited by absolutely everything. If they run, you run,
or fall and get dragged. The female pulled me arse-first into the
ditch, broke free and galloped down the track dragging the chain behind her.
Nick tried to rugby-tackle her at the same time as holding the big male
dog and ended up tangled in chains with his legs and arms bound
together and the dogs leaping all over the place, screaming for me
to hurry up and stop pissing laughing as I clambered out of
the ditch. We got pulled head-first inches from the river, after a frog,
and there was an incident with a herd of cows. There's also a 15 year
old grumpy Jack Russell who's favourite entertainment is biting the ankles of the
massive male horse dog as Nick tries to lead him out of the farm, the horse
dog flailing it's limbs, trying to climb onto Nick's shoulders out of reach
of the little dog's teeth.

We spend the days making sculptures for the garden from pieces of beautiful old metal
and driftwood that we've found around the farm. We walk the 2.5km dusty
track to the beach, past old sheep herders on donkeys and rocky fields of olive trees.
There's an amazing view across to Assos that looks like it belongs in Jurassic Park.
The water is freezing but obviously we swim. The farmers that pass in their
winter clothes laugh and look at us like we're just a bit silly.
The beach is always deserted, filled with amazing things that we cram into our bags
and lug back up the hill on our way home. We're going to have to do some stealth packing
when we fly home, or pay to check in another suitcase.
We paint a windmill and laugh so hard at Jake saying 'I went to the pantry at twelve fourty',
in a British accent.

Mesud is building other houses on the land for friends, and on Saturday night we
go for dinner in Assos with the architect and one of the French couples who will
be moving in. We have a lovely evening, my favourite conversation by far
is the one I have with the restaurant dog. I fall totally in love with him and I know he feels the
same way as he breaks through the door, sprints out and pounces on me as we leave.

We begin to realise that there are still undertones of male dominance over women.
We have dinner with friends of Mesud- mostly men with successful businesses, 'this is my
friend, he's a well known graphic designer, this is my friend, he owns
a hip steakhouse in old town, this is my friend, he's a chef in
new York.'blahblahblahblah. Nick is addressed far more in conversation,
and compliments of all of our cooking are addressed to him.
They presume he must be the head chef and has directed us less-able
women. The first few times we encountered this I spent the evening
growing in silent fury, snarling from my side of the table. Lots of
telling glances between Jake and I, feeling like our opinions aren't
valued. Nick's empty glass of raqi is offered re-fills as the men
share it around the table but our empty glasses are ignored. Our quiet
irritation doesn't last long and we're suppressing uncontrollable fits
of giggles. We inject our opinions into their conversation, laddishly
bashing down our raqi when they don't include us.
The men are actually very nice, (apart from the loud, chauvinistic, coke-snorting
south african guy, not him), polite and kind to us all. Some show lesser degrees
of the subtle cultural sexism than others,and Mesud seems to have forgotten
the sexism almost entirely, minus the odd sarcastic joke.
He also has many friends in powerful and funny women. I know
it's a long-stemming cultural/religion thing, a belief that the women simply
could not be as powerful and independant as the men, and it's not meant
maliciously or to specifically degrade women. Here the sexism has more of
an excuse of cultural naivety, which to us makes it more OK than the sexism
you can still experience in the UK.
Also, I feel like in the UK, females behaving like powerful men in certain
circles of society can be responded to with further attempts to put them
down, whereas here, as our independance and opinions become more apparent
we're responded to with interest and polite intrigue. It's nice.

On Sunday we cook a traditional English roast dinner for Mesud and friends.
One of the boys who helps maintain the garden for Mesud provides us with
some lamb and organic veggies grown in his village nearby. We find paths lined
with rosemary and mint in the garden, and we make crispy roast potatoes,
honey glazed carrots, leeks in butter and garlic, mint sauce and gravy, and
an apple crumble for desert. It goes down pretty bloody well.


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