With Zorbas-Dimitri in the Aegean Sea

Dimitri sailing waters of heroes and goddesses

Dimitri sailing waters of heroes and goddesses

I met Dimitri at the harbour of Nafplio, once capital of Modern Greece in east Poloponnese. Dimitri walked with his legs separated like an arch. He is a tall, broad back man with a huge pair of hands. His face is cured, weather-beaten by the wind and sea. His deep blue-grey eyes have seen everything the good side of the human being as well as the evil that lives in every once of us. .
His resemblance to the character of Zorba the Greek, played in the movie (1964) by Anthony Quinn, is remarkable. According to the local witness, Dimitri dances the sirtakia exactly like Zorba in the film. His voice is deep and low. No wonder that many central and northern European tourists have been seduced by his charm.

The legend of Zorba is from the pen Nikos Kazatnzaki that publish his book “Life and Adventure of Alexis Zorbas” in a war devastated Europe in 1946. The narrator of the story, a young Greek writer meets Zorba while trying to get a break from his writing. He took Zorba as his foreman on his way to Crete.
The novel turned out to be a tribute to the spontaneous way of living. In the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche the character of the narrator (Apollo) represent order and rationality, while Zorba (Dionysus) represent a blind desire for living.
While talking with Dimitri about the book on the deck of his fishing boat, ready to sail to the Argolic Gulf, (water of heroes and goddesses), he said that he fully undersigned the words of Zorba, when he said: “How simple a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, roast chestnuts, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea”. Not a bad way of thinking, particularly in this time of financial turmoil.

Zorbas-Dimitrin kanssa Egeanmerellä

Tapasin Dimitrin Nafplion satamassa. Kaupunki sijaitsee Peloponnesoksen itäpuolella ja se on nyky-Kreikan entinen pääkaupunki. Dimitri kävelee jalat hyvin levällään. Hän on pitkä roteva mies, ja hänellä on isot kädet. Hänen kasvonsa kertovat merestä ja tuulesta, ja tummansiniset silmät ovat nähneet ihmisen hyvyyden ja pahuuden. Ne löytyvät meistä kaikista.
Dimitri on aivan saman näköinen kuin Zorbas elokuvassa Kerro minulle Zorbas (1964), jonka pääroolin näytteli Anthony Quinn. Nafplion asukkaiden mukaan Dimitri tanssii sirtakia samalla tavalla kuin elokuvan Zorbas. Hänen äänensä on syvä ja matala. Ei ihme, että monet keskieurooppalaiset ja pohjoismaalaiset naisturistit ovat ihastuneet tähän hahmoon.

Zorbas-myytti on peräisin Nikos Kazantzakisin kynästä. Hän julkaisi kirjansa vuonna 1946 juuri Toisen maailmansodan päättymisen jälkeen. Kirjan kertoja on nuori kreikkalainen kirjailija, joka haluaa ottaa etäisyyttä omaan työhönsä ja lähtee Kreetalle. Hän tapaa Zorbasin ja palkkaa tämän apulaisekseen.
Romaani ihannoi spontaania elämäntapaa. Friedrich Nietzchen filosofian mukaan kertojan hahmo (Apollo) edustaa järkeä ja rationaalisuutta. Zorbas (Dionisius) taas edustaa rajua elämänhalua.
Keskustelin Dimitrin kanssa Kazantzakisin kirjasta hänen kalastusveneensä kannella juuri ennen hänen lähtöään kohti Argolikoksenlahtea, sankareiden ja jumalien vesille. Hän sanoi allekirjoittavansa täydellisesti kohdan, jossa Zorbas sanoo ”Kuinka helppo asia on onnellisuus: lasillinen viiniä, grillattuja kastanjoita, vaatimaton hiilipannu ja meren kohina” Ei hassummin ajateltu, varsikaan näin finanssikapitalismin romahduksen aikoina.

Dimitri deep blue-grey eyes have seen everthing
Dimitri deep blue-grey eyes have seen everthing

© A.Soto

Fishing boats in Nafplio harbour
Fishing boats in Nafplio harbour

© A.Soto

Modern Helen waiting for her Troyan Prince © A.Soto

Modern Helen waiting for her Troyan Prince © A.Soto

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18 Responses to “With Zorbas-Dimitri in the Aegean Sea”

  1. Carlos Says:

    Se on kuin Zorba, tuli mieli “Zorba el Griego” heti.

