Sunday, July 30, 2006

Shipwreck Beach, Zakinthos

Some Rubbish Thoughts...

Some rubbish thoughts…

The vast numbers of visitors making the trip to Zakinthos, 1.2 million a year, caught my mind. It was more a question of how the island coped with such large numbers of people and of interest was how to administer all this lot and how much rubbish might they create in the process of a year.

Greece has an appalling recycling record and only now is the country just beginning to address the issue of refuse and recycling, but more, I suspect, with curious amusement than a desire to genuinely improve the world. It is this same environmentally selfish attitude which is also evident in the island population’s rather uncaring and selfish attitude towards the plight of the caretta caretta or loggerhead turtle.

So, let’s talk rubbish to give you a small insight into the problem. Let us say that on average, every body drinks one litre of bottled water a day – one of the large plastic bottles you buy in the supermarket. Let us then assume that Zakinthos’s 1.2 million visitors stay for one week, over a summer period of 180 days or six months roughly. That works out at 8.4 million tourist bottles of water. Add to that 40,000 local residents and their one litre bottle a day, spread over 180 days and the local population will, in the course of the same six month period, consume 7.2 million bottles. In total, over the entire 6 months, it would be reasonable to presume that Zakinthos alone, one single island, will dump 15.6 million plastic bottles – lets say 16 million bottles, over the summer months, for ease. And, let us not forget, that figure does not include bottles of Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, packets of crisps and so on and so on…

Friday, July 14, 2006

Somewhere you pass through....KILLINI


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Leaving Kefalonia, bound for Zakinthos

In order to make the 8am Killini Ferry, the Spaniard (who joined me for a week’s break from London) and me had to transfer to Argostoli, taking the swish bus from Sami, where we had taken leave of the Scarlet Fury, our loyal elderly hire car, to the capital. Fancying a bit of “a night” we book into the Ionian Plaza: an all marble, pipe music and chrome affair of a hotel, at surprisingly reassuringly advantageous rates for the budgeting and impoverishing traveller like me. Large fully equipped hotel room, it could almost have been Paris but def not London or NY. “Ooh, look!”, the Spaniard cries, “a proper shower!” referring to the hook on the wall and its situation in the bath meaning that a. you didn’t have to do it yourself with the shower head and b. the whole bathroom did not look like the downside of the Mohne Dam after a Lancaster bomber had just flown over it.

For dinner we talk of food...discussing the options, suddenly it all comes pouring out of me, after three weeks of the healthiest eating, I just blurted “Steak! Stew! No salads, I want real food.” Argostoli has a host of eateries to cater for every need. We settle for an Italian restaurant, tables tastefully covered in yellow linen, a plastic rose to dress the table , salt out of the pepper pot, peppe rout of the salt – a sort of culinary continuation of driving the wrong side of the road I supposed.

A disproportionately large and well dressed black man wanders the tables in late night Café Argostoli selling the latest in cigarette lighting technology. I stop him to enquire where he is from.
“Nigeria”he barks over the din of the techno music.
“How many lighters do you expect to sell a night?”
“A few, been doing this for two years.”
“Make money?”
“Not enough!” and with that he steals into the Kefalonian night to force himself and his blue flashing lighters on some other unwitting and unreceptive victims.

8.00 am Ferry to Killini

If the Strintzis Lines schedule had dovetailed with its Ionian Ferries counterpart we would not have had to endure a three hour stop over in Killini. It was kind of frustrating.

Killini is a dump. It consists of a concrete harbour, some trees, a cigarette and sweet vending kiosk, a mini market, childrens playground, and a public lavatory (clean). Killini is somewhere you pass through – it is in no way a destination and sownewhere you want to get out of as soon as you arrive. Unless you are aged six or below or in need of the loo, there is nothing to do in Killini, nothing. Being neither under age nor having my legs crossed, Killini was proving to be rather dull.

The Spaniard, on return from yet another foray for food (his stomach rules every minute of his waking day), came back beaming with two packets of sunflower seeds in his Galician mit. Like a contented chipmunk, he started chewing them, busily and noisily. Attracted by this disturbance and recognising they represented an opportunity to further kill some time, I dug my hand into the little clear plastic bag and took out half a dozen or so of the enticing little black salted arrow shaped seeds. I shoved them in my mouth and started to chew. As shards of husk and splinters exploded inside me, the Spaniard burst into peels of laughter.
“You’re meant to take the seeds out of the pod, bonzo!” he triumphs at me jubilantly.
I spit the revolting lignant and malignant contents out of my mouth and explain that not being a recently released peasant from the shackles of Northern Spanish serfdom, how the hell should I have known this? “In my country”, I went on, “where we dispensed with the peasant and serf culture many centuries ago, sunflower seeds come ready to eat – even if you are a parrot!”

If you should be unfortunate enough to visit Killini, there may be sunflowers growing just to the right of the mini market.