submitted by Anna Cominos on 05.10.2009
Today, Monday the 5th October warm sunshine fills Greece's town squares, (even here in forgotten Kythera) as hope returns to a flattened people on the brink of despair. That ephemeral quality Hope has returned and everything is brighter, fresher, even the icy queen waitress at Potamos' majestic and wireless Astikon Cafe, smiles. The senses come alive as birds happily chirp away, its like that scene in Wizard of Oz........tiny invisible munchkins float amongst the earthbound humming....ding dong the witch is dead.
And like a mean a headmistress who tensely bullies her wards, the cards have turned and the relief is palpable. The 'socialist' PASOK government has triumphantly stormed to power by 10 points. The pounding defeat of the 'right-wing' New Democracy has led to the immediate resignation of the outgoing prime minister Kostas Karamanlis and the conservative piranhas hold their tears back, preparing for the power frenzy that is to occur.
It's not that things have changed overnight or even if they can in reality, but like my previous cotton-floss description today's shift is about the infinite power of hope. Like Post-coital serenity, the majority of Greeks long for 'better days'. Like the sophisticated retro-looking Obama elections posters, Greeks hope that they can wake-up in an Aliki Vouyouklaki film, without any complex third millennium issues such as immigration, national identity, suffocating national debt, unemployment, multiculturalism and a disenfranchised youth.
For the first time since 1981 Kytherians have gone green (PASOK) and. the traditionally conservative locals. As one young local who operates his own small specialised construction company euphorically explained to me last night, we need to create work for young people, money has ceased circulating in the community. But in reality, the Global economic crash hasn't really been felt in Kythera. While home construction has tapered out and the boom of 2009 tourist season in Kythera marks the lose of the island's virginity. It wasn't just the island was busy, it was a new type of tourist and the word is out about Kythera. Many of the visitors both Greek and European, where young (a shift as the island is favour by retirees) cashed-up with large 4-wheel drives. Like the extras from up-tempo ouzo ad, they cheerfully can in groups of 4, 6, 8. Always travelling in an even number, mobs of loved-up couples came and sun-worshiped on the beaches of Aphrodite's island.
There was a collective sigh of relief by most when the day after the 15th August, Kythera began its hour-glass like reduction and the island began to return to its own natural rhythm. The swamp of tourists from early July for 8 weeks, is an unsustainable model. Kythera's Council needs to devise and attract the potential of Eco-friendly tourism. Constant water shortages were common allover the island, parking was a nightmare and even the most remote,secluded beaches had 4-wheelers strewn all over them. But of most concern was the human waste. There is really no other way to put this but without a functioning sewerage plant, the island was drowning in shit.
The annual Agia Pelagia dance originally scheduled for the 24th September, heralded the end of traditional Kytherian 8-week tourist season. Rained-out, the dance was re-scheduled for the following night Sunday 25th September, atmospherically colliding with the memorable concert of legendary composer Yiannis Markopoulos held on the Agia Pelagia wharf. As the fantastically stirring music rose it was if the waves kept beat, as the maestros raised his hands so did the the crest of the waves.
Like a pray that has been heard, Kythera is a place of hope. The duality of being overwhelmed in summer and the harsh reality of globalization will unfold, but as the elders say..... Where there is life/there is HOPE.
submitted by Maria Whyte on 12.11.2009
I have such a deep love for Kythera. No one who knows of me can suggest this. Hearing Anna write so beautifully of our beloved island, is music to my ears, as it must have been as the maestro waved his arms in time with the crest of waves. Hearing that the young are showing interest in our island is wonderful, as long as they do not treat it as one of the many islands which are frequented by tourists who abuse the life of the islands, taking from them their beauty and commercializing them. With the hiking trails now encouraging tourists to enjoy the many hidden beautiful areas of our island, hopefully tourists will spend their dollars to assist our local residents and their businesses. Our older generation return to our island each year, as our Kythera will always call, and we will hear.
Maria (Marcellos) Whyte
I have just made a comment, and realize that my wording is incorrect. When I say that no one who knows of me can suggest this, I meant to say, that, no one who knows me, or of me, can doubt my deep love for Kythera. I apologize for the miswording of my reply to Anna Cominos.
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