Monday, 23 July 2012

Stupid earth tremor! 7.16am? some of us are trying to sleep LOL

OK I'm not happy, who ordered the earth tremor? Come on hands up, who ordered the earth tremor? Well i hope your happy as it woke me up at 7.16am after another very manic night in the bar. It was one hell of a shudder but was a short sharp blast which is better than a long rumbling one. So because of my rude awakening I've decided to get on with my blog which is late again. I know I'm sorry but its been all work, work, work since Helen went back.

Well dreaded July is almost over. Why dreaded July? Because its always my quietest month every season for past 5 seasons but in saying that this July up till now is my best July by a country mile but the nights are so unpredictable. One night quiet before dinner then manic after, the next night manic before dinner then manic after or its manic before dinner then quiet after. May. June. Sept and Oct are always the busiest months for Oceanic and each night is pretty much the same but July and August i hate but I'm not complaining as I'm still very busy and if the trend continues this will be my best season in 6 years.

As you know my security guard "John" went to that big beach volley ball court in the sky along with "Wilson" at the beginning of this season so i had to recruit a replacement. It just so happened that Alexander Meerkat tracked me down after he escaped from my oven back in South Wales but after partying hard in Laganas for a few weeks he has now blown his fortune from the adverts and needed some cash on the hip. So me being the kind generous person i am have employed him as my new night time security guard.

Alexander guarding the sacred Chambord.

Aww my dear friend and winter security guard John.

Since Helen left I've only been to the pool once, I've become a recluse from the sun as its so hot it just drains you and i need my energy for the bar but when i do get to go to the pool i like to use the pool at the Ilaria Hotel. "Wheres that?" i hear you cry, well its on the main road between Kalamaki and Laganas and if I'm being honest i think it knocks spots off some of the hotels in the top 10 on tripadvisor for Zakynthos but there isn't any tour company using it, they just get their bookings through private agencies which is such a shame as it's empty and its a wonderful hotel. So here is my good deed of the week, if your thinking of booking private and always hire a car while here why not give the Ilaria Hotel a go, i think its one of the best pools if not the largest I've seen on the island also the hotel and the grounds its in are lovely and such a waste of a beautiful place. The room prices on the website seem a bit high but I'm sure you could get that price down no problem.

The reception area, the lady in the pic was a cleaner not a tourist.

Reception from another angle.

The lounge area with bar.

View out from behind the bar.

Sun terrace outside bar looking out over pool.

One of the largest pools I've seen on the island but as you can see hotels empty and its July, there were only 3 other people there with myself at midday.

Next to the pool is a stage for acts and entertainment, this pic is taken from the seating area.

The amphitheatre seating area for when there used to be entertainment on.

The outdoor dining area.

The dining room which is spotless but no one here to use it.

The rooms are in separate buildings away from main hotel building.

Here is their website for you to have a browse around.

As you know i like my food, i can eat a KFC bargain bucket to myself, then there's my Big Boys Feast which is a burger, gyros pita, cheesy fries, garlic fries and a chefs salad, my Green Boat fish platter for 2 which i eat alone but one night i wasn't so hungry so just bought a ready made factory baguette from the supermarket. It looked juicy, it looked scrummy, it looked well filled, mmmmmmm!

What the god damn? Who has stolen my chicken? Jesus, what kind of nasty, mean, callous, heartless person would taunt me with such mental torture. Was the chicken they used anorexic? This kind of baguette cruelty i thought you only found on British Rail. People, forget the pre-made baguettes from the supermarket and get yourself off to the bakery opposite Mermaids on the main road, cost a bit more but at least its got a filling unlike this baron land cheap skate snack.

At the moment i am being controlled, my life is being led for me, i can't escape its strong hold it has over me, i want to break free but just can't, BLOODY AIR CONDITIONING! I go to sleep and its on. I wake up and its on. I turn it off but i can here it calling to me like a Harpy "Turn me on" (ooh eer misses) "you don't want to go out in the sun, you want to stay here with me" AAAGGGGH! Be gone you evil temptress i need thy sun on my pale skin. Curse thy battery in thus air conditioning remote when will they runeth dry? My life force is weakened by your cooling air, please release me so i may go and do my bidding (not as in ebay), please, please, PLEASE!
Lawrence Olivier award coming up for that performance i think LOL.

