Yassou from Zakynthos folks, I'm here and already working hard to get everything sorted for you, my friends, my customers, my family and Dog. Yes she's still here, YAY!
Awww she so cute.
And still remembers our trick.
Well what do i have to tell. Lets start from when i left home. No, not when i was 17 i mean this year. I said my goodbyes to family, said my goodbyes to my mum and last of all said goodbye to Helen. Got on my coach 10.30am in Swansea and off i went to Gatwick. Stayed at a Travelodge over night. It was so good to have a room for the night all cosy and warm, shut the world outside and have a night in bed relaxing before the flight early hours of Sunday morning.
The plane was full, i mean every seat was taken. They weren't really tourists though as i listened to the odd conversation, some visiting friends, others have family there, the odd few had properties on the island and 1 or 2 workers but not many.
We landed and i don't think the pilot judged it very well as my spine almost come out the top of my head we landed so hard, Idiot!
My good friends Thassos, Demi and their cheeky little daughter Anastasia welcomed me and gave me a lift to our house. They dropped me off and left me to it.
Bloody hell, what a mess. Mould and damp everywhere and i had left the windows slightly open all winter to try and stop it going mouldy. God knows what it would have been like closed up. It took me 2 days to get the house all sorted. Time to wash was the mouldy clothes. Bugger, wheres me rotary line gone, the gits have stolen it. 1 had to use an indoor washing stand and 3 washing machines full later, its all done.
House done and time for the dreaded paperwork on the 3rd day (Wed). Well bless my soul, how helpful was everyone. Smiles, jokes, thank yous, i couldn't believe it and got all my paperwork done in 5 hours, 5 HOURS! Yes you did read it right. Talk about shocked. Music licence, DONE! Tax papers, DONE!, Accountant, DONE! All, DONE!
Thursday, time to get transport sorted, 2 cruiser motorbikes and a scooter, not one of them working, uuuuugghhhh!
Now for those of you who know where i live which is Bochali right above Zakynthos town with a steep hill to get to it. Imagine having to walk up and down that hill until my bikes were sorted. On the day i did my paperwork i walked that hill 3 times and on the one day i walked from Bochali to Kalamaki with 2 motorbike batteries in a rucksack. Bloody knackered LOL. My 2 cruisers were locked away in Kalamaki so had to take the charged batteries there to put back in. Both started fine, woohoo! The Scooter was at the house. This needed a new battery which i walked down to town to get. Got the battery, walked back up the hill. Bugger! no petrol. Walked back down the hill, got petrol, walked back up the hill. Put petrol in bike, petrol came straight back out of bike, bugger, bugger! Will have to wait till morning to push to my mechanics.
Wake up 7.30am and start to push bike to Mechanic at 8.30am. Now my mechanic is by St. Dennis church in town. So i start to push the scooter from the house to my mechanic. Sounds easy i hear you say as its downhill and only a scooter, WRONG! It had 2 semi flat tyres and both were slightly seized. From my house just to the end of the road for the start of the decent down bochali hill i have a few steep inclines to conquer for about 3/4 mile. It was such a struggle with the wheels the way they were by the time i got to the end of the road it is the first time i had ever been physically sick through exertion. It was a nightmare. so, i jump on and free wheeled down the hill, well, not really as i was only going walking pace due to seized wheels.
Got to the bottom of hill and started pushing again. Made it 50 metres and gave up, bike still there today LOL.
So UK cruiser working and Greek cruiser working. Only after 3 days Greek cruiser decided to start making banging noises and is now in the Greek motorbike hospital with a bill awaiting for about 200€, BLOODY BIKES!
My pain in the ass bikes, both working........for now.
Now at this point you may be thinking, "He's waffling on a bit" well that's cause I've done so much in such a short time its all a bit mixed up in my tiny brain so just writing as i always do as a stream of consciousness. Does that make sense?
Kalamaki looks in good shape. Many businesses have for sale signs on them and for rent but will still have to see who's going to re-open if the businesses don't sell, to early to tell yet, after Easter all will become clear.
