Monday, 23 May 2011

Woohoo! A record night for May.

Well it was a great night last night with a full bar inside and out, not one empty seat i hit my best ever night in May since i opened Oceanic in 2007. I could not believe it. I've been busy since i opened on the 4th of May but would never have thought i'd break my record night for May with the resort being so quiet, for all my customers who read this who were in here on the 22/5/2011 i'd like to thank you all for such a great night. Also had alot of laughs especially when a bottle of tonic decided to explode all over me glad you all thought it was funny LOL. Cheers folks!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Sorry for such a late update folks, i promise i won't do it again LOL

Well its been 2 weeks and 2 days since my last update so i apologies but been a bit busy doing the old tourist bit going out and about with Helen while she was here.

So lets kick off with the opening of bar. Got it all open on the 4th of May. Kalamaki seems to be very quiet around the resort for tourists, quieter than i've ever seen for May but still the island is saying tourism is up, i can't see it. Been to all the major resorts Argassi, Alykes/Alykanas, Tsilivi and Laganas and from looking at the resorts you would think it was the first week in May not the third week. As for me, i'm doing well, little up on this time last year. We're not talking in the hundreds but its an improvement on the last 4 seasons so can't grumble.

Already here in Kalamaki the locals are blaming the AI's for the streets being so quiet, now that may be part of the problem but i don't believe its the major factor as i've been told by a reliable source that the AI hotels aren't that busy either. Prices here, well some businesses have put prices up slightly say by 50c on drinks in bars and 50c-1€ on food in restaurants, me i've kept my prices the same since 2007 and will be the same this season also, as long as i can pay my bills and have some food in my cupboard thats enough for me, its a lifestyle choice not money orientated.

The islands way of doing things have taken a step back, last season if someone said to you "Mr. Pinnell your papers will be ready in 7 days" they were ready in 7 days, this season don't get me started. First of all my music licence, Paid for it on 29th April was told "Mr. Pinnell it will be ready in 7 days" i gave them 10 days it was ready in 20 days. My new sign they told me "Mr. Pinnell it will be ready in 4 days" i gave them 7 days it was ready in 10 days. Can you see a pattern forming here LOL But in the end it is all sorted now and everything is running smoothly.

Been up to see my friends John and Sue in Old Alykanas at "Redskins" what a lovely little place with a great view out across the sea, wish i had a location like that for my bar that would just make it perfect. Had some lovely home made ice cream Vanilla, Banana, Ouzo and Sloppy Toffee. Well it wasn't meant to be sloppy but it hadn't set yet but i still wanted it and boy was it good. If you get out and about make sure you look them up. If you go in and say "Kevin sent us" you get a free spoon to eat your ice cream.

So as i said in the beginning Helen been here for a week and its been great as both of us needed a break, me from the bar and Helen from the UK as she's having a very tough time at the moment back home and really deserved the break, feel a bit guilty being out here while Helen has all the stress of her work, the house to sort out as its still not finished being built to move in to, me being out here doesn't help and her mum had to go in for an examination and the results weren't good so she really is under it at moment but the break did her good and hopefully she'll be coming out every month at some point but her mum has to be her first priority and my thoughts are with them both.

Anyway we took ourselves over to Koukla to a lovely hotel we visited last year "Gloria Maris" pool is so nice and well set up but the bar staff may need some basic words taught to them. I went to bar and this is how the conversation went:-

Me - "Yassou, one Coke Light, one Fanta Lemon"

Bar person - "What?"

Me - "one coke light, one fanta lemon"

Bar person - "I don't understand"

Me -"one coke light, one fanta lemon" (slower and louder, as you do, lol)

Bar person - "A chocolate?"

Me - "No not chocolate, COKE LIGHT!"

Bar person - "Chocolate, yes"


Bar Person - "What you want again?"

Me - "Coke light and fanta lemon"

Bar person - "Ahh! in fridge"

Drinks ordered, DONE! haha

We went for our usual Traditional Taverna Tuesday but on a Wednesday, once again can't beat it, no menu, just 6 dishes to choose from, food all cooked that morning and fresh, the best way to eat. Did a lot of riding around on th bike just basically getting away from it all just for a few hours just to de-stress and enjoyed every minute.

I forgot to tell you about my Greek motorbike didn't i, well what a nightmare. It only has an electric start so i charged the battery up fully, wouldn't kick over. I changed the spark plugs, wouldn't kick over. I checked the fuses, one was broke. Changed it, wouldn't kick over. I could see the problem, the 10amp fuse was blowing all the time so i thought its either a electrical fault or needs a bigger fuse. So i pushed my bike from Kalamaki to Zakynthos town, my mechanic fixed it. Got 8km from town, fuse blew, it was a 10amp fuse. Pushed it back to town my mechanic said i have to take it to a specialist electric workshop 6km out of town. So off i pushed it. Now you would think with all the bikes over here that a motorbike garage would have a trailer to collect bikes but oh no thats to simple, muggings here has to push a 250cc twin cruiser around the bloody island LOL. Gets to the workshop and the guy pulls and prods all the wires but can't find anything, so i suggest a 20amp fuse he replies "no, no, 10amp fine" he changes fuse, i take off, 400m down the road fuse blows, i push it back. He checks all wiring again, pulls off perfectly good sound connections and replaces with twisting wires together then insulating tape together and again a 10amp fuse, while he's doing this i see a 20amp fuse in the dirt so i pick it up. I say to the guy "what if it blows again" to which the answer was handing me a pocket full of 10amp fuses. I pull off, 400m down the road, fuse blows. Out comes the 20amp fuse i found in the dirt, replaces the broke fuse, bikes been great ever since, how simple was that haha.