I'm going on holiday, yes people after the disaster that was Lanzarote 2 years ago, I've booked myself and Helen out to Cyprus after the season (also going to Leeds for a weekend LOL). I think we both deserve a break, Helen's had a really tough year and if this season stays as busy at it has been already my body will need a break, so we're going in style and booked us a posh hotel and upgraded our room to the best they had ooooOOOOH!

I was disgusted to see in Zakynthos town 2 women about 25 walking down Alexander Roma main shopping street just in Bikinis and let me tell you they were no super models and guess what nationality they were? Yep, British. How disrespectful can some people be. On this subject Kalamaki to me is starting to lose its charm. Over the past couple of weeks more 18-30's have come in to the resort. I've seen so many groups of girls and boys heading out to Laganas walking the streets with bottles of WKD or cans of lager. Only just last night around 2am a group of 6 young lads decided to run along the streets naked. Is this what the tour companies are turning Kalamaki in to? an extension of Laganas. I've spoke to a few of them and they all said they had booked Laganas weeks before but at last minute told it was double booked and Laganas was full so they were given Kalamaki. This is in fact rubbish. Talking with friends in Laganas it is the worst season to date with loads of empty rooms but its a game of cat and mouse for the tour companies. They keep holiday makers away from Laganas and tell hoteliers no one is booking Laganas so the hoteliers have to lower prices of rooms. The hoteliers know the tour companies want the rooms in Laganas so won't drop their prices, stalemate! When i opened Oceanic in 2007 i never saw 1 large group of girls or boys until 2010 since then I've seen more and more. Also a certain large tour operator is now doing a bar crawl in Kalamaki. Why are they spoiling this resort? Keep that sort of thing in Laganas. I know some tourists will say "well we never saw any of this while we were there" but some tourist don't go any further than a couple of hundred metres from their hotel and in bed by 11pm so of course they won't see it. I've seen the resort day in day out for 6 years now and trust me Kalamaki may be on its way to self extinction if the tour operators continue to treat the resort the way they are, lets hope not. Very sad.

Hello to the 8 new blog readers from Hungary and 5 new readers in Bulgaria.

Well that's it for another week, tremors over, suns out and time to get stuff sorted for bar, so until next week, "We're going to Cyprus, NAH, NAH NAH-NAH, NAH" LOL

Friday, 13 July 2012

Blimey, where do i start!

So first things first, What a wonderful 3 weeks I've had with Helen. We went to places i haven't been to in years, after all i have visited everywhere on the island over the past 12 years or 72 months or 290 weeks or 2030 days or 48720 hours, you get my drift. But with every upside there is a down and that down is that Helen had to go back home which is getting harder to see every season as we have so much fun when together but one day we will be sorted and be in the same country all season.

OK so on with the show.

I get asked every season quite a few questions, the same ones actually, so I'll give you the top 5 most asked questions in the Oceanic.

1/ Do you work every day all season?
Yes i do, i don't know of any business owner who would give themselves a day off during season time, we ain't on holiday folks.

2/ Whats the x-ray all about?
In the bar i have an x-ray up on the wall of my chest which was from i had my medical for my bar licence. I didn't know what to do with it so i turned it in to a light.

3/ Do you work the bar alone all season?
Yes i do, this season has been very hard as almost every night at some point its been full with over 40 customers so a bit of help would have been nice but why pay someone to do a job you can do yourself. So until i can't cope with taking the orders, making the drinks and washing the glasses I'll carry on working alone. Well, the glass wash machine washes the glasses LOL

4/ How did you end up on Zakynthos?
I applied to a job advertised in the job centre for a cocktail barman at the Tropicana Centre in Argassi i applied, i got the job, later went on to run it and the rest is history.

