Friday, 26 October 2012

Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I'm Home!

Well folks I'm back and the weathers been bloody horrible ever since.
Woke early to a glorious morning and moved my UK motorcycle "Ghost" in to the bar and made my way around the resort to say my goodbyes. Took my Greek motorcycle "Virago" to bar and locked it all up for the winter, called my taxi and waited in my apt for the very last time. Its the end of an era. I moved in to this apt in 2006 when i was still at The Tropicana and its been my home for 7 years, 7 really good years. Its been a great place to live, living room, big double bedroom, washing machine, air con, central heating for winter, a safe, all doors and windows mozzie proofed and it was very secure. People ask me "Will i miss it?" NO, its only an apt after all and the memories will stay with me but why should i miss it when i have my new home which is amazing.
My living room in my old apartment, allot cleaner than a week ago LOL

BLOODY KIDS! Made it to the airport and was straight through with my bag and in to departure lounge. Waited till almost everyone was on the buses then made my way to the gate, Didn't think the plane would be that full but boy was i wrong. Thomas Cook had taken on some of the seats to fly people back to save using their own planes (doesn't sound good). So i had 3 seats available to me. One was by a middle aged man who seemed to be nervous and was coughing up a lung, second was next to a larger than life person, loud and slightly larger than your usual passenger and the final seat was an aisle seat next to a retired couple, great, seat 3 it is. Behind me i didn't realise were 3 young boys between the ages of 7-10. they were excited and looking forward to take off, not a problem, was nice to hear. Take off was smooth and the plane levelled out for a none turbulent flight. It was about 5 Min's after the seat belt sign went off when the tray behind me was dropped down...... then slammed up....... then dropped down....... then slammed up, AAAAGGGHHHHHH! All 3 kids were doing this. Their father was sat across the aisle from them and he didn't do a thing. Then it was kicking the back of the seat, then moving around in their seat so their backs were against the back of my seat and pushing it. The retired couple just Lent forward and read their books. Me, i kept looking at the father in disgust and he was to busy listening to music and playing his games on his iphone, i looked over seat at kids and gave a look that would kill, the kids stopped..... for about a minute. That was it, i had had enough, i got up and pretended to go to the toilet. As i got up i pretended to stumble and elbowed the oldest child in the back of the head hopefully dazing the lovely child. It seemed to work but it was a bit late as it was about 2 hours after take off. So i have an idea, i think for the children's safety (children under 10) they should be restrained with a 4 strap safety belt like in formula 1 cars and they should have child proof catches so only adults can undo them and they can only be undone for toilet visits. Another great idea from the Kevlar brain LOL.

Landing in good old blighty. Sorry i mean grey, wet, dull, miserable Britain i had 2 hours to kill before my train so i treated myself to my first real pint since i left the UK in March, so i sat and savoured the taste. Of course i had to sample more than one just to make sure they were all of the same quality, after all i did have a 2 hour wait.

mmmmmm, a real pint.

Then it was train time. First Gatwick to Reading which took 90 Min's, this was uneventful and calm, THANK GOD!
Then a 45 min wait till my train for Swansea. I forgot it was a Sunday and its student time. All students going to Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea were making their way back to Uni after a weekend home. Nightmare. Luckily my seat was reserved but they were everywhere, on the floor, on each others laps, one was even asleep in the luggage rack. Then the conductor had a complaint from someone (non Student) who had reserved their seat but a student was sat in it. This set off a chain reaction like a puzzle. The conductor made the student move, the guy got his reserved seat but the student who was in his seat also had a reserved seat but wanted to sit next to her mate so she went to her original seat where someone else was now sat and this went on and on with people getting up moving seats and making someone else move. It was quite fun to watch as everyone who had to move had a little rant. Kept me amused anyway ha ha.

Then the last leg of the journey. Helen picked me up from Swansea to make our way home to our little house. HOME SWEET HOME.

I'm not going to do a review of the season as all i need to say is BEST SEASON EVER!
T-shirt sales total from bar was 231 and next season will have an online shop for the new designs.
It seems the flavour of the season this year was "Live Music". Once one bar has a good idea the others follow. The thing is with so many bars having live music this season and many using the same singers the tourists can pick and choose where and when they want to see the singer, so its a real hit and miss idea, finding the next big idea in entertainment for tourists is very difficult.

