Monday, 21 November 2005

The Living Room of the Mayor

Just like in the rest of Europe winter has arrived in Greece. In the north of the country a thick layer of snow fell and the thermometer descended pretty much under 0°C. On Lesvos the Lepetimnos is sprinkled white with snow. You guessed it: very unusual for the time of year.

Before the thermometer reached -2°C this Monday morning we had some days with rain, which was needed badly on the island. Everything was too dry. Although not everybody was happy with the rain. The olive harvest this year started quite early and it had just started a few days when the heavens opened and the rain came down. That meant that most people could stay home, olives are not harvested when it is raining.

So it was a good opportunity to go to the bars. Which are only a few to go to, in the winter in Molyvos. One of the best at the moment is the Bar from the Mayor: Paradosiako, also named the Kafenion or the Living Room of the Mayor.

Molyvos has a mayor who needs only a little bit of sleep. That's why he prefers to hang out in the bars until very late. You can say what you want about this, but early in the morning he gets up fresh to do his work. So we cannot say anything about him being a barfly.

Two years ago he used to spend his nights at the Brasserie, which was a nightmare for the owners because when the mayor arrived at one o'clock it meant for them that they could not close before three o'clock even though the mayor was their only customer. Since last year the mayor found a solution for this: he opened his own bar.

With that he handled two problems. In all other villages you fall over all the kafenions - you know, those locals brightly lit by fluorescent lamps. However, in Molyvos there were none although each village should have one. It is the hang out place for the elderly people who pay half price for a drink there.

So the mayor opened a kafenion and got a brand new living room. Paradosiako does not really look like a traditional Greek coffee house, even though it's name means traditional. Instead of white walls and bright lights there is cozy light and the walls are painted light orange and pale yellow. The whole place is furnished in a way that looks like a nice family room.

So each night you can find the mayor in Paradosiako, together with a lot of villagers who look like one big family. Thanks to the cultural artifacts on the wall, the brown wood and the large balcony you can imagine yourself in a Swiss chalet. Except that for the rest everything is really Greek.

I do not know how the Greeks design the interior of their bars, but it seems that they are not that smart in doing it. Like in the brand new restaurant of Babis, the sound installation is posed on a huge refrigerator. So when you want to put on the music you have to take a chair, put it against the refrigerator and climb on the chair in order to put on the music.

When you have demanding clients who every 5 minutes want other music, that means that every 5 minutes you have to take a chair, put it against the refrigerator, climb on the chair, change a CD, climb down and put back the chair. Seeing this happening at least ten times in a row it is like you are watching a slapstick movie.

The restaurant Sykamnia of Vangelis in Skala Sykaminia is not that new but it has it's ice and coffee machine placed somewhere at the other side of the street. This means that Vangelis or his brother are always seen running up and down the street with cups of coffee or bowls with ice.

Also the new Living Room of the mayor is not very smartly designed. The refrigerator with the cool drinks is placed against the wall opposite the bar. Before that refrigerator is a table. Because the Living Room of the mayor is not that big there are always people sitting at that table. In the winter it is even the game table for the card-players. Playing cards is the favourite winter occupation for the people here. So the guests at this table are not able to have a quiet game because every now and then they are summoned to get something out of the fridge. This means that when an exciting game is going on you are even afraid to ask for a new bottle of retsina!

But I must say, it is a way not to drink too much and besides that there is often good live music to distract you. And then the mayor dances, or his wife. So you see, the mayor of Molyvos day and night really takes care of his villagers...

Copyright © Smitaki 2005

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