Sep 13 2007

Crete’s Wild Kingdom

Published by at 10:40 am under Crete,Greece

As I ate my dinner of chicken souvlaki and green beans last night, I noticed some unexpected movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head, and spotted it down where the wall meets the floor in our kitchen: a tiny lizard! His pale red body quickly skedaddled behind our giant refrigerator. I started to tell Brittany, but checked myself when I considered that such a decision would likely doom the rest of my night to become a one-man, furniture-moving, lizard hunt. Instead, I turned to our guidebook for answers.

Billy Crystal, Jr.The experts advise that our lizard was most likely a gecko, which are known to sometimes enter homes on Crete. If one does enter your home, our guide suggests you welcome it, for it will dine on the mosquitoes and other biting bugs that may invade as well. Fully aware of 1. Brittany’s hatred of bugs, and
2. Brittany’s love of When Harry Met Sally, I have since convinced her to allow Billy Crystal, Jr. to stay.

Spend any time on Crete, and you will soon become familiar with several members of its animal kingdom. The first that you are likely to notice in a city like Hania is the dogs. Stray and domestic alike wander the streets all day, and are distinguished by their curiosity. Upon our arrival here, we were met near the bus stop by a black lab mutt, who we promptly dubbed Samuel. Samuel followed us everywhere for the next several hours, which we rather enjoyed. The locals, on the other hand, generally consider all the dogs a nuisance, and you will often see shopkeepers stomping at the doorsteps to chase away sleeping strays.

Cookie the dog
Cookie the dog

Our landlords keep a special chair at their cafe for one dog that looks like a chihuahua in a toupee. She is named Cookie, and she likes to play with her rubber chicken.

Wait until nightfall, and you will become more familiar than you ever wished with two other species. The first is the tree frogs, which I have still been unable to see, but whose presence you will never doubt. Their croaking is LOUD, and seems to be coming from all around you. My sanity thanks the warriors who largely deforested the island hundreds of years ago. The history books would tell you that they needed lumber for construction, but I know the truth: they just wanted some sleep.

The second nocturnal nuisance is less exotic, but far more annoying. Feral cats prowl the alleys at night, engaging in cyclical territorial disputes. I was awakened one night by what sounded like an angry gang of babies hollering obscenities outside our window. Curious, I opened the door to find feral cats wrestling and clawing on our doorstep. Before I could shut the door, I was overwhelmed by the smell of cat spray. Pungent!

The last animal I want to mention is one that is said to live in the mountains of the island, and is rarely seen by expedition groups. It is called the kri-kri, and it is allegedly Crete’s native goat. The guidebooks and Brittany insist that the kri-kri’s existence is universally accepted, and that its horns are used for steak knife handles. Fortunately for the pursuit of truth, I watch “In Search Of” with Leonard Nimoy, and I remember one episode about the elusive kri-kri, which has never been photographed, and is dismissed by scientists as myth. It was either about the kri-kri or some sort of South American goat-demon, but what matters now is my new quest: to take the first legitimate photograph of the elusive “kri-kri” in its native environment, and thereby prove Brittany, science, and Leonard Nimoy wrong once and for all.

Kri-Kri or amateur hoax? You decide.

All proceeds from the sale of my photos to the tabloids will be used to provide a better life for myself and the one friend who never doubted the importance of this mission: Billy Crystal, Jr.

NEXT: But How Do You Say “No One Reads Our Blog” in Greek? »



9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Crete’s Wild Kingdom”

  1. Lindsayon 13 Sep 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Big News! Someone call me/read my email when you get a chance!

    Love you and miss you guys incredibly!

  2. Hollyon 13 Sep 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I wonder where in Hania you can get a super soaker? :)

  3. Adamon 13 Sep 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Are you talking about the chupacabra (which I think roughly translates to “goat sucker” or “goat vampire”)? If so, I definitely saw that episode. Either way, don’t do a google image search for chupacabra unless you don’t want to sleep for a week.

  4. Benon 13 Sep 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Adam: If anyone else were to know about the chupacabra, I should have known it would be you! I will avoid said google search for sure. Brittany says hello, and to e-mail her.

    Holly: Please send super soaker. And cash.

  5. Abbyon 13 Sep 2007 at 5:03 pm


    Remember that time you went on vacation and brought me back hermit crabs? Well, this time, I would like Samuel. Thanks!

    Love you!!

  6. Abbyon 13 Sep 2007 at 5:05 pm

    I change my mind, I would actually like Cookie.

  7. hollyon 13 Sep 2007 at 5:42 pm

    well i would like billy crystal jr

  8. bob joneson 14 Sep 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Delight is excited for you guys…………

    i think you should catch one of those wild cats and feed it to your

    bob and Delight

  9. Donnaon 14 Sep 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Hey Holly- I wanted Billy C. Jr.!
    I love reading about your adventures! Both of you certainly have the ability to capture and keep our attention!
    We love you guys– be safe!
    Ben work on that Greek accent -I want to hear it when you get home!

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