Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Questions

Questions

Just trying to answer some of life’s more difficult questions today, such as, how did a quick meet at the Rainbow in the late afternoon stretch to ten pm? Ah, because friends arrived we’d not seen for four years, so that’s easily explainable. Then there’s the one: how come I wrestled with the Italian lady in my phone for hours and yet it took Panormitis two minutes to silence her and all other voices, PIN me in, set me up and hand it back? Ah, because he knows what he is doing, so that’s explained too.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Busy in Yialos these days.

Then there’s the, how did the temperature go from reasonably mild to incredibly hot overnight? And that will be because it always happens around this time of year. There’s usually one day of the summer when someone leans on the thermostat, and we’re hitting the high 30s and low 40s before you can say, ‘Hot, isn’t…?’ That thought led me to wonder if anyone has designed clothes that keep you cool, you know, like the opposite of cold weather gear? I don’t mean light cotton or nudity but a shirt, shorts or a suit, dress, whatever, made from a material that actually cools the skin. They probably have. I’ll have to have a look.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Other questions were knocking about inside my head this morning such as, why on earth do I wake up with two recitative lines from Phantom of the Opera in my head after a good night’s sleep? I mean, not even one of the more tuneful parts. And then a fairly serious one: who on earth can I vote for?

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

You see, after living away from B (that’s Britain, I simply can’t put ‘great’ in front of it anymore) for fifteen years I am no longer eligible to vote in British elections – not just me, but any citizen who has decided to live a better life elsewhere. That time has now passed so I can’t vote there which makes me feel kind of stateless. I’m not a Greek citizen, so I can’t vote in the Greek government elections, fair enough but odd. I mean, I have lived in Greece long enough to lose my right to vote in the yUK, but am also stateless in the country I live in. If/when the yUK Government appease the right-wing bigots who voted for Brexit because they believed lies and wanted all refugees to go home, or whatever their favourite ‘newspaper’ told them to think, I assume I will no longer be allowed to vote in European parliamentary elections. I am (sadly) British and will have been ostracized from Euro-democracy by Daily Mail readers et al. Which leaves me with only one vote, one chance to affect democracy, one opportunity every four years to ‘have my say’, and that is the local council election on Symi. I’m assuming we’ll still be able to do that even with a British passport after/if Br***t happens.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Anyway, that’s my world: Symi. It’s the only place where I will have a democratic right to vote (after you-know-what), so it’s all I’m worried about. I think there are elections here this year, so I have that to look forward to. Now, I’m going to potter off and wonder why on earth I wrote this. Ah, questions, questions…

Symi Summer Colours

Symi Summer Colours

The colours of my life
Are bountiful and bold,
The purple glow of indigo,
The gleam of green and gold.”

The opening of ‘The Colour of my Life’ from the musical, Barnham, and one of my favourite songs in the show. I was thinking of it on Tuesday when we were down in Yialos doing some bits and pieces. The hills of Symi may now be a palette of brownish, greyish shades, but there are still many clouds to be seen.

Symi Summer Colours

It was a successful trip to Yialos, almost. One ATM machine had no cash in it, but another one did, and we now have four. Alpha Bank, National Bank, one by the pharmacy on the south side of the harbour and one outside the techno-shop opposite Meralklis in the side street. Neil’s next year Symi Calendar had arrived at the post office along with some cutlery from mother – very nice and thank you! I was also waiting for a new Smartphone to arrive, one as recommended to me by my 14-year-old godson because I have no idea about these things. I checked with the bookshop as I bought some new pens, but no courier delivery there, so I also asked in ACS, but no, no delivery there. I wasn’t expecting it just yet anyway but hey presto! It had just come into the newsagents via Speedex. Yippee! A new toy to play with.

Symi Summer Colours

I went to collect a new keyboard from Smart Symi (the techno shop), I tend to mash through one a year, and bumped into the ACS guy and told him I’d found my delivery. Panormitis then did the thing with my SIM card and put in a micro card for extra storage, but I didn’t have my PIN number for the SIM as it was at home. Apparently, I could just enter the PIN when I was home, and all would be well, and that’s where the so far successful day became ‘almost’.

Symi Summer Colours

After lunch at To Spitiko with some friends who were leaving on Wednesday, we took a taxi up with Konstantinos because we had the cutlery, keyboard, phone, pharmacy supplies and a pair of shoes that had been sent via us to deliver to a neighbour up the road. Some time at the Rainbow Bar and finally home to enter my PIN. Well, I’d ordered the phone from an online Greek shop, as advised, and it was charged and switched on and… In Italian. The screen was obvious though, put in the PIN and away you go, except it didn’t. Each time I pressed a number, the Italian lady inside the phone read it out for me, but nothing appeared on the screen. I tried again and still no. Or, as they say in Italian, no. Not even a riprova which, a translator tells me means try again. Turn it off and start again… No, can’t turn it off. I hit the red icon to spengi and nothing happened. In the end, I gave up and put it back in the box where the Italian lady kept talking even though the lid was closed. She still mumbles something every now and then, but I am learning to ignore her. I will take it back to Panormitis later (it’s Wednesday as I write) even though I didn’t buy it from him he will help out, because he’s good like that.

Symi Summer Colours

But enough of all that. I have to pop down town again to sort the phone and later, must see about finding new balcony chairs as the cheap canvas things from Jumbo only last one season and I’ve just fallen through one, and we’re now down to only two. So, a day of shopping and sweating lies ahead followed by what was going to be an afternoon writing but some friends from Greece/Canada have just arrived, and we will be meeting up later…

 

Fun And Games

Fun And Games

I was watching from the balcony the other morning, just seeing what was going on down below when I saw a man hovering several feet above the sea. One of the new attractions at Nos beach (Paradise Beach) is the… The… (Don’t know what it’s called) the ‘floating over the water via water pressure jet boots’ thing.

Symi

The appearance of this new toy/sport/distraction has caused some ruffled feathers on social media along the lines of, ‘We don’t want our Symi to have things like this,’ and ‘No! Not on my favourite island,’ with a few ‘What a shame it’s getting like Rhodes,’ and other judgemental complaints. Well, for a start, ‘becoming’ would have been a better verb than ‘getting’, but that aside, I might be more inclined to listen to the complaints of the complainers where actually residents here and were trying to eke out their livings from a tourism industry which has been declining over the years due to world economic problems. ‘Our island.’ I ask you! I’ve been living here nearly sixteen years, and it’s never going to be ‘my’ island. Yes, I know some people are worried that…

Symi

Sorry, I was interrupted by someone having fun. Some people see things like this in use and are worried that we’re suddenly going to have huge all-inclusive hotels on Symi, Club 18-Hell tourists, young people who might actually enjoy themselves, and something called modernisation, so let me put your fears to rest. We’re not. You can hire all kinds of sea-sports equipment from this beach, and a few pleasure boats from the Nireus, but that’s about it. You can still find your tranquil places at St George and Nanou, Maruthunda and elsewhere where the only thing you’ll have to complain about are goats nosing through your bags. Besides, from what I am told, no-one actually here is disturbed by this new attraction.

Symi

Anyway, you get my message. I’ve no time for nimbies (not that I’ve heard of any actual Symi residents behaving as such), especially ones who claim island ownership because of their annual two-week holidays. Sorry if you’re one of them and that offends you; if it does, you’ll know how your comments make me feel. The bottom line in Greece right now is, everyone must make a living, and if you really supported the country, you’d support all endeavours and not moan about them from the safety of your computer.

Symi

It also comes with dive control.

Maybe today’s mood comes from being awake at 4.00 a.m. An early night is always a good idea for someone who works best in the early hours, but whether I go to bed at nine as I did, or two in the morning (as I rarely do these days) I still wake up early. That’s what the last image is of; a quiet moment on the balcony without anyone having fun except for the mosquitos wanting breakfast, just as the sky was beginning to turn its pre-dawn orange.

Symi