The biggest change, if you know the accommodation is John & Joys. Wow, it looks lovely but I'm not sure if i like it. The way it was before had that Greek character about it but now it could be any hotel in any country. The more modern these accommodations become the less character Greece has which is the main thing that drew me to Greece in the first place, all the older more traditional buildings and feel it had, that's why i set up on the old road as in 2006 it had that local village feel to it with just a road without pavements and quiet little restaurants and the odd bar.
John & Joys as it is now.
The old road is looking very healthy indeed. A new restaurant has opened next to door me called Puzzle owned by Elli and Dimitri who used to have the Roof Garden and 2 more bars are opening back up by Mojito which is great news as now the old road is nearly full with businesses up to Oceanic, just one empty bar and a shop. I don't know how 3 bars all next to each other are going to get along what with music pollution from one to the other and all trying for the same trade but i hope they can get along and sort it out from day one as everyone needs to pull together to make Kalamaki work. No point in blasting each other out and drive people away which i have seen done many times over the years which is not good. You know what i mean, his music is loud so I'll turn mine up louder, the noise for customers is unbearable and does make them drink up and leave. Fingers crossed they can work together. Also if i'm not mistaken the old Safari Bar across from Al Sandros had guys working in there today so it could even be 4 bars in that small area and Safari used to have a dancefloor and DJ booth so it may even be a club if it opens. I'll keep you informed.
Oh and also there are now 4 blue and white businesses in Kalamaki, i have started a craze, its just taken 5 years for it to catch on LOL. I have to admit it but I'm wrong with my colour. Blue and White is Aegean Greece, Ionian Greece is the red Terracotta colour but when i changed my bar to blue and white in 2009 i didn't know this. I just saw the picture postcard of Santorini and that's what i had always associated with Greece but it seems that's just for the Aegean side a local Zakynthian told me. Will have to research better when i choose my colours next time, DAMN YOU AEGEAN! LOL
On to the bar. Well i didn't go to the bar till everything else was sorted so i could just concentrate on that till i open the 1st May.
First of all i couldn't find my bar. where has it gone, yoowhoo, Oceanic where are you? Oh there you are, your hiding.
Yes you are seeing right, that is a load of branches from trees that have caught this tree virus and my huge palm tree has also gone due to the virus which I'm quite happy about actually. These branches were from the trees behind the bar.
There, that's better, all cleared by the council and my landlord.
Now where do i start. Well, first of all no damage was done this winter, although 2 speakers that were in the roof were stolen. Now whoever stole them (i have a very good idea who) if they were that desperate for a pair of speakers (that were cheap mini hifi speakers i got for a fiver) i would have given the speakers to them if they'd asked if they're that hard up for cash. Ah well. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Karma will come LOL.
Couldn't really get started on anything as need all my tools to arrive from UK and i didn't know when my landlord was going to be laying the new floor. So couldn't get everything out and start inside.
So the weekend was my own but with no bikes to use, it was back on the old legs again to get around.
Monday myself and my landlord went and choose and paid for the tiles, think they'll look good once all done. The floor is being completely ripped out and laid from scratch so no more sitting in puddles when it rains, i hope lol. Also the entrance is being moved so it will give allot more space at the front for the popular sofas. Bar is also being moved to create more seating space.
Tuesday i had a day at the bar, got the old sofas out to give them a white wash as these will now be spare sofas as getting new ones. I would say the sofas now look as the interior designers would say "Shabby Chic" or as i would say "Not painted properly". Sofas all done and started to figure out the designs for inside and outside. That seemed like a short day in writing it but it wasn't, took ages just to do sofas.
Wednesday. Got up early and ordered the sofas, wayhay, wont be here till 6th June BOOOOOO!
My lovely new sofas, these will have blue cushions by the way.
My Yamaha cruiser needs a new part and its gonna cost and take time BOOOOOO!
Took my design in to the sign maker for my new sign, they quoted me 135€ 2 days ago, now it may be more, BOOOOOO!
The new sign, ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, SIGN!
In all Wednesday wasn't my best of days as everything seemed to be costing more than expected and you know how tight i am but its all for a good cause, to make the bar look pretty, well, the bikes for me ha ha.
