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 26 Aug - Isalos Cafe in Frikes have put the notice on the door. Jessica and Spilios thank everyone for supporting their efforts and notify that their last day of trading is on Friday 31st August. Join them for a goodbye drink - It's free! Nektarios from Rementzo took them over an espresso this morning from his restaurant with a note saying 'Things to Come'.

As we speed toward the end of August, the hottest month in the Season, and all of Greece seems to be on fire with tragic fatalities, yesterday reaching 55 deaths as a consequence of fire, Ithaca today, averted danger with a fire on the road to Marathia outside of Vathy, which was quickly brought under control thanks to Ithakis Fire Fighters. Exact circumstances of the fire are as yet unknown, but around Greece, many fires were ignited on purpose say the reports. People burning forestry land to change the status of that land and to make it buildable. If the Government made a law that any forestry land that burns is not buildable, many of the annual fires around the country would not occur. Naivety and menace conclude that if land is classed as forestry land, then removing all proof of it, ie - cypress and other trees, will therefore remove the status of that land to be re-classified as buildable. With the heatwave conditions over the past couple of months, this behavior is criminal and immoral. Heatwave conditions have also caught the Fire Department, mostly made up of volunteers, completely unprepared for the speed that the fires have traveled. Complete mountain sides are exploding in fire. Forewarning would have saved the lives of those trapped in the fires were an emergency and evacuation plan in place, and people approaching fires should have been turned back instead of being able to continue through to the fire fronts without knowledge of what was ahead of them. It's a shame that these fires will set the benchmark for fire-fighting from now on. Great lessons have been learned albeit too late for the many families who have lost their loved ones thus far. With the magnitude of this years tragedy, the Greek Government will have no choice but to overhaul its Fire fighting standards and review its forestry laws which currently allow land-owners of forestry land to have their burnt plots re-classified as non-forestry. Areas worst affected by fire are Western Greece and much of the Peleponnese, including Ancient Olympia, where a large fire is threatening homes as I write, and the Olympia community has no water to fight it. One tragedy after another.

Ithaca is sweltering under another heat wave this past week. Intermittent and transitory power outs, caused by the over-use of air-conditioning units around Greece, prove that there is no other way to cool down. The water around the beaches is a tepid temperature, ideal for baby baths, and the humidity is very high. There was news of a cooler change today, but as the thermometer peaks at 48C in the Stavros sun, probably higher in Vathy and Kioni, , there seems to be no change in sight. For a sea breeze, people head to the beaches and bayside villages, that's if they can drag their limp and heat exhausted bodies out the door and into the car.


Right - Could it be that Ithaca will have its first superstore in Vathy? We already have Marinopoulos Supermarket and now we may have a place to buy things we don't eat, all under one roof. Chances are that from the minute this business opens its doors, they'll be restocking 5 minutes later. Have a feeling it will be very popular.

Last body count due to fires around Greece is 63 people dead. 7 people have been arrested. Ancient Olympia has been saved, including the Museum and Ithaca survived another very hot day without incident. Phew!

Mon 27 Aug - As has already been mentioned, the Grill Men around the island had a difficult time this year with the incessant heatwaves suffered this Season, but there are other unsung heroes of the Season and that's the poor souls in the Laundromat who wash and iron all those sheets and towels for the many accommodations on Ithaca, sweating it out morning to night so that visitors to the island can get into nice crispy clean bedding. Left - Stathis from the Laundry opposite the OTE building, has been up to his ears in dirty sheets, picking up and delivering to accommodations all over the island.

Wed 29 Aug - If you want to show your concern for the many fires around Greece, come to Vathy Square at 7pm this afternoon and wear black. Greeks from all over the country are gathering in their village Squares also, so come and show your support by turning up. Alexandros Taflambas, local lawyer and Independent Council member, considering the changing climate, global warming and the politics of Greece, will bring along some warranted suggestions as to how these disastrous fires could be averted in the future.

Thu 30 Aug - Late yesterday afternoon, some in the Ithaki Community held a rally to show concern for the recent fires and their victims, last body count - 74, along with other environmental and political issues which they believe could add to the burden of this changing world and its climate, and to the conditions that create fires to rage uncontrollably across dried out planes and sunburnt scrub. Unfortunately only around 30 people turned up, marginally more than the attendance of a Council Meeting, but 30 is better than nothing. For most of the western world environmental rallies are nothing new, but for Greece which has been to date, rather environmentally challenged, the time has come to make a move toward the future before there is none. Attendees were asked to put a signature behind their conviction, but as is usual, this was just another exercise in preaching to the converted. Apathy is unfortunately still a thriving human condition. Rallies were being held in town Squares all over Greece in an effort to make not only an environmental statement, but also a strong political statement as we speed toward the National Elections on September 16.

Alexandros Taflambas, one of the organizers of this rally, local lawyer and Independent Council member, invited people to join the rally via his loud-speaker, but coffee at the Plateia seemed to be more tempting. It's a shame that for whatever reason, more support for the environment was not openly shown by the community. Regardless of their political leanings, the issue warrants everyones' serious attention and concern. Alternative thinkers, artists and musicians united in standing up for this issue while the Ithaki community as a whole, did not yet consider this issue seriously enough, as was evident in the noticeable absence of the Establishment and Mr. and Mrs. Average Greece. The rally was not pumped up with soapbox ramblings, just some information on what individuals could do for a better environment, a completely non-threatening rally that could have had the makings of a positive step forward, but instead, only uttered a whimper in that direction.
Left - Jessica & Spilio from Isalos, cleaning up the shop, before they said goodbye to Frikes last night.

