Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Xrisis!


So, the rioting has been cancelled for a few hours to let Santa Claus through to do his thing.


Don’t get us wrong: we have nothing against law and order, per se, but it's freezing and we find the best way to keep warm at this time of year is to set a car on fire and run away from the cops.


So whether you're an enemy of the state or one of the political mafia, we say: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Day in Paradise


The ants have eaten the best part of the fish and now they begin on the head.

The fish herself stopped thinking about anything a while ago.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Never Knowingly Understated

You might have noticed a bit of Athens-based bother on the news lately. There are no riots here in sleepy ol' Kalymnos but I did find this leaflet the other day:

The headline translates (as far as we can make out):

THEY MURDER CHILDREN, THEY STEAL PENSIONS
THIS ISN'T A STATE - IT'S A MAFIA



The headline is followed by a reproduction of Picasso's Guernica for added effect.

We did hear some car-horns and chanting the other morning but by the time we got out to look for the riot, everything had gone back to normal: old men were smoking fags in the cafes and old women were crossing themselves as they walked past churches.

We don't think the Greek state is about to collapse.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Financial Crisis Fails to Rock our Rock

Down here in Kalymnos, we've heard a rumour that there is some kind of huge financial crisis engulfing the world and everyone's going to die.

I don't know. A quick check on the Kalymnos money markets reveal that not much has changed:

Perhaps the hysteria is out of proportion?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rats, rats, lay down flat.

There have been quite a few dead rats lying around recently. We don't know if it's co-incidence or whether there is something about October which leads to more rats getting caught out.

This one was photographed on the back road to Massouri and there have been several more closer to our house.

It looks as if he was hit by a vehicle and the other ones we have seen have been similarly splayed in the centre of roads. Perhaps with less light at this time of year the rats have trouble looking where they are going. Does anyone know the truth?



Look: there's a fair bit of meat on him!

But we're not that poor yet, so we left him where we found him.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Church of Elvis

There's this church round the corner from the town beach. It's got a blue-domed roof and all the usual palaver, but the thing that makes it stand out is it's electric cross.



If Elvis was alive today, and into preaching, and living in Greece - THIS would be his place.

Elvos, perhaps?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Greek Health & Fitness 101

The other week we walked all the way to Emborio at the top of the island. From Pothia to Emborio is about 24km.

It took five or six hours and at the end we were like "Yeah! Whoo! Pumped!" and promptly headed to the beach for a cooling swim.

Other people were there too.


The walk was beautiful but we're thinking this fella might have got there in the car. Don't you think he looks a bit like William Shatner?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What a lotta yachties we gotta

In Pothia harbour, the yachties are strong in number.



Their pricy boats fill up the harbour and you spend the walks along the front wondering whether or not they are thinking that you're jealous of their boat.

It's like very public caravanning. They sit on the back of their yachts and eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner within three yards of the pavement.

The difference between a yacht and a caravan. as far as I can make out is that a caravan is more spacious and you don't fall in the sea is you step over the edge of a caravan.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Read the label

Vitales supermarket is great for oats and apples but they also carry some right old crap.


"100% cashmere like"... what does that mean?



Ahh, I see. It means 'acrylic'.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bring on the Fun Girls


So they've got this Beach Volleyball championships going on down at the port just now. On Tuesday they brought in a load of sand and built the stands overnight. Voila: a beach volleyball stadium where there used to be a car park.

It's apparently the Panhellenic Championships or something, but what's really caught the punters' imaginations are the sponsors' scantily-panted dancing troupe - the Lipton Ice Tea Fun Girls!!!

The Lipton Ice Tea Fun Girls get their name from their love of ice tea in cans and from the fun way in which they appear from the wings whenever the crowd show any signs of being bored by the volleyball action. For around one minute, the Lipton Ice Tea Fun Girls rock one of their amazing dance routines from their endless repertoire, and they do it all whilst wearing very small pants indeed. Everyone gets excited again and the sport may continue.

Here they are, in the middle of another dance devastation. See how the Lipton Ice Tea Fun Girls hold their young fans suspended in a trance!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Time of The Fat Watermelon

Learn Greek time again.

