What's Happening on Ithaki 2007
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Ithaki General - Summer Lodown 2007
For all the news and gossip from around the island, check in on Ithaki General to stay up to date with all ... well, at least some, of what's going on from Vathy to Kioni and all the villages inbetween. All the unrelated bits and pieces will end up right here.
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Sun 8 July - After yesterdays 200th ear battering rendition of 'I come from the land down under' by the unforgettable, 1 hit wonder, Australian band whose name I have forgotten, Frikes regulars are banding together to exchange Fiorendino Bar cd collection with a cd collection less likely to induce violence among the natives. Plaques are now being made for the demonstration on Fiorendino Bar which read - NO MORE LAND DOWN UNDER, NO MORE FINAL COUNTDOWN, NO MORE LIFE IS LIFE, NO MORE BAD MUSIC, TURN DOWN THE HARD ROCK 80s, TURN DOWN THE MUSICK, ME-SICK, WE ALL SICK OF THE SAME BAD SONGS OVER AND OVER... Those not taking part in the demonstration are merely saying, bless them for they know not what they do, and then stick cotton wool into their ears. Seriously, the boys do occasionally play some bad music, but it is mixed with an occasional good tune, and they have succeeded in building up the bar since buying the business, and have brought Frikes after dark to life again, having spend a couple of years in Bar purgatory. For that they should be commended.

Last week a woman cleared Polis beach telling everyone she swam through 'something not very nice' which a yacht had dumped. Now that's a way to get the beach to yourself.

A UK couple ran screaming from the island spouting 'it's too rural' 'there are so many insects' 'get me back to Skala'. While another Austrian/Italian couple complained the islands roads are too high and dangerous and that the beaches are ugly, so they went to Astakos for their holiday instead. There's just no accounting for peoples taste.

A visitor on the island from the UK was worried for his wifes' welfare when a solid marble table loomed too dangerously for his comfort. The man feared the solid marble table would fall on his wife. The company rep assured him that the only way this solid piece of rock could fall on his wife would be if he and 100 other men pushed it onto her. The man still wasn't convinced and has lost much sleep over it. The same man also worried that there were too many cliffs. Again, the rep assured him that he and his wife will not fall off any cliff as long as they didn't mistake a cliff for a road.

Ithacans go about their business. Vathy is especially busy on a Monday morning, but Mondays don't mean too much in the Summer Season. Summer means working 7 days a week with no rest for the wicked. Above Left - Niko (recent groom) from Mylos Creperie. Above Right - Christina from Alpha Bike and Car Hire. Below Left - Aggelos from Ags Cars.
Ithaca is working hard in the Summer







Above - A lunch time break for the Vlisma family.
Above Left - Daughter Pagona, Father Gregory and Mother Kiki, organize their menu for another busy night at Paliocaravo (Gregorys Taverna) on the far side of the bay in Vathy. This happy family specialize in fresh fish and seafood, usually reeled in by Gregory himself. Above Right - Dimitris Danis from Piccolo, the Eatery in Vathy just up the lane from the Port Authority. Dimitri and Nektarios (owner of Piccolo, but not seen here) are always thinking of better ways to serve their customers. New on the menu here is the Meze special 6 - 8pm each day.
Above - Lucky from Polis Beach, working and really working. Imagine having the this as your daily office. No wonder he's always smiling. Lucky keeps his eye out to keep the beach clean and safe for all, he even has the yachts under control. No dumping at this beach without Lucky knowing about it and usually making sure it doesn't happen in the first place. There's a balance to keep when there are people and boats sharing the same water, and for the past 3 years, Lucky has had his finger on the pulse.
Sun 15 July - Ithakis volunteer fire brigade position themselves around the island now that the temps are rising and fires burn around mainland greece and other islands. A timely reminder that summer on Ithaca is a fire danger period. No open BBQs, no flicking cigarette buts from car windows etc. etc. etc. Please look after our island. Even a small fire here can be devastating to the island and the community.
On Tuesday 17th July, the mountain village of Exoghi puts on its best and most traditional face for its annual Festival for Ag. Marina. For those heading up to eat, you'll need to book a table or turn up early, around 9pm. If you just want to take part by hanging around, get a few souvlaki from the grill and have a dance as the night goes on, you can turn up anytime. The festival usually goes until dawn with many die-hards sticking around to watch the sun come up. The Exoghi community usually puts on a very special Festival, it's the first big one, making it a favourite among locals and visitors to the island.

To help the Exoghi Community, why not buy a raffle ticket or two or three, and put yourselves in the running for a prize. Businesses in the north and occasionally the south, donate prizes for you to win. People with cars should be warned that the narrow road to Exoghi can make it difficult in regard to parking, so either park further out of Exoghi, stick your thumb out and hitch or take the traditional route by walking the path to the village which starts at Yefuri restaurant in Platrithia. Don't forget to take a torch. The Exoghi festival will have 'live' music and lots of dancing, so bring all your energy and lots of good humour to make it a great night for all.

