Imagine the booming horn from a cruiseliner echoing around the harbour and the sound going on for a full minute.
The great ship lies at anchor a couple of hundred of feet offshore - a magnificent vessel, stretching a full 1,000ft from stern to prow - and disgorging hundreds of tourists into the maze of Mykonos Town. There they get lost in the streets, maybe grab a bite to eat and rush back to the ship before their time runs out. Then time to move on to the next port. It's Tuesday so it must be Chios.
A number of world collide in Mykonos - the Greek world; inhabitants who have lived on the island for generations, the gay world which tends to keep it to itself; and the generic tourist world exemplified by the cruiseship passengers. They are without doubt the most prominent and are really what keep the island ticking over. There are a couple of subspecies - the package tourist, the Athenian weekender and the genuine traveller - intrigued by the world famous name of Mykonos but damning it for not being the real Greece.
And what about the Greeks? Well, all the attributes of Cycladic life are here - schoolchildren make a noise as they head of to school, pensioners wander the streets and the island vagrant causes a nuisance. But once again these places contain those who are at opposite ends of life. I suspect you could go into business and raise a family here on Mykonos or flee to Athens, Thessaloniki or even Istanbul. It must be an amazing place to actually live. Real estate may be the most expensive in Greece. And you must conform - you abode must be painted that brilliant Cycladic white or you are not connected to the island amenities. And one man has the monopoly on all the white paint in Mykonos.
I got to know all this from my hotel proprietor, Yiannes, whose family had lived on Mykonos for generations. He swore it was the most beautiful place in Europe and pitied anyone who did not spend their summer on the island. There is no doubt it is very beautiful and as a visitor there are a number of things useful to know. First of all is that all transport spreads out from Mykonos Town. The ferries glide in from the harbour but unless you get a taxi a bus is the only way of getting to other parts of the island. The main bus station is South Bus station in the southeastern part of town near the Windmills. From the harbour find Paraportiani church, take the tiny lane nearby called Ayon Anarion, take this two foot wide passage to a H-junction. Keep to the right at the H-junction to the tiny lane of Xenias. At the end of this is the South Bus station. This area is less touristy, and along with the buses belching out fumes there are motorcycle hire shops, snack bars and Internet shops which are not the cheapest in the world. Around here are a number of cash point machines - the most useful being for the 'Bank of Piraeus'.
But the best things about this area are the boats to the beaches. Find a bus called 'PLATIA YIALIS' but buy your ticket before you climb aboard (2 euros). There are several newsagents nearby which sell bus tickets and cold drinks. Once aboard, it will head south out of town to Platia Yialis which is a small resort containing a beach. A stone pier houses the tourist boats and five euros will get you to one of the four beaches to the east of here. Around the first headland is Paradise beach - a brown sand beach with palm shades stretching for 500m and backed by restaurants and hotels. The boats are small and chug pretty close to the rocks around the next headland to Super Paradise Beach - a bigger cove with a longer beach backed by brown rock hills. Elia Beach is further along and costs 6 euros. The boats return from the beaches at 3.30pm at the earliest and you can catch the bus back to town in the same place you disembarked from. The grocery shop nearby sells tickets for 1.50 euros.
The beaches are not on the doorstep in Mykonos and can take an hour to get to each morning and with the lack of conventional sightseeing the island may not be for everyone. I feel it is for adults, kids and teenagers may be better off on a more traditional island such as Paros or Corfu. Mykonos is for those who like to meet all human life and don't mind paying a little more for the privilege.