Watermelon = Kaρπouζi (Karpouzi)

At the moment there is a glut of watermelons from Kos and Rhodes and the price is down to 40 cents/kilo. You can get a big fat karpouzi for €3.

Selecting a good one is a local skill and a matter of pride.



We have a lot of watermelon = Eχouμe πoλi kaρπouζi (Echoume poli karpouzi)


See?

Easy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Philosophy Latest

Twenty five centuries after Plato's dialogues, Greece still produces key philosophies for all the world to know.

Here's the latest.

Amazing. The author has captured the essential foundation of Modern Greek thinking in just nine words that are not even his first language.

Impressively concise.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

On The Beach

Summer, and the Town Beach is actually getting quite busy.

The cafe has started serving burnt hamburgers and that seems to be drawing the crowds even though there's nowhere to go for a piss and the 'sand' is the builders'-yard variety which leaves a thin film of grey cement-dust on your skin.

Daytime fills the strand with brown bodies: big fat ones lolling in the water; lean fit ones splashing or playing volleyball. Greek disco booming from the cafe. It can get quite noisy...


...But the true character of the Town Beach comes through later on, towards dusk, when there's no one around.

This is the place than can relax you even if you weren't stressed in the first place. Nothing is happening and you love it.

It's Echo Beach, so it is.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Not As Easy As Last Week

So, the Easy Cruise boat has been showing up at Kalymnos every Sunday.

The boat also goes to Kos, Siros, Samos, Mykonos and Paros, plus Bodrum in Turkey.

When we heard the ship was going to be coming weekly we feared being submerged by waves of lager louts but it looks like the clientele of Easy Cruise are slightly more mature than that and so far Sundays have been pretty calm and our local restaurants are feeling the benefit.

Ola Kala - all good.

Yesterday was a problem though. It was so windy that the Easy Cruise Life (the name of the ship) could not safely enter the harbour and had to anchor outside, ferrying the passengers to and from the shore in tenders, just like the old days.

One day Stelios might have enough money to stop the wind...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Massive Insect Season

Look at this bloody monster that flew in through the living-room door last week.



It just flew right in there, opened its mouth and said in a broad Glaswegian accent

"Hey you - are ye making a cup of tea or what?"

It was insistent and only succumbed to being trapped in a family-sized coffee jar after getting his cup of tea and a bit of cucumber.

What to do in situations like this?

Do you say "yes" and get the kettle on or do you say "no" and risk them becoming violent? Is giving in to a bully insect's tea demands mean that you're a pussy or is it just a sensible course of action... what if stubborn pride leads to the house being smashed up?

We quickly decided that appeasement was the answer in this situation. After all, he looked like he'd been drinking. So we brewed up.

Before we could show him to the guest insects chair, he plonked himself down on the sofa and spread himself out, allowing us to see his fat belly for the first time.

He drank his tea and ate his cucumber, taking up the whole sofa as he did so while we perched ourselves on the two little chairs, laughing nervously at his slurred stories and racist remarks.

Eventually, the tea was finished and he allowed himself to be jarred and chucked. We breathed a sigh of relief you could hear in Kos. He was probably only here for 20 minutes but it felt like aeons.

Anyway, after we put him out, we've not seen him again and its been more than 5 days so here's hoping we made the right decision.

We'll let you know.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Time To Get Serious

Four years ago:


Four years ago, Greece were still the underdogs in Euro 2004.

Even though they'd won their first game against hosts Portugal, that result was still being dismissed as a flash in the pan.

No one seemed to think Greece could win that tournament at any stage, they were just too unfashionable.

Even after beating champions France, Greece were still marked by the bookies as 10-1 outsiders for the tournament. We remember that well because that's the point at which we lumped a fiver on them to win.

After they beat the Czechs in the semi, everyone said it was fluke: against Portugal in the final, Greece would finally get their comeuppance.

But, of course, Greece won the match and we won £50.

It was the start of an amazing year for Greece: Champions of Europe, then host of the Olympic Games and the icing on the cake... winning Eurovision 2005. It was the year that Greece ruled the world

Boom!

Anyway - Greece need to pull their finger out TODAY if there's to be any repeat. The loss against Sweden the other night was limp to say the least.

Tonight's opponents are Russia, another country with a weird alphabet. But you will notice as you watch the game that all players will have Roman characters on the back of their shirts.

Witness the imperialism of the English language and the Roman script!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Hanged Man

It's been a while since Easter - but we rediscovered these photos from that weekend and I don't think we mentioned them at the time.

Basically, Good Friday saw an outbreak of effigies being hanged from overhead cables all around the town. This one is outside the big church over at the West End of town, Agios Nikaloas.





There was another, better, one up by Agios Vasilios which had been dressed up with a headscarf/burka-type-thing, perhaps to look like an Arab but it had been taken down by the time we got back to it with the camera.

Anyway - we never did find out what the hanged effigies were all about. Perhaps they are supposed to represent Judas, but whoever it supposed to be it certainly adds a scary edge to the whole celebration.

Hot cross buns are tame by comparison!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Christ Has Flown - Now You May Swim

What's the dumbest thing you ever got told when you were younger?



Two days ago it was time for another religious celebration - 40 days after Easter which apparently marks the time that Jesus Christ finally went up to heaven after rising from the dead on Easter Sunday.

Anyway, Michael told us that, when they were kids, the adults told them that they had to wait for this festival for their first swim of the year.

The kids were warned that if they went in the sea before this date, they would grow a sponge in their arsehole.

We've been swimming for the last few weeks and so far I can report no sponginess. Looks like the bum-sponge might have been an old wives' tale!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Tortoise

Our tortoise has been out of hibernation for a little while and can often be seen zooming aorund the garden.

No joking - it can fairly move and this is the only photo that didn't come out blurry.



However - this may be down to technological inability rather than the actual speed of the toirtoise!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Greece Ripped Off

To be honest, we didn't initally think the Greek Eurovision entry was that good.

My Secret Combination by Kalomira was a pretty standard slab of American-style pop delivered by a Britney Spears clone who even sang in English and gave her post-event interviews in an American accent.


But then, the day after the competition, we found that My Secret Combination was about the only tune we could actually remember, so at least it was catchy.

Then we remembered how we felt early on in the voting when it looked like Greece might win... a trip to Athens for the Eurovision in one year's time would be AMAZING.

And then we read that the Eurovision was a fix, that it was a Russian company running the phone votes and the whole thing was rigged. This, admittedly, is based on one forum post somewhere on the internet but hey - it might be true and if it is then we feel AGGRIEVED.

So now we're mad shit-assed angry. Greece was ripped off and Russia cheated.

Luckily the national football team have a chance to take revenge soon as they are playing Russia in the Euro 2008 football tournament which starts on Saturday.

Bravo Ellada - give them hell!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wild Artichokes

So, a relative brought over some wild artichokes from Kos. I always thought the things grew in jars but it appears they are actually wild plants and there are lots of them in Greece at this time of year.



As you can see, they look like big spikey thistles. You boil them and then peel away the spikes one by one, sucking the artichoke-y goodness from the bottom of each spike.

Make sure you do this at the blunt end because those spikes are sharper and more painful than a lawyer.

Eventually, you are left with the squishy heart which you can pop in your mouth whole.

Yum. Bitter tastiness. Yum.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tiny, Meaningless Cultural Difference

In the olden days, being abroad was (probably) really foreign. Distances were vastly more vast when not bridged by modern communications: the internet, etc.

In this age where brands are bigger than countries, you can get a coke anywhere and culture is flatter across the world.

We are left with things like this:



In the UK, the coffee you bought from the supermarket usually came in JARS. Here in Greece, your instant fix tends to be packaged in TINS.

Meaningless?

I don't know. You could read more into it. Maybe you could say that Greeks are more comfortable with ingredients that they cannot see whereas people from Britain are less trusting of authority and need to see the goods through transparent glass before being comfortable with a purchase.

Perhaps it means that Greeks see coffee as more of a basic commodity and Brits see coffee as something more like a treat.

Perhaps it means NOTHING AT ALL!!!

What do you think?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No Boot Required

You don't necessarily need a boot to transport things

Kalymnos provides excellent daily lessons in how to get the most out of two wheels.