Today the power was out for the morning. Since the winter power shortage a couple of years ago, no one is taking any more chances, so now almost everyone has a generator. They are convenient, very convenient, especially for the businesses around the island who lose alot of perishable stock during these inevitable cuts, but the smell and the noise of them is enough to drive you loopy. From 7am to midday, the island roared with generator motors, burning up petrol and vibrating through the Sunday morning silence.

Tue 17 July - Frikes President, Nikos Douglas, is keeping a close eye on the Flotillas coming into the village. Seems one flotilla in particular is disregarding the 'no open fire law' by having an open fire bbq at Limenia beach opposite the Frikes Pier. The beach is surrounded by forest, and lighting fires during this high fire danger period is completely irresponsible. Niko Douglas promises that the next spark will mean the fire department and police being called. With fires raging out of control in other areas of Greece, this Flotillias action is incomprehensibly stupid and dangerous for Ithaca. A little respect for the island and the welfare of the community is called for here, and if not offered willingly, then enforced.

Get your dancing shoes buckled folks, it's Exoghi Panighiri time tonight. Have a safe and good time!

Unfortunately north Ithaki does not have ADSL and it seems this summer, instead of Otenet increasing bandwidth for dial-up connections, they have decreased bandwidth, leaving people in the north to twiddle their thumbs as they wait to get online, usually after about 50 - 60 paid attempts. It's frustrating and it's expensive. As I've said before, any other business would be skinned if they charged for a service that's not provided, but Otenet keeps gettting away with it. Isn't there anyone out there with a bit of clout to get Otenet moving on Ithaca? We don't want special treatment, just what we pay for. They certainly don't want to listen to us, instead of fixing the problem, we're advised to decrease our speed from the 45 kbps down to 28, and even then, we still suffer the same consequence. It's becoming increasingly difficult to update the website when hours are spent trying to get a simple dial-up connection.

Fri 20 July - Tonight is the Feast of Ag. Lia - Kioni Panighiri. It's bound to be alot of fun.

Today the phone has been running hot with the question "Can you get online?" Answer "No" not even once today. Thought I'd persevere and just keep logging in, now up to the 200th time and costing a small fortune. Time to use FREE. Yep, that works...also costing a small fortune, but what the heck. I'm ONLINE!

Mon 23 July - Many people in the north of Ithaca have completely given up trying to get online, but not me, still trying to log on after 5 hours. Ithaca needs more bandwidth, but Otenet just doesn't want to supply it. Nothing to do, but kick the computer. OUCH!

If you like pop music, you may want to head down to the Garden Theatre at Vathy High School on Wednesday 25th July to see Evridiki. It will be Pop til you drop. Doors usually open around 9pm. A Fimios Ithakis Presentation.

Tomorrow night, 24th July, you can see the Play - Flight 634, at the Cultural Center in Vathy. You can find the Cultural Center just up from Proto Supermarket, right next to the Vathy Cinema.

For years people have been wanting to get online in Kioni, but no one had internet access, well, you now can get it at Spavento Bar in Kioni. No more trips to Frikes or Vathy. A good move by George and Jenny. Drop a coin and get connected.

Tue 24 July - Last night was the warmest night locals had ever recalled. If you've ever walked out into Singapore after being in air-conditioning, you will know what it was like. Sultry, suffocating, sticky heat that burns your throat when you inhale it. Frikes, usually one of the coolest places to be in a heatwave, was unusually hot after dark. Platrithia was by far the coolest place in the north and a walk at Dexa was quite refreshing also, but wow! It's been hot. In Kioni and Vathy, you broke out in sweat just moving a limb. Exoghi, which one expects to be cooler considering it's in the mountains, has a cool(ish) breeze from around 5 - 8pm, but after that, the heat just hovers and envelopes the village without a stir in the thick atmosphere of this heatwave. Needless to say, air-conditioners are running the power down on the island.

Unsung heros in this heatwave must be, without a doubt, all the grill men around the island. They're grilling up souvlaki and fish in close to 50C heat infront of those burning coals, kitchen staff too, are suffering, but amidst the heat exhaustion, most have managed to smile through the difficulty.

Thu 26 July - Much of Greece is burning, including Cephalonia around the Skala area, and here, at Limenia in the bay of Frikes, completely inaccessible via road, the Nelson flotilla is having a bbq on a beach embraced by bushland. Gloves off! This is the most reckless act and has really got my back up. President of Frikes, Nikos Douglas had warned the Nelsons flotilla just recently, but again, the night before last, they lit up and endangered the island. 46C and they think lighting a fire is ok? Are they crazy? They deserve the most severe punishment, but unfortunately they were not caught in the act by the fire department. At minimum, the company should severely reprimand the flotilla leaders and should most definitely warn Flotilla leaders against this act in the future. If you love Ithaca, write the company a letter to complain about their flotilla leaders lighting open fires during high fire danger periods. Sail in and sail out, not giving a $%&* about what they leave behind, usually a whole load of rubbish on the LImenia beach, but also the possible devastation a fire would cause. So much of Greece is burning, but all they care about is getting pissed and bbqing. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRr!