5/ How did you come up with the unique cocktails?
Someone said to me one night they wished they'd had a dessert after their meal so i said I'd make them a dessert cocktail and the Black Forrest Gateaux cocktail was born which then led to the other creations like Fry's Turkish delight and Banoffee pie, the rock named cocktails i created in Crete in 94/95 when i run a club on the island.

Those are the top 5 questions asked by my customers, so now for anyone about to visit the bar you don't have to ask those questions ha ha.

Right then the next lot of ramblings will be in a random order of how the pictures got uploaded, it takes ages on here trying to rearrange them so I'll just go with the picture flow if that's alright by you, i thank you kind people.

Going back to an earlier topic about bad spelling on signs and flyer's i came across this was on my receipt for my coffee at Lobby Cafe bar where i go for my daily frappe and honey toast.

Not sure if its meant to be "Be yourself" but a play on words or they actually mean "Beer yourself" in which case pouring a beer over your head in a public place may seem a bit odd.

My apartment now has 24 hour security in the way of thunder, thunder, THUNDER, THUNDERCATS HO! From left to right we have Splat, Smudge and Splodge, all named by me, you guessed that though, right?

So much for my security, bloody lazy cats, big cat is Kitty Kat their mummy, i know, another original name.

Aww, little Smudge, he's my favourite as he's the most mischievous one, little git LOL.

Well up till today i have now sold 106 Oceanic Rock Legend T-shirts still in first place is Joy Divisions Ian Curtis followed again by AC/DC's Bon Scott, i am also now doing them in vest form for the ladies. On top of the great sales a shop in Tsilivi kindly asked if they could stock my t-shirt, they asked my printer to ask me to which i was more than happy for them to do so, the shop is called Margaris Store which is on the main part of the road that leads to the beach past That Bar.
  Anyone that's going to Tsilivi and fancy a t-shirt you now know where to go.

While Helen was here we always go out and about the island and i try to find new places to show her and maybe stumble across somewhere i haven't been and this one day we did find somewhere its called Aghios Pantes (not pronounced pants or panties). We were a bit thirsty so we called in a taverna that had a blackboard outside written in English with Pizza, coffee, cold drinks, club sandwich, can you see where this is going lol.
So in we went and it was like a place that time had forgot, old worn tables, portable TV with a bad signal and empty of people everywhere was dusty. We walked out on to the patio seating area and the view was stunning.

So i went to buy drinks, they had an ice cream cart inside with no ice cream, bottles of spirits on the back shelves covered in dust but only bottles with anything in was Amaretto and Parfait Amour (never in my history of bars have i ever served parfait amour, don't you dare ask for one haha). I walked up to the bar and the owner a Greek gent stood there. The interaction went as follows:-

Me - "yassas"
Owner - Nod
Me - "Fanta Lemon?"
Owner - blank expression
Me - "Lemon Fanta?"
Owner - puzzled expression
Me - "Drinks?"
At this point the owner went in to another room and came back. Stood behind bar and held up in his right hand 7UP in his left hand Fanta Orange. I pointed to fanta orange, that's Helen's drink sorted.
Me - "Orange juice?"
Owner - blank expression
Me - "orange juice?"
Owner - puzzled expression
Owner - Holds up both tins again
Me - "No, orange juice"
Owner calls his wife over
Me - "orange juice?"
Owners Wife - Holds up both tins
I point to Orange Fanta, ah well at least i had a choice, god forbid if i wanted something to eat he may have held up a goat and a rabbit ha ha.

Great view, shame about the drinks menu ha ha

Now i wanted to show Helen one of the most beautiful places on the island Porto Limnionas, i myself hadn't been there for 6 years as going by yourself is a bit boring but i had missed it as the views are breathtaking. The smaller picture is a panoramic taken on my old mobile phone but it came out really good, you may need to click on pic to see it in a bigger frame. The sea is so clear and just warm enough. It was a great day.