Families, animals, supplies and friends all get to ride.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Learn Greek - letter Ψ


Ψ is the letter Psi.
It begins words like

τo ψaρo (to psaro) - the fish
n ψeυτιa (i psevtia) - the lie
ψaλλω (psallo) - I sing

It's a letter that just doesn't exist in the Roman alphabet we use for English but it's pretty easy to remember if you think about Poseidon, the old Greek God of the Sea.

Look at Poseidon's trident... it's a big letter Psi - Ψ and his name starts with Ps - P'seidon - and he's in charge of all the fish - ola ta psari.

See?

Easy!

By the way, we're learning with Pimsleur Greek language course and it really is very good.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Room With a View

So, the building work next door has been pretty rapid and we now have splendid view from our South window in the bedroom, thus:


It's actually very interesting. As the day moves on and the sun makes his daily journey from East to West, the intricate play of light and brick becomes eternally mesmerising and completely fascinating.

(Not.)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nice Day for a Walk

It's a nice day for a walk down at the wharf.

The boats look pretty. The sun is hot. We know there's not going to be any cold weather for another 6 or 7 months.

Being unemployed in Greece is relaxing and we would recommend it to anyone.

Remember - if you're British you're an EU citizen and as such it may be possible to live on the dole here. Just athought - we haven't checked it out.

Anyone know any Brits who go dole-ite abroad?

Busy Doing Nothing

More days off!

Today is a public holiday for May Day. No work!

We'd only just finished with Easter too and yesterday was a normal Wednesday half-day!


You gotta hand it to the Greeks, they know how to work a system. It's probably some vitally important Saint's day or Greek historical occasion next Monday resulting in more closed shops and nothing happening. I cant been bothered to check (cos I'm picking up some Greek habits now).

So, what's this got to do with the picture of the concrete blocks?

Well, special holidays or not, those concrete blocks have been sitting doing zilch for about two months now.

Construction on the new waterfront round the East side of the harbour battered ahead apace during the winter but it seems to have ground to a Greek halt for now.

The crane that lifts the blocks into the sea has gone. I guess this is our sea-view for the foreseeable future.

Still, that's what Athens looked like 24 hours before the last Olympics. So, you never know!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back to Normal

The locals go back to work today after an explosive Easter weekend.


Easter is the number one holiday in Greece, far bigger than Xmas and the celebratory tradition in Kalymnos is for the young men to throw 3-kilo packages of dynamite off the mountainsides that surround the town.

This is thrilling for the first hour but after four days of non-stop bombardment we now know exactly how grim life was in the Flanders trenches of 1916.

As they say in Scotland, "Gies Peace!"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Change of colours

All the yellow flowers seem to be on their way out... dying.



But it also seems the time of pink is upon us. Good news wethinks

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Death of Goat

So, the neighbour's bonus raffle goats we mentioned yesterday got dispatched this morning. Here's how it went:

Don't worry - there's nothing too graphic in the minute and-a-half-long film, although its probably slightly disturbing if you're a vegan.

OOPS!
VIDEO REMOVED FOR EDITING
back soon...

Sad, eh?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Last Meal for These Two

The guy from next door spent five Euros on raffle tickets and came up trumps, winning two goats for Easter.

The neighbours don't have a garden so they're staying for one night in our garden before the killer comes tomorrow to turn them into meat.

See how keenly they feed themselves on our weeds!


So this is an Easter picture of a Last Supper although the difference between these goats and Jesus is that Jesus knew what was going to happen to him.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A launch

OK - part of the point of being here is to create websites and become internet millionaires. Ha ha ha!

We can now present the first of our efforts. It's an entertainment site called Wankerparty.com and it's all about masturbation and how much fun it can be. Latest words, news and stories make up the site. Have a look at Wankerparty.

It's run by a guy called Chas Diamond, who looks uncannily like Paul



God only knows if this will be popular but if not, then there are plenty more ideas in the pipeline.

If you think it's a good idea - then tell your friends.
If you think it's a terrible idea - then tell your friends.
If you have any better ideas - then tell us!

Death Row - One Week To Live

Kalo Pascha!

That's what Greeks will be saying to each other this time next week, it means "Happy Easter".