    Like

  2. Kai Ristola Says:

    Niin yksinkertaisista asioista ne elämän nautinnot koostuvat. Häpeäkseni tunnustan, etten tiennyt kirjan olevan Kazantzakisin kirjoittama. Luen parhaillaan saman hemmon Viimeinen kiusaus- ROMAANIA. Se on pääsiäisen ( lauantai 11.4. KLO 19.03-21.55 ) Radion Lukupiirin kirja. Kuunnelkaa kolmituntinen YLE Radio 1:ssä.

    Like

  3. panos marinos Says:

    in his memory for ever..
    PETALOUDAS THE TRUE GREEK NAFPLIOTIS

    Like

  4. panos marinos Says:

    DEAR SOTO,
    YOU DIDN’T MEET ZORBA (THE FICTIONAL CHARACTER OF A NOVEL) BUT YOU DID MEET “PETALOUDAS” THE GENTLE GIANT, THE TRUE HEART OF NAFPLION, THE MAN I KNEW ALL MY LIFE AND MY BEST FRIEND. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TOUCHING MEMORIAL TO A TRULY GREAT MAN!

    Like

    • Judey Cunha Says:

      Panos thank you for sharing this!!!

      Like

      • adsoto Says:

        Hi Judey and Panos,

        – Receive my deepest consolation. I was lucky to know such a unique man. My sincere sorrow and consolation to his family and friends.
        Adrián Soto

        Like

  5. Judey Cunha Says:

    In my younger years I was lucky enough to spend much time with this beautiful man! I was his best woman(koubara) at his wedding to Marie & was there when his daughter Alexandra came into the world. I loved him & he loved me we were GREAT friends. I was lucky to have gone fishing with him & to have known him.
    Rest in peace
    with love
    Judey

    Like

  6. Sophia Petalouditsa Says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to my father. The anniversary of his passing is hard to bear but I am proviliged to have had a father such as him. When such a monolithic figure disappears from life, where do we search for them? I am lucky. I just have to look down at my own hands, follow with my eyes the contours of my fingers and lines that cross-cross my palms, and there I have them, my father’s hands, my grandmother Athanasia’s too. My father is in my every word and thought, and I fancy, a little in my gaze. For the record, his eyes were green, and threfore fairly changeable, hence your assumption that they were blue. God bless you. Xxx

    Like

  7. Philippa Stravoravdi Says:

    Hi, I’m Dimitris wife, & mother of his young daughter. We are both still coming to terms with life without him. His eyes were are hazel & he has good legs, not at all bandy, poetic license I assume. Dimitri was a wonderful husband & father, so in that respect nothing like the fictional “Zorba”. He was a very sensitive person who enjoyed his “Zorba” image.

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  8. Costas Mitrossilis Says:

    Dear Soto Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to my good friend Petaloudas he was a GREAT MAN and we all miss him
    Rest in peace Mitso
    Geraki

    Like

  9. Roy Martin Says:

    Dimitri had a great sense of humour. I suppose he could be said to be a man’s man.Yet I also remember discussing the beautiful movements of ballet with him many years ago as well as dancing the syrtaki with him and, yes, for such a big man he was a very graceful dancer. I first met him in 1977 and we immediately became friends,so it was a great shock when I learned about his passing. I also once asked why he had the nickname ”Petrolouda” and he remarked that,like the butterfly,he flitted from flower to flower, always wanting to be active and on the move.
    Finally,Sophia and Phillipa, my thoughts are with you. I will certainly miss him.
    Roy

    Like

  10. yianni Says:

    What a tribute for my friend PETALOUDA – rest in peace my friend. may your memory be eternal!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    Like

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    • adsoto Says:

      Hi Mate,

      Take your time, as far as to look at cross-checking new blogs is always a refreshing idea.
      Cheers!!

      Like

      • Roy Martin Says:

        Hi Philippa
        This is just to say Dimitri is often in my thoughts – as,of course, he will be in yours.It’s also occurred to me that your daughter must be about the age of my son (Remember meeting him in Nafplion when you were with Dimitri and your daughter at a taverna in Nafplion?). My son is sixteen.Well, my regards to you both. Roy

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  12. newspaper Says:

    You are so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve truly
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    • adsoto Says:

      Kateriina,
      Thank a lot for your nice comment. Soon, early December there will be more interesting stuff in the web site.
      Best regards,

      Adrián

      Like

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