Thursday. They've started my floor, WAYHAY! Even with just the fresh bed of concrete down it looks much better that the old un-even painted slabs. What a difference an even floor makes. Now i was very surprised they had start as they always say they're gonna start but that day never comes. By the end of Thursday they had ripped up thd old floor and lain the bed of concrete. Good job guys.
I forgot to say, on this morning i seemed to have gained a lodger, a dog. No not Dog, another dog. I stepped out on to my patio and there he was just laying on the sofa sunning himself. Don't know who's he is or where he came from as i live right out in the sticks. I have called him Victor after Victor Meldrew as he looks grumpy. What do you mean "That's you", how dare you LOL.
This is Victor, grumpy dog.
Being as i can't do anything at bar now till floor is finished i took myself off for a walk around town and to see how its looking. I have to say its very clean at the moment but many empty shops, hope they start to fill up once season starts. I always stop for frappe somewhere and have no found a new cafe bar of my choice, The Strada Marina Cafe Bar. They do a really good frappe, its very large, along with it they give you a bottle of water and a complimentary cheese pie all for 2.50€
Its well worth the walk for my frappe.
As I'm walking around town i always spot something that makes me feel good and as i was walking along the main Alexander Roma shopping street i spotted off the side of the road 2 gents playing backgammon in the middle of the street. How great is that. You would never see 2 guys sat on Oxford Street playing draughts would you.
This is why i love Greece.
And, i love this, there is a noodle & sushi restaurant in town in between Solomos Square and St.Marcos Square. I love my Greek food, i could eat Greek food for the rest of my life but i also love sushi. So it will give me a nice change, that's when i got time to go there as no doubt it will be closed by the time i close the bar. Will have to be daytime visits me thinks, that's if its open in daytime.
So i don't think there is much else to tell you from the island as going to be a bit bored now for 3 days till floor is complete.
Its Friday, the weekends here. Cant really go to far as bit worried bikes may fail, again, even though both have been serviced. Can't use a pool as all are empty. Seas way to cold and would look stupid on the beach in shorts when the Greeks are wearing puffer jackets. Can't buy the paints and material for bar as no where to store it. So i'm stuck really. Thats why i am writing this at 8.30am this morning. Was up at 6.30am and started to get bored so it was blog time LOL. Sorry, i had just stopped as had a call to go down to bar as today they started laying the tiles and wanted me to show them what electrics needed to be kept from the floor but i'm back now. Its all good.
Off the subject, i was starting to get addicted to Ebay just before i left the UK, buying and selling, buying more than selling LOL. I was looking for new cushions for the bars sofas and when i put in a search for cushions an item came up with "Caravan Cushions for sale". Now then, when i sell something i make sure the pic is clear, taken in a good light so you can see detail and give an accurate description. Well, the Caravan seating cushions were described as "Very good condition" but take a close look at its pic. They may have got the cushions all in the pic but it seems they allowed their dogs to photo bomb the shot and lay over the cushions. If ever something was going to stop you bidding i think dogs going all over what your expected to buy would stop you.
Are the sellers idiots? I'll take them but you can keep the dogs lol
And as Columbo would say "Just one more thing", why is it that i had to go from Tsown to Kalamaki to Laganas and try 6 phones there before i could find one that was switched on? Now my Victor Meldrew bit, What the bloody hell is going on? Surely it doesnt cost hardly anything to have at least 2 turned on in each place. Town i couldn't find one, Kalamaki i did find one that was on but it was broke, then tried another 6 in Laganas before i got to the seventh that was working........just, it was very quiet. Yes i have a mobile but it costs so much to call the UK and its allot lot cheaper with a talk card. I hope they sort it before the season starts. As an added note, there is lots of activity in Laganas much more than Kalamaki. In Kalamaki its still like a ghost town.
So first update done from the island. We will now be back to weekly updates. I'm sure allot more would have happened by next Friday, its never as smooth as it has been so its a bit worrying LOL
Till next week.
Serve All, Love All, Peace All, Kevlar Out!