I think that I already met with real “Zorba” in Thassos. His name may be different, I think that the locals are calling him Alex. He seems to be a fisherman, probably an illiterate person. His clothes are dirty, like his beard. The traits of his sunburnt face tell me lots of secret stories of his life.
He’s having a very small taverna in Limenas, the main town of Thassos, facing the Aegean sea. Next to his taverna there’s an old building which is being used as an exhibition gallery nowadays. You can see there interesting photos or other art works of british or american artists living in the island after their retirement. The taverna of Alex is very dark and it smells the fried fish with the forever lasting humidty of the island. Not enough place there, instead 5- 6 tables with couples of chairs scattered at the entrance of the taverna. All are in wooden, a natural old wooden; nowadays some restaurants use this wood in their decoration and charges it into their bills!
Zorba, sorry, Alex, appeared after half an hour and asked us what we want to eat.
“What do you have?”
“Only sardines today, fresh, grilled sardines”
After a while two big plates filled in with grilled sardines are put in front of us together with a plate of greek salad with feta cheese. I rather want to say, our lunch is “put” because Alex was placing these on our table as if he was a man in a bar drinking little tekila shots and putting the empty ones on the bar.
The sardines were the tastiest which I had ever ate so far. So was the salad! Maybe we were hungry after our long travel, who knows. When we asked for the bill, we waited almost one hour, because at noon time Alex had gone to home as other islanders do. Nobody around was caring about it.
With his epicurean manners, in fact Alex is the Zorba of our times
In my second visit to the island, I revisited him, got a lunch, and again he was a person who didn’t mind to anything.
During the last trip I wanted to pass by his taverna with my friends and offer them a dinner in this local place. I headed towards the place. But there were some changes, like the colour of the interiors and its decors. Alex was gone! I asked for it, and a young, cool man replied me that he was around. I understood that this man was the new business partner of Alex. When I told to the man that we wanted to have dinner in their place, I heard a vibrant voice behind me:
“After one hour, no meal now, come after one hour!”
It was Alex’ voice. Eventhough the place had been changed and become a touristic place as it had to be, the voice of Alex was still the same.
While we were getting away, my friends were asking me why I had chosen this place because the owner seemed to be very difficult. I didn’t tell them of course anyhting. How could I tell them that Alex was the reflection of Zorba, my Greek hero who helped to find my spirits a few years ago?