Some customers say the funniest things, every year i get the odd gem and this year was no exception.

1/ "Can i change this Turkish Delight Cocktail?"
    Yes of course you can, may i ask whats the problem?
    "It tastes like Turkish Delight"

2/ "Are you showing the England game?"
      I Don't have any TVs in the bar, Sorry.
     "Does that mean your not showing it?"

3/ "Can i have a pint of lager please!
     Yes sir, i have Alfa, Mythos or Amstel?
    "I don't want that foreign crap, haven't you got any English lager?"
     Like what?
    "Well, Stella, Carslberg, Kronenburg?"
     Are they English?

4/ (On a rainy day)
     How's it going today?
     "I'm not happy about this weather"
     Ah, well we get the odd day but never lasts for long
     "Don't care, when i get back I'm suing Thomas Cook, they said it would be sunny"

5/ (From my friends bar)
    "Can i have a Tuna baguette please"
      Yeah sure
    "One question, does it smell of fish?"

6/ Where did you go on holiday last year?
     "We went to Greece"
    Your in Greece now.
     "Are we?"

Just a few i can remember for now but believe me there was allot more LOL

Now in saying that just the other day i had a complete dumb moment. I walked past a club near where we live and saw people going in all in Halloween fancy dress. I told Helen and she told me it was a "silent disco" to which i replied without any thought "What, you mean a disco for deaf people?". I had this instant vision of deaf people dancing to whatever song was in their head. I do apologies now to any deaf people reading this for my stupidity and if any deaf person visits Oceanic next season i will give you your first drink free for my ignorance. Helen later went on to tell me its a disco where they wear headsets which the music is played through. How do people talk to each other? Its difficult enough to talk in a normal club without headsets. Be a bit weird if you didn't know and walked in to a quiet room full of people having fits and twitches LOL.

I was on Zakynthos for 7 months and never got ill once, been home 5 days and got a stinking cold which is real bad news as i was going to see Ed Tudor Pole (Tenpole Tudor) tonight in a little local pub called "The 3 Salmons" its just a little place for about 60 people, gutted. On a positive note I'm going to see Depeche Mode in Athens on May 10th so I'm letting you know in advance that i will be closed that night just for the one night, will travel over in the morning and come back the next morning, don't panic, its just one night LOL.

Now I'm not on facebook but Helen does an excellent job in keeping the Oceanic chill out bar facebook page updated. I stole here facebook page and left a thank you message to all my wonderful customers and friends. While i was typing my post i saw this picture that was taken at Anne and Johnny's wedding, has someone airbrushed it? Is that really me? I brush up quite well for a special occasion don't i , little bit more of a tan and I'd be happy LOL. Had comments of looking like Heston Blumenthal (that bloody Heston, my nemesis) also anothet said a Welsh James Bond, don't know about that, maybe after this months gym. I'll throw my hat in the ring as Daniel Craig has said he may be giving up the position ha ha.

I start back at my winter jobs next week so looking forward to getting started, i hate sitting round just wasting time, can't think of anything worse.

You should now be able to access the Oceanic website and all the pictures are now on there from this season.

Please keep posting any pictures of yourself in Oceanic on the facebook page as Helen shows me the page every week and its nice to see.

I know I've got loads more to tell you but this head cold is stopping my stream of consciousness from flowing like it normally does when i write my blog. so until the snot clears and my eyes stop watering I'll leave it there.

Until next week my lovely followers, try not to sneeze while taking a sip of hot tea, you may burn your nostrils LOL

Saturday, 20 October 2012

"Hooray, Hooray, It's time for a holiday" - Ref. Boney M, LOL

So as another sun sets on another fantastic season its time to pack it all away for another winter and try to figure out how to fit all my crap in to one tiny bar till next year. The Rubiks Cube got bugger all on my bar storage LOL.
When i took this pic it was still raining and grey clouds still all over the island.

This Was the horrible storm we had on Sun 14th Oct it lasted pretty much all day and flooded Oceanic, AGAIN! Stayed closed this night as didn't want my customers sat in a damp bar so they catch a chill. See how thoughtful i am.

The main road only just visible through the rain.

Usually from this view you can see the airport and the mountain range on the west coast.

No sight of Mount Skopos and notice the outdoor shower working overtime on the left ha ha.