We have a new game in the bar this year its called "SPLAT!". Ok, so, i have a clear weather tent that winds down at the front of my bar, now its not new i've had it for 4 years and used it every May and Oct but this year i gave it a good polish so its crystal clear. In the 4 years i've used it no one has ever walked in to it but this week 3 people have. So now its become a spectator sport, whenever someone is walking out the bar seems to fall to a hush waiting to see if someone walks in to it. The first ever "Splat!" participant was Ian but in his defense he did have 3 jugs of wine while being in bar. Its not just the "Splat!" that happens, being as the tent is pulled tight it also has a trampoline effect and people bounce back off it, so the criteria on marking is:- First Contact, Surprise Factor and distance of stumble back. Ian gladly posed for a reconstruction photo of the first ever "Splat!".

Ian with his gold medal winning Splat LOL

Well the Original Oceanic cocktails are easily out selling the normal run of the mill ones by 10 to 1 with the Banoffee Pie cocktail being the favourite, mind you it is almost like a meal in itself.

The bar is still a bit rough around the edges but slowly i'm trying to sort it all out but decided for this weekend i'm going to have a lazy one and start fresh from Monday, so i promise a weekly update from now on.

Just checked my stats for last week and had 1648 hits to the blog also readers as far as Australia, Canada, America and Thailand, Wow! its not alot compared to the big websites but for a little ole blog about a nothing special bar thats pretty good going.

It seems my bar is getting a lot of attention from another business owner (not greek) they took pictures of my bar just after it had its graffiti make over and took more pictures today of its refurb, maybe they're deciding which look to copy LOL Ideas cost nothing, it just depends if you can think of any haha.

Until next Saturday, take to the skies and get your asses over here yeehaa!

Friday, 6 May 2011

I'm here, I'm alive and I'm open!

Sorry for being a day late with my update but been so, so, so, busy.

So lets begin. Left Swansea at 6am Thursday morning to travel to Gatwick for 2.30pm flight to Zakynthos. Plane was 3/4 full but very few tourists, mainly locals and workers. A few groups of workers heading off to Laganas who were very loud and drunk but the Trolly Dolly let slip that they work on commission of what they sell from the trolly when one of the drunks asked for a free drink as they had bought so much, so even though the were clearly drunk 90 mins in to the flight and causing problems to the other passengers the hostesses continued to supply them with drinks and the oldest must have been 25 and couldn't control the drunken groups. Anyway got to the island safely.

As i left the airport the road which takes you to and from the airport you would think had just come straight from Afghanistan, its a mess as still is to this day, such a shame as thats what the tourists first see when they arrive. Got to my apt at 8pm, quick walk around to see whats what say hi to my friends and bed time sleepy head.

6am Friday Straight to bar to collect my electric bill and to see the damage. Lots of paint, badly drawn images that weren't exactly Salvador Dali but hey its only paint, its not like they cut my mums head off HAHA!. The locals have been very supportive and all come to visit me and said how sorry they were and if they could help just ask. They all said the same thing "Whoever was involved in this is a bad person and needs to be shot" a bit harsh i thought shooting someone for creating art LOL. My landlord was very upset and told me i didn't have to pay Mays rent and my rent would stay the same this season like last season due to me having to correct the damage. He's such a nice guy and now this vandalism has lost him money not me as its his building, i just rent it. but because he is a nice guy i said i would pay half rent for May as its not fair for him to lose money. We also know that the normal tins of paint that were thrown over the weather tents and floor at side of bar were done 2 days after i left the island at the end of the season and the spray paint late Feb early March but the witness wasn't sure on date but knew it was around then. They sprayed on every surface including the Oceanic Sign. As i said police report is in by the landlord, witness has been spoken to and after watching Columbo for years the culprit always returns to the scene of the crime, "Slowly, Slowly, Catchy Monkey" LOL.

How do you like the art exhibition! HaHa!

So the rest of Friday was spent rushing around paying electric, accountant, community tax and music licence and just basically getting all my papers sorted. Exhausting.

Saturday up at 6am and in to bar to make a list of everything i need to create "Oceanic MKII" after a day of running here there and everywhere and back to the same shop about 10 times as i forgot things i got to work on bar at about 5pm but light was fading fast so finished around 9pm. I'm getting to old for these long physical days LOL.

Sunday up at 6am and just work work work all the way through till about 9pm again, for 3 days solid i worked these hours until the bar at least was half ready to open on Wednesday night, so Ladies and Gentlemen i give you the all new Oceanic!

I am now fit to drop, i am physically and mentally drained, i ache, i'm constantly tired, i can't think straight, and i need a long cold pint of Vodka and sprite HaHa! but in the end i think it was worth all the effort. Yes, i know the sign is still brown but the signs went in today to be changed to blue same as bar andwill be ready next week.

Ok so its not totally finished and rough around the edges but all the rest can be done bit by bit, day by day. Already had a good 2 nights open hitting target both nights so i can't ask for anything more.

Every night now through the whole of the season before i open i'll be blasting out "Underdog" by Kasabian as thats what i am, the underdog to the person who wants to destroy me & my bar, there is one chorus that rings out so true for my situation and it goes a little something like this:-

"It don't matter, i won't do what you say, you've got the money and the power i won't go your way, and i can't take for the people they don't matter at all, I'll be waiting in the shadows 'til the day that you fall"

Oh yes i'll be stood their smiling when that day comes, Thanks Tom and the boys for a song to spur me on and give me that fight.

Haven't been for my ride around all the resorts yet as just been way to busy and not stopped, haven't had time to scratch my little ass but i almost have time to scratch it now.

I'm sure theres lots more i have to tell you but my brains fried so will add anything i forgot to my next update, anyway time for a soak in the tub before opening at 7pm.

Till next week, take care of yourselfs, and each other.