greekfamilyminimarket

My summer working in the family business on Corfu

It ain’t Las Vegas

on July 27, 2012

“What happens in Pelekas, never stays in Pelekas”.

Unlike Vegas, Pelekas, (Corfu, Greece, The world), is not a town where indiscretions, or misdemeanours, or a fart in the wind, go unnoticed and not discussed, even internationally, and now with the advent of the internet, within moments. There are of course things that ‘happened’ that did not actually happen, but village whispers designate them fact, whether based on some minor truth or not. This is of course most village life anywhere, but Pelekas has the unique brand of such a worldwide community over the years, that gossip takes a completely new turn.

I was once working in a bar in the village and I could not leave even for a moment. (My reverence for bar work is tantamount). I wanted to call a friend sitting in the next bar to ask him to come visit me. I didn’t have his number. I did however, have the number of a mutual friend in Holland. I texted her. She texted him. He came to see me. He had only been twenty metres away.

I’ve heard stories of people who had apparently worked as prostitutes, run brothels, dealt drugs, killed people, and it turned out only to be half the truth. I mean, get the facts straight. Don’t do people an injustice.

Or it turned out none of it was true at all. (I only ever got paid a handful of times, nothing more, and the baby I threw off the bench bar wall was not my own…).

At the same time, many people who come to visit are shocked by the lack of real communication between many locals.
No one ever seems to know between them what is going on with the bus service,
TWO LOCALS ADVISING A TOURIST ABOUT THE BUS INTO TOWN –
1 – “Four O’clock…”
2 – (disagreeing) “No, four thirty…”
1 – “Yes, but not here, down at the corner”
2- “No, it comes up to the square now”
1 – “No, because of the traffic”
2 – “I think they changed the time”
1 and 2 (to tourist) – “We’re not sure. Tomorrow maybe we know.”

I have never learned to drive, hence my fascination with the bus service. It’s a problem, and a really big one for me here in Corfu. It’s hard to get around, and with a little boy, I must have often seemed like a bag lady, trapsing up and down windy roads with shopping, buggy and so on in forty degree heat. I’m not the only one, of course. Slowly but surely I am reminding myself of Paraskevi, the rubbish lady in Pelekas, who trapses up and down windy roads with shopping, rubbish cart and so on in forty degree heat.

The simple reason I don’t drive is ultimately that I am petrified to learn, and if you saw the state of the roads here, you might at least understand part of that problem. It’s terrifying here.

I once read an article in some British rag (Daily Mail actually, don’t ask why such a shitty paper, I only read it because it has a good simple puzzle section and I quite like to feel angry at something). The article was about a group of villagers complaining about the state of their roads. It was accompanied by photos of their potholed roads. They resembled some of the finer avenues in Corfu. They even had footpaths. Whingers.

On the mini market front, this time I can offer you this –
Magda, the cook, has quit, in a spectacular display of extremely pressed and stretched reasonability, during the middle of lunch time service. As the Daily Mail might say, “IT WAS ABOUT TIME SOMEONE DID SOMETHING”. If you have read my blogs from earlier, you may remember I predicted this. I gave her a month. She lasted a month and a half. I’d seen her type before working with my ‘Big Fat Pelekas Family’ in the restaurant. She was too bright, too good, too sharp. She had simply had enough of my in laws, while working brilliantly with everyone else. A champion of the people, well done Magda. Brave move, as we are all strapped for cash and in desperate times.

We were very busy today in the mini market. We no longer have the Germans. It’s all about the Italians (updates on this later).

My mother in law Maria, with no cook in the kitchen, (don’t feel too sorry for her, I feel in part she brought it on herself), was on HIGH SPEED OCTANE, hysterically smiling and keeping up her 30 year quotes (”So pretty, this is your colour”), while trying to cope, as she came into the mini market to pay someone for an order…

It went like this…
MARIA – (HIGH SPEED, VERY STRESSED BUT SMILING RIDICULOUSLY) – “HOWMUCHDOIGIVEYOU?”
Man – (Much more relaxed, wanting to be exact) –
“ Fifty… five… euros…”
MARIA – (ALMOST MANIACAL) –
“TENTWENTYTHIRTYNICESHIRTPRETTYCOLOURFORTYFIFTYFIFTYFIVE”…..

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One response to “It ain’t Las Vegas

  1. Diane says:

    Brilliant as usual! Thanks.

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