There is also a restaurant here that does the most amazing fresh fish, i went for a Meze but unfortunately it didn't last long enough to take a pic as i was starving but here's the empty plate, as you can see all the healthy food has been left LOL

Me sat at the taverna looking out to sea wondering if fish ever get bored of being wet.

On Helen's last but one night i decided to treat her to a night at the Strada Marina Hotel on the port road in Zakynthos Town, i had told them i wanted the room from 3am as my bar was open till then till 6pm and they were fine with it and they gave me a room on the top floor so we had great views. We got there and sat on the balcony with a bottle of rose wine and it was so peaceful, just the odd couple strolling along the port and a few cars going past, no quads, no music, no drunken 18-30's just absolute bliss. It actually felt like i was on holiday for once in my 12 years here. We were both shattered after the wine so decided to call it a night and went to sleep but i was determined to wake up to see the sunrise.

6.15am, I'm awake, bright eyed and bushy tailed (what the hell does that saying mean) Helen decided to stay asleep so i took some pictures to show her what she had missed.

Not one car on the road.

The water was still and peaceful.

Here comes the sun, do, do, do, do!

Here comes the sun and i say, its alright!

Another panoramic picture

My best Steve Mcgarret impression from the old Hawaii Five-0

Out and about once again and on our way through Vassilikos on the way to one of my favourite bars on the island we stopped off for a drink at The Coffee House, loved this little place, it had great character about it and was interesting to look at, shame the owner didn't know how to smile even though he had quite a few in when we arrived.

Now then this has to be in my top 3 of favourite bars on the island Ammos bar at St. Nicholas beach. When i first came here it was just the bar area with a sand floor with seats and tables carved from tree trunks, bloody hell, now look at it,

This was half the size years ago with a sand floor, now it has a concrete floor which i think has taken the charm away from it.

None of these bed private seating areas were here it was just grass.

 And all of this was just fields when i were a lad LOL

I go all the way to this bar just for its fruit salad as every year it has been stunning and this year they had new serving bowls so i was very excited but the salad was not good, the fruit had no crunch to it, it was all soft and warm and there was no cherries or strawberries and only 1 slice of kiwi, very poor.

 As we were driving back from Porto Limnionas i thought I'd take a look at a resort i had passed many times on the way to Loucha and Gyri but thought maybe it wasn't finished as it just looks like a old dirt track leading to it and boy did we get a surprise, it was amazing, about 6-8 self contained villas, big villas with their own pools, I'd say 6 people +, The only problem is they are so way out you would definately need a car all the holiday. We went in to it and there was no one there, no tourists not even a caretaker, no one. All furniture out, all pools full with water but the whole place was empty

 Just to cheer you all up back in the UK where i believe you've had a spot of rain, here's me in the Strada Marina roof top pool doing my best Simon Le Bon Duran Duran picture impresssion from the video Rio haha.

So that's almost it for now and back to a weekly update from today but i have to address one issue i have. Reviews from non customers.
So, i don't expect everyone to like Oceanic as that's not the way of the world. But if you do come in and think its to quiet, nothing to do or boring then you haven't read the advertising boards outside my bar, IT'S A CHILL OUT BAR, GET IT? A bar to relax in with no stress, hassle or anyone or anything doing your head in, its just music, chat and drinks, that's it. If you don't want to drink in a bar like that, don't come in, simple. In saying that all the feedback and reviews on different websites have all been either excellent or Very Good from all who have drank in Oceanic but over the past 3 weeks i had 2 reviews of "Average" from people who have never even stepped foot inside, they have just walked past. That's like me reviewing China saying all they eat is rice when i haven't actually been there to see what its like. The main criticism about my bar from the 2 reviews were "it was full of old people" Really? i don't think so, you seen the pictures on my website but then again i don't care, i have more of a laugh with the more mature customer than some spotty 18-30 throwing up in the toilet after 3 shandies LOL What i will say is my bar is full most nights so must be doing something right then eh? By the way, for all my regular customers I'm now stocking Sterident PLINK, PLINK, FIZZ!

Till next week folks look after your dentures and each other. HA HA!

By the way this update just took me 2 and 1/2 hours to do.