Tuesday, 14 February 2006

The Molyvos Way

As soon as the tourists turn their backs on Molyvos at the end of the season, the roads are dug up. New wires have to be put in, the drain pipes renewed and God knows what else, maybe they will straighten out the street.

If there had been a secret camera, you could have enjoyed the soap. This winter it was the turn of the Harbour Street. In the morning at some points they open up the street with rusty bulldozers, stones and sand carefully laid out on the street and wires and pipes could see the blue sky. First they started with the telephone cables. The electronic world is evolving and also Molyvos has to get ADSL. At the end of the day the gullies are closed again because the harbour must stay open and lorries with fish have to be able to go and come to and from Mytilini. The next day they will reopen the gullies to close them again at night. Etcetera.

When the pavement has regained its old shabby look, you think, so, that is done. But no, after they did the telephone cables, the drain pipes need to be looked at. So the gullies are re-opened, deep holes are dug out to be closed at night and this ritual will endlessly repeat itself. Then we are nearly through the winter when the sewing is done and you think everything is over. But no, we also have an electricity company which needs to put in some new lines as well. And so during the whole winter the street is like a way for an obstacle race and a major subject for sour looking people.

You know the Greeks. They do everything to push through with their bikes or cars. Well, this winter even in Molyvos they did not manage to get through. Especially the narrow part of the street where is the Internet café and the Brasserie where the street takes a steep turn to the harbour, this part was no way for all motorized traffic. Mostly there was a deep hole where wires and pipes laughed at you. It is a real wonder that nobody got hurt falling from the high step of the Internet café into that dangerous hole.

Also a pedestrian had to work out some Olympic moves in order to reach the harbