We visited Elia beach twice: Saturday and Sunday. It was hot on Saturday and we rented a 2-person bed at the front of the rows of fold-out chairs under umbrellas. It was €50 for the day. On Sunday we moved further to the right, down the beach, past the rocky divider and found the rainbow flag marked chairs. The paired chairs must be rented as a pair, so for the three of us we paid €60. The server also expected a minimum €20 per person spend on food/drink. As a cocktail was a €12 minimum that was easily achieved.
Saturday I woke with a headache and every muscle felt knotted. I don’t think I’ll drink champagne-based drinks in future. They dehydrate me. There was a ripped shirtless masseuse behind the rows of chairs and I kept wandering back to check when he might be available. “Later,” was the ambiguous reply. Eventually I pressed for an actual time and was told, “2 o’clock”. Except this was not a booking. At 13:55 somebody else wandered up in front of me, and laid down for an hour. Persistence won out; at 14:55 when yet another person wandered up reaching the masseuse as I was approaching he saw me coming and allowed me to go first. It was the first time I had a massage where I not only had a few knots worked out but I felt relaxed as well. Weirdly, in a hippy yoga mystical energy spiritual sense, I also felt energised and connected and powerful. An odd thing to feel, powerful, but when he had asked me to turn over and had run his thumbs along my facial muscles, midline sagittal from my nasal bridge, over my frontal sinuses towards my coronal suture I contemplated how this probably corresponds to the “third eye” concept I heard of somewhere. I felt like the difference between slouching over and standing up straight, pulling your shoulders back: I was re-aligned present. When the man finished he looked exhausted. “I gave you all my energy!” he explained. I felt guilty, I had felt like a vampire, having selfishly drunk it all in. Well, if that was the mechanism of action then I was thankful. We shook hands. I planned to return.
Sunday we sat at the gay beach, signed by a rainbow flag that was billowing in the strong breeze. The crowd was 90% male, shirtless, with sunglasses and suncream. At least 50% smoking. We took four of the few available fold-out chairs, in the front row. “€60 – you must buy four,” the attendant that had miraculously appeared from nowhere had explained. When we settled in, and started to eat our bakery-bought sandwiches, a very harangued think man in a blue t-shirt, tanned skin and sunglasses approached, the food/drinks attendant. “I have a problem,” he started to whine, “The restaurant wants €20 per person on the front two rows.” We had already paid for the chairs, without having been advised of a minimum spend requirement on food and drinks. Perhaps his problem was not a minimum spend requirement but his minimum purchase sales target. I told him that I did not understand what he meant by having a problem and he walked off. I wanted to clarify if it was a mandatory requirement for us or if it was just a sales target for him. Apparently it was the latter because he then ignored us, thinking that we were not going to buy anything, ever. We spent €75 between the three of us anyway because a drink and a food item each was over €20 per person. The food service was not as good quality as the restaurant servicing the beach area closer to the bus stop.
Further down the beach, over a rocky outcrop you need to clamber up and over, is a small alcove without any business setup. This was about 50% surface area filled with completely naked men getting all-over sun tans. It’s so bizarre seeing random penises jutting out, almost all shaved pubic hair. They are like variable size skin tags that you just want to twist and pull-off.
Tip for catching the bus from town to Elia: sit underneath the open roof window as there’ll be a breeze and it’s slightly less stifling hot.