Happy for them, as Lent comes to an end and they may eat meat again.

Not so happy for the chap above, for exactly the same reasons.

All over the town, sheep like this are waiting in gardens with rope around their legs and they don't even know why.

It's like one big oblivious death row!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Learn Greek - word for WOOD


OK - Time for another lesson in the world's least intensive Greek course.

Today - it's the word for wood - xylos.

In small Greek letters this is ξyloς.

In capitals: ΞYLOΣ

The picture above is a sign for a ΞYΛOYPΓEION - which is xylourgeion or wood-work shop. There's quite a few of these places on Kalymnos, churning out doors and windows and shelf units and so on.


Xylos is pretty easy to remember as being the word for wood because xylophones are made out of wood.



See?

Easy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Curiosity...

I say, what's that in the back of that wee truck bike thing?



Oh, it's a pile of cats.


Cute.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Priestly Powerplay

One minute this priest is keeping a guy in his place with a subtle right hand.

And as soon as he knows he's getting snapped, there he is, looking the other way, folding his hands, whistling through his beard... pretending it never happened:

What does it mean?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Learn Greek - letter Δ and word for street

OK, here we go again with the world's least intensive Greek course.
Today we see that ODOS mean road. Yeah - that triangle is called "delta" and it's kind of like the letter D.

You pronounce it with your tongue-tip against your front teeth so it sounds almost like "th" but not as soft. Like "this" rather than "thing".

Anyway - you can remember that Δ is a D because of the name delta. A river delta is a triangle. Δ is for Delta, see?

And you can remember that odos is the the word for road because of odometers - the posh name for a mileometer on your car dashboard.

Just how on Earth NTAPΓOYIN = Darwin, we'll have to deal with another day.

Until next time - don't study too much!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Athletic Sport Victory

Every Thursday, before our weekly shopp at Marinopolous, Paul runs the 400 metres at the Kalymnos Municipal Sports Stadium.


The times have been coming down - resulting in a personal best every week!
  • 13 March 1 min 4.3 sec
  • 20 March 1 min 2.8 sec
  • 27 March1 min 0.5 sec
  • 3 April 55.6 sec
  • 10 April 53.8 sec
So in five weeks Paul has taken more than ten seconds off his time.

Now he is only ten seconds off Michael Johnson's world record (43.18) and there are just under four months left until the Olympic Games.

That's 16 weeks - so Paul needs to shave off 0.625 seconds from his time every week from now on to be at world record pace in time for the games.

It can be done!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Learn Greek with Paul and Nicole

Right.

We've been here for five months and our Greek is shocking. Maybe some effort is required. You can learn with us.

But, as they say, siga-siga, which means "slowly"

So let's learn - a bit at a time. Let's start of with the word for chemist or pharmacy.

There it is - Farmakeio. Pretty much the same word as pharmacy.

See? Easy!

Stick with us - and you'll learn Greek in no less than ten years.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Billie Piper Sells Greek Fags

Did you ever wonder what happened to Chris Evans's first wife?


Here she is in Greece, using her good looks to punt tobacco.

Amazing pop fact: Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos used to be in a band called The Karelia
named after this precise brand of Greek cigarettes.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Casually Taking The Sheep for a Walk

Check this scene from from the other day. Just a nomral everyday guy, acting real casual, real cool.

Just taking his sheep for a walk.

There are a lot of sheep around the town at the moment. Probably because Easter is only a few weeks away...

The sheep seem to enjoy being centre of attention. They have absolutely no idea of the fate which lies in store for them in just three weeks time.

Muaah ha ha ha ha ha!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dead Cats

There are a lot of dead cats around at the moment.



Maybe people drive faster at this time of year. Perhaps the pussies are too busy thinking about sex to pay attention to the traffic. It is spring, after all.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Where are we?

Check our new poll, at the left. Do YOU know where Greece is?


Rmember to be honest!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Broken Model

As ever - there is much to be learned from the island's window dressers.

Here's an innovative diaroma in the chemist near the post office in which a fashion mannequin models the very latest in bandages, braces and supports.

He looks cool. Doesn't it just make you want to run out and jump under a truck?

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