Fri 31 Aug - How Kioni survived this past Season is not only a mystery to me, but I think also to Kionites. Thousands of people passed through this 'end of the road' village during August. One of the most picturesque villages in the Ionian, it's no wonder hordes of people descended upon the bayside to eat and, in some cases, swim.

Below left - Vasso, Nektarios and Fillipa, the morning shift at Rementzo in Frikes, take a moment to relax after a hectic Summer. Frikes doesn't have the thousands of Day Trippers passing through each day, but it does turn from a sleepy bayside into a hectic center during mid July and August. News to hand is that Rementzo will be closing its doors on 31 October 2007, so it looks like the Rementzo music nights are a thing of the past. Doors will open again on 1 April 2008. Nektarios and Poppy will take this time to get re-acquainted and to spend valuable time with their daughter.

On a personal note, as more and more locals log into ithacagreece.com, the more trouble I get into. Until this morning, I was completely unaware of the controversy the Platrithia Panighiri page had caused. Seems I wrote "the music was so bad even the dogs covered their ears and fled, the beer ran out at 2am and the singer was fat". Oh really? I wrote that? For those who trust the information they are given by associates and friends, and who don't have the internet to see for themselves, or do not read or understand English, let alone expressions and idioms, these people are then incensed at what is going on on this website. I hate justifying myself, but good people are being infected by dishonest and/or misinformation by those with political and personal agendas, thus I want to set the record straight. This website has never and will never be used as a tool to insult or disrespect anyone or anything that concerns this island. (You'll need to read the book for that - Just kidding!! - this means I am not writing a book) The website is a growing archive of Ithaki online with photos, information and occasional EB humour.

The Platrithia Panighiri Text, with humour and expressions explained -

Whether you were driving in from the north or the south of the island, you knew that the Platrithia Panighiri was going to be huge, at least in the attendance stakes. (This means nearly everyone knew that the Platrithia Panighiri would have a lot of people.) There was a traffic jam - This means many, many cars all in the same area , the likes of which has never been seen before on the island, let alone at a Panighiri. Hordes of people everywhere, some walking 30 mins from where they parked their car to the village Square. There was a long line for food and an even longer line for alcohol. There wasn't a square inch left empty, except for the dancing circle. The dancing circle was noticeably and mostly empty until around 2am. That was very unusual for this Panighiri, usually one of the sweatiest of the Season - This means that in the past there was so much dancing at the Platrithia Panighiri that everyone perspired very, very much . Attending every Panighiri for the season can take its toll, getting a hangover headache before the party, may not be the best of signs. - This means that there have been so many parties people were still recovering from the last when they had to go to the next.

The Panighiri band was missed - This means the usual Panighiri Band was missed, not that the other band was bad. A Panighiri with drum machine just doesn't get the feet tapping. - This means that a drum machine can in no way replace a real drummer because a real drummer can follow the rest of the band while with a drum machine, the band has to follow the machine.

Despite the lack of a full band, the Greatest Panighiri hits had some moving in their seats regardless, and while Penelope waited for Odysseas, the Panighiri took to flight and became what it was hoped to be... FUN - This means songs that everyone knew got everyone dancing and then in no time, everyone had alot of fun.

Early in the evening the dance circle was speckled with kids and mums, but then with the right bit of musical encouragement, the experts were tempted to their feet to show off their moves. - This means that when good music was played those who know how to dance very good got up and danced very good.

By 3am, the kids had had enough - (This means that late in the night the children got tired), and after 4 years of attending every Panighiri, me too, - (This means that I was tired too because I have been to every Panighiri for 4 years to take photos so that friends, families and people who love Ithaki who are not at the Panighiria could feel like they were here too) but the parents were just revving up - (This means that the parents were not tired and had a good time). There were still hours of dancing ahead, and with alcohol nipping insecurities and good sense in the bud, - (drinking alcohol makes people feel very relaxed so they enjoyed themselves more) there was no stopping the Panighiri until the fat lady stopped singing - (this is an English saying and is not a bad thing, it just means that it ended when it ended and nothing but the end could make it end - Comprendo?) turned off the lights and cut off the beer supply - (This does not mean that the beer ran out, this just means that at some stage the Panighiri had to stop - for example, daylight). This years Platrithia Panighiri was a little strange, a little slow to get started and a little crowded to say the least, but as the last big Panighiri, even the dog-tired dragged themselves away from the tele to be part of the experience, too afraid to suffer disappointment should a great time be missed out on - (Oh here's the dog bit. Well, dear complainees, this means that no matter how tired people were from the Summer and from all the other Panighiris, it did not stop them from wanting to go out and have a good time at this Panighiri because they didn't want to miss anything). The Platrithia Community and its volunteers did a great job servicing the hordes with food and alcohol and raising money for their community, but if this Panighiris' attendance keeps growing like this, they may have to move to Vathy to accommodate everyone - (This means that the Platrithia Panighiri was so big and so successful that maybe the Patrithia village Square will be too small from now on).

Ps - I know who you are, but out of respect I am not publishing your names, I hope in the future I may be shown the same respect by you, and at minimum, you should not be accusing anyone of anything unless you have the correct information. Your translators need to go back to school!!! For help with phrases and Idioms Start Here - http://www.phrases.org.uk. or see Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996) or seek out the many various resources for translating phrases and idioms that are available in print and online. You owe yourself that if you consider yourself intelligent.


September is here

Sat 1 Sep - After a hectic July/August, when everyone was running around on automatic, September has an easier atmosphere, but with it comes the "end of season melancholia' that people feel here when the island begins to empty out again. There is still patches with plenty of activity, Ithaca Summer is not dead yet, but there is definitely a change in the dynamic of the island. The light has changed, the days are shorter and the nights are longer, there's a longing for some rain and slightly cooler days. September is a month of transition from mayhem to normality, which takes a little getting used to.


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