48C is blistering no matter where it is, but imagine that temperature in Athens. Unfortunately Athenians didn't have to imagine it yesterday when the mercury hit that unbelievable temp in some areas. Greece is suffering under a big heatwave, and with the air-conditioning units around the country burning up the revs, Greece has undertaken turning the power off around the country at various times to not overload the system. Ithaca, along with other parts in the Ionian and on the mainland, had a 3 hour power-out on Tuesday with another forcast for yesterday. The islands restaurants breathed easy when the power stayed on despite the prediction. The power-out on Tuesday caused minor mayhem in the kitchens, without generators, around the island.


Great weather today. A cooler breeze, clearing the heavy and smoke saturated mist of the past few days, leaving great views...except for this one - Left. The wind is blowing cement dust from the quarry outside of Stavros all over the mountain side.

There's an exciting concert coming up on the 2 Aug at the Garden Theatre in Vathy, the Maria Farandouri concert. Farandouri is not only well known in her own right, but is also known through her long association with Greeces' cult and now mainstream musical icon, Theodorakis, who gave music and voice to the turbulent modern times in Greece. Write this one into your diaries. This concert will muster some great Greek passion, pride and nostalgia.

Before Farandouri, don't forget to look at your July Events Calendar. The Children Theatre, Forkis, are putting on a performance on 29 & 30 July at the Cultural Center and on the 28th July, there's the Wine Festival in Perahori. If you're on the island, why miss out.


Fri 27 July - Right - Ithacas Fire Department is patrolling the island daily, going from end to end, ready for anything.

Sat 28 July - Left - Julia Andrianatos' jewelery and gift shop, previously Kosmimata Tzoulia in Frikes, has a new sign and a new name - Julias Shop. Below Left - Peter Fatouros is looking a little pale and thin lately...a little quieter also. Peters Bar, fiorendino which he runs with his brother Dini, is doing very, very well, so well that the boys rarely see their beds, let alone the beach to get a tan.
Ithaca Fire Department is forever vigilant and locals are keeping their eyes out for anyone ready to strike a match during these days of extreme temperatures. News of the Cephalonian fires, with reports that some tourists have been evacuated, makes everyone feel a little nervous about fires starting here on Ithaca. Summer in Greece means total fire ban. Don't even think about.
The boys have had a little bad luck during their first year of Fiorendino Bar, first Dini was sick in Cephalonia hospital with pneumonia, and now Peter, who has recently had an operation on his knee, is struggling to stay on both his legs. The boys are tough enough though. They love what they do and it'll take more than a pain or two to keep them from doing what they love. Locals from all over the island are supporting the boys in their new venture making each day and night very successful for them. With everyone and sundry loving their hamburgers, Peter should maybe eat a few himself. He's looking a bit thin.
Sun 29 July - About 1 week ago, things changed dramatically on the island. People are everywhere now. There are traffic jams (not really, but for Ithaca two cars passing can cause a hiccup), the beaches are strewn with sun-loving bodies, the restaurants are turning over 2 or 3 times, there's music coming from every crevice and the usual quiet has turned into the incessant din of the crowd. Visitors walk around blissfully dazed by the beauty around them, sometimes forgetting that roads are shared by the occasional speeding car. The winter views of locals, goats and dogs has now been replaced with the bright and shiney enthusiasm of the tourist who, on many occasions, reminds the local of just how wonderful this island actually is. Now that we're into the thick of things, let's hope we all have the energy to maintain it.
A certain restaurant owner had his first run-in with a customer this week. The customer and group brought their own food (3 or 4 x 2 inch fish) to be cooked in the rush hour. Despite the inconvenience, the restaurant obliged. There was a delay, but only for the time it took for the Grill to fire up. The Grill is usually only an evening addition and isn't used for lunch. The customer and his group ordered some dips, salads and chips which arrived in good time, but they wanted that 2 inch fish they caught and had no patience for anything else. There were complaints and then screaming insults at the owners wife, (Oops, bad move) so the customer was asked to leave in no uncertain terms, but was not charged the 30 or 40 euros they ate. This insulted the customer even more. He insisted on paying and the owner refused to accept it."Take the money, take it! Take it!" "No, just leave". "You haven't heard the last of this" screamed the customer. "I'm going to call the police and report you!" "For what?" asked the owner "For giving you free food and cooking for you?"
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