— CNP

Kabak

Kabak

Having enjoyed two sensational nights in Faralya, we were reluctant to miss “mamma’s dinner” the next night, but another adventure called. We left our packs at George House and with nothing more than board shorts, towels, sleeping bags and the sound of Sander singing “How Deep is Your Love” we boarded a dolmus bound for the secluded beach of Kabak. After a short, serpentine, gravel-road trip we disembarked at the top of yet another amazing valley with a beach at the bottom. The walk down was a fair way, though not as steep as Butterfly Valley and on our way we passed numerous eco-friendly-lentil-loving-how’s-your-chakra treehouse villages with names like ‘Reflections’ and tag-lines like “treehouses, bungalows and dreams”. Well, give me a crystal and call me Sunshine, this was definitely an irony-free zone.

Having managed to evade the clawing grasp of yoga devotees, fluoro-pennant twirlers, henna tattooers, raiki healers and feng shui functionaries, we emerged from the carab scrub onto a beach — of sand. I’ve been to my fair share of beaches this trip and, let me tell you, good quality sand is a rarity. The previous day’s beach activity had been limited to reclining, walking and reclining some more, so it was about time that we cut loose with our inner child. With half a beach to ourselves, we played a bastardised petanque with pebbles, then had the inspired idea of a sandcastle. With glee and gusto we set about our task, to the bemusement of the too-cool-for-school treehouse dwellers. With no bucket and no spade we dug out a moat with our hands before i discovered that we had opposable thumbs and, after the necessary celebratory dance, started using aptly formed sticks and stones as reudimentary tools. A pyramid, tower, tunnel, balcony, flag, boulevard, arched gates, cave dwellings, forest, bridge and stone wall later and two geeks who obviously played with Lego as kids, had just spent two hours concocting a minor masterpiece. Right, time for a swim and a lie down.

Eluding the sun, i sought refuge under a loosely constructed wooden shelter standing on stilts behind the sand. It belonged to the local family whose farmhouse and vegetable garden backed on to the beach and they were perfectly happy to have a quiet stranger sit and muse as their children napped in a hammock or invented games of daring jumps and ventures. Sander, who’d been working on evening out his Arsenal uniform sunburn, soon joined me and we shared remembrances until a posse of Suzuki open-tops clattered down the tractor path and deposited a pink-and-blonde family of Brits. They’d just purchased some spear-fishing gear (as you do) and were struggling to get the shiny contraptions set up when they asked us for help. With no applicable experience and the image of rotating doner kebabs bright in my mind, i politely protested my ignorance and Sander and i made a brisk exit, stage left, to have lunch.

Up the valley at one the treehouse retreats, a worldbeat remix of Tuvan throat singing seemed to be on loop at the terrace restaurant. Enjoying the view and the slothful pace, a handful of guests, including ourselves, were taken aback when a flustered man with a speargun in hand arrived and announced in a thick Irish brogue: “feckin hell of a walk!” Then, to me, what could have been “can it get any hotter here?”. i said “pardon?” … “can ye get any HASH here?”. Sander piped in, “perhaps … the wild boar goulash tasted kinda funny.”

Back to the beach for sundown, we commandeered a kayak and a sail-less windsurfing board for a bit of splashy fun. The caedars on the mountains overflowed with colour. Then, with the last flicker of the red sun licked by the ocean, we were almost alone on the beach. We unrolled our sleeping bags and got ready for a night on the sand under the stars. Almost alone. Behind us, in the scrub, a pair of kombi-van-conceived girls were gurning and playing tambourines outside their tent. In front of us, on a small cliffy promontory, a flexible couple were in the thralls of a silhouetted communion of bodily fluids — an X-rated kabuki show with tambourine soundtrack. Can’t compete with that shit.

Show over (i had to restrain myself from applauding, Sander was apparently giving them a standing ovation), the encore was the onset of mosquitoes. Sander and I were reduced to solving the world’s problems with voices muffled by the suffocating enclosure of our sleeping bags. But the cool night breeze eventually cleared the pesky little fuckers away and the moon, only half full, shone like a floodlight across the beach. Waves rolled in and pulled at pebbles with the glassy sound of marbles in a jar. Talk and laughter. The moon swung in ana arc across the black until it approached the horizon looking like half an old coin — its proximity to the salt water enough to rust its delicate face. The moon submerged allowed the full starry blanket to turn itself up all the way to 11 and the Milky Way opened up to us.

Sleep ……. who’s talking to me? … talking? people! fuck! danger! Sit bolt upright, taking in the sight of figures at the water’s edge calling across the sea — bloody hippies almost gave me a heart attack. Sleep.

I awoke to a humming sound and, being fairly certain that Sander had neither a shaver nor any other electrical devices with him, i opened my eyes to the daylight out of curiosity. Then, almost instantly, i shut them again. There were about a dozen wasps circling my face. I haven’t been stung since i copped three in the back in Sweden when i was six, but the pain i recall was enough to halt my breath and make my head disappear into the protective shell of my travel sheet. Feeling safe, if a little trapped, i almost enjoyed seeing their shadows through the translucent silk as they stepped aimlessly across my blue shroud. Sander awoke and he too was being buzzed, but by only a couple of wasps, whereas i, less than a metre away, was attracting big crowds. Helpful and practical as always, Sander laughed at me, then ran away to save himself. After too many minutes of whimpering and growing paranoia, i burst free of my sheath and ran to the water — some wasps followed but the majority stayed swarming over my sleeping bag. Those of you biologically inclined will undoubtedly tell me what they are attracted to (smell, colour, wankers?) but i was mystified. I scrambled back to my belongings, bundled them up and, with my sleeping bag flapping behind me head like a flag, outran the wasps to the other side of the beach … unfortunately i was missing Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire” music but i did hear the faint tinkling of tambourines.

See photos.