Mykonos

FORBIDDEN. VERBOTEN

My room in Mykonos, although in the old town, was quite a walk from the harbour. The landmarks I followed to reach the sea front were mostly made up of shop displays - still closed early in the morning, so I got lost a time or two on thwe way to the sea front. Reaching the sea, I wanted to sit down and get my breath for a few minutes before carrying on. I took off my large rucksack, put it down, and sat down on a bench by a church. Or rather I had half sat down when…………….

Suddenly the peace was broken. "Stop. Stop. STOP. No. No. FORBIDDEN. NO. STOP. FORBIDDEN. VERBOTEN." The shouts got louder and louder. What was going on? Had someone stolen some fish? Or trying to take more than a photo of one of the pelicans? Murder? Rape? Robbery? What was it? The man who was shouting had rushed out of a travel agent's shop shouting wildly. No one else seemed to be taking any notice of him. Was he mad? A well-known local eccentric to be tolerated with mild amusement? He was coming towards me, still shouting, "NO. FORBIDDEN. NO BAGS HERE."

I was the cause, the innocent cause, of this outburst. So it was forbidden to put down a rucksack in Mykonos, even when sitting by it. He went on to shout that I could leave my rucksack at his shop. For a fee, no doubt. For a five-minute break on the harbour, no thank you. I carried on my way to the new harbour. Mykonos had started to grow on me, with its good food, empty early morning streets and market. But no longer. I will not come back to Mykonos in a hurry. What has come of Mykonos if a rucksack cannot be put on a bench while its owner takes a rest? No one else was using the bench. If I had intended leaving it I could have understood it. But to be sitting alongside it………. In fact I was still standing and stretching by the bench, when the screeching of "not possible" started. Perhaps a rucksack spoils the look of the place. No cruise ships in.

I get the feeling that backpackers discouraged by certain elements [I do not categorise myself as a 'backpacker'. I just use a rucksack, as it is the easiest way of transporting things]. Yet, that chap in travel agency. He cannot be desperate for the 1000 dr. or so he would probably charge for keeping my bag - so what is the problem? There were two or three empty seats by the church. Travel agents get no money from cruisers. They get money from independent travellers. By his action, he lost a potential customer for a ticket. Seems some local (and by that I do not necessarily mean islanders, but those with businesses here) moneymakers want to discourage tourists from doing anything that is not revenue producing.