I'm not going to go on and on about how quiet Oct has been, the whole of the island is 50% down on last seasons Oct and this is due to 2 things. 1/ Thomas Cook leaving most of their hotels empty with only flights from Manchester and 2/ Thomsons upping their prices for flights and package holidays knowing Thomas Cook had virtually pulled the plug on the island. This has left many businesses struggling as many use Oct as the month they take money for their V.A.T. bill for July, Aug and Sept. I always prepare myself for every situation as you never know what will happen with the season, so good job i always put my V.A.T, money aside by end of Sept ready to pay in Oct. So just to show you how quiet the old road was in the second week of Oct i took timeline pics.

7 P.M. Open bar. No one.

8 P.M. Still no one on the road,

9 P.M, Where have all the people Gone.

10 P.M. Cavo is empty only 5 rooms have tourists in.

11 P.M. only one table in Oceanic but 2 more tables came in after this pic.

Go forward 4 days to the 15th Oct and every table is full, weird.

I can honestly say that no one on this island would have had a good Oct including myself. Only a handful of nights i was full and the others were OK but nothing special, good job my first 5 months were the best I've ever had. Fingers crossed that Thomas Cook get bought out before they also go down the Swanee as its not looking good for them. They've had many problems this season with flights, sold off more assets to help with debts, cut over 400 jobs and just this week some tourists who used flights only were told not flying them back to Cardiff so they will be dropped at Manchester. That would cheese me off no end. Cardiff Flights are always more expensive than from say Gatwick or Manchester and they are flying back on a cheaper seat and then have to get a coach back to Cardiff, what a pain in the ass.

On a brighter note, Rock Dog is back, AWWW! Its been 5 months since i last saw him after he got attacked and i feared the worse. Shame i couldn't keep him myself as he is such a mild gentle dog but i don't stay here during the winter. If the season was 12 months then that would be great, i would keep him but i couldn't open up during the winter just hoping someone will come in for a beer. It would drive me insane just waiting and waiting, also i couldn't live here just doing nothing accept eat and drink i would go out of my mind doing nothing. Nope, i like my quality time with Helen, 2 months merchandising at Christmas for Toys R Us and this year also The Range (Toys R Us at night, The Range in the days). Then 4 months of keeping fit, weekends away and medical trials with lots of needles (why do i do it LOL). Myself and Helen have always said when we do settle here we will live from April - Nov on the island then go back and live in the UK from Dec - March.

Good boy Rock Dog.

I was feeling a bit peckish the other day so thought i would try Steki Grill House as you go over the first bridge in town nearest the port its opposite that. I had A dish called "Charleston Gyros Plate" and Feta Cheese in the oven with a side of a Donner Meat pita and a chicken pita. I'm afraid to say that i couldn't eat it all so i left 2 slices of tomato, wasn't that hungry after all LOL.

A feast fit for a king, I challenge you Man V Food!

I managed to work out my storage puzzle and now the Oceanic is bare of all lights and furniture. Its always a sad day seeing it empty especially after my best season ever, just wish the season hadn't fizzled out so quickly but myself and the customers who visited me during this month made the most of it and had a good laugh and a good drink. Big thank you to all who ventured in during my last week keeping me going but a special thank you to Chris and Sandra who i always have a good time with having a laugh and listen to even better music with and of course i can't forget my Assistant Manager Phil and his wonderful partner Janice who made it to my bar every night for 3 weeks and invited me out for a drink when i closed on the night Oceanic was flooded. To both you couples, you kept me upbeat and kept me going stronge till the last day on Thurs 18th Oct.

So from the 19th it was holiday time. As you know my loyal blog followers i love to go and explore the island, i love to learn about the island and its history and today was no different. I went to visit where Dionysios Solomos sat and wrote "Hymn to Liberty" in 1823 which today is the Greek National Anthem. It is said that he sat in an Olive Tree here, listened to and watched the cannons going off during the Greek War of Independence in the centre of the island in 1821 and this inspired him to write the poem. I was the only person there today and its a lovely place and even with me being a short ass Welshman i had a feeling of pride that i was stood where the national anthem had been written. Shame these types of places are missed out on tours as there are so many more places of interest than what you get on the trips. The good thing is that next season i can go and sit there every day as its only 5 Min's walk from our new house.

The entrance to the Solomos memorial.

So peaceful but a bit neglected for somewhere of such importance to Greek history.

The Solomos memorial.

The View from the olive tree where Solomos sat,

Me trying to think like a poet and come up with an anthem for Oceanic but all that's going around in my head is "Ba Ba Black Sheep", please, no jokes about the welsh and sheep LOL

So that's it for this update and i fly tomorrow. Once I'm all settled back in gloomy UK i will update with the seasons review and keep my blog updated with my winter adventures but until then, its time to sit back and watch the air stewardess give me the emergency procedures when we all know in the case of emergency we'll all just panic LOL.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Oceanic Tour Dates are confirmed!

Firstly another apology, i have now posted all the pictures of my customers on their last night. Had a bit of a back log but the website is now all up to date including last nights customers photos.
Well what a strange end to the season we're having. The resort is very, very quiet. All I'm hearing is "there's no one on the streets" and the old road is most probably worse than the main road. We're lucky if at night we see 20 people all night wander down the road. Since Sat(29/9) its been a weird period. Sat packed out with all spare chairs used, Sun just 10 people all night, Mon again packed out, Tues not packed out but a great night, Wed half full. So as you can see the nights are all over the place with most people coming in from 10pm after meals, gone by midnight and very few early evening drinkers if any. Still, not complaining as I've broken all records since i opened in 2007 this year and Oct is just a bonus. You can tell its not that busy in the resort as i see many owners riding/driving around seeing how other business are doing, if they were that busy they wouldn't be going around the resort, they'd be in their bar or restaurant making sure everything is OK.
I'd like to thank everyone who came along to my birthday buffet on Friday and glad you enjoyed the food. Had really fun night so thanks to one and all.
Woke up early one morning, well, i wake up early most mornings but this morning i decided to go out for a ride on my bike, Still a bit tired i stepped out of apartment to be confronted by a dangerous venomous snake (maybe lol). It was just sat there or the step of the stair well of my apt. It wasn't moving but it didn't look like it was dead, do snakes sleep? Anywhoo, i decided to slip past it quietly and try not to disturb its slumber. After an hour i came back, it was still early and the snake had moved down 2 steps but was still again. At this point i took the picture and went back in to apt. another hour past and i heard from outside screams and shouts in Greek from my landlady and her 2 Young daughters. Being the brave, chivalrous, dashing, knight in shinning armour type hero i am i raced to the door of my apartment, placed the key in the door and locked myself in without them hearing the lock click LOL. Hey, I'm not stupid and as the saying goes "Women and children first".
Why couldn't it have been a fluffy puppy.

The Oceanic tour is all booked up and ready to go. As you may know myself and Helen go around the UK for weekends away and try to meet up with customers who have visited the Oceanic over the past seasons and buy them a drink as a little thank you for spending time in my bar.

Tour dates are:-

Leeds - 9,10,11 Dec
Manchester - 5 Jan 2013
London - 22,23,24 Feb 2013
Bolton - 22,23,24 Mar 2013

Times and venues of our nights out to be confirmed.

Not been up to much this week as packing my apartment up ready to move to our new house so this update will be a bit short but i did go out to visit a hotel i was told about in the area of Kipseli. Its called Tsamis Hotel. Lovely. It's off the beaten track but well worth the ride when i got there. The pool lounger areas are on 3 levels, large pool, small pool, sun terrace then you have a walk way in to the sea. There were only 4 other people there when i visited but it is the end of the season and they are closing Friday.
I've visited lots and lots of hotels on this island and many outside the resorts and i have to say that almost all the hotels that i have visited outside the resorts are of a high standard. Better rooms, better decor, better facilities and better pools.

The pool areas at Tsamis Hotel.

Well folks as i said sorry that its a short update but not got out much this week but will promise to do more this week so I've got plenty to write about on my next update. One bit of good news is that I've booked my flight ready for next season and now in re-negotiations with my landlord about a long term contract for Oceanic. We had already agreed on one but now we are discussing a better one for both of us which will see me here for at least another 6 years, good news eh? Well for some it is ha ha. Will let you know when its all sorted.

Well its ice cream time so until next week, remember, you can lead a horse to water but you can not make it drink, especially if that drink taste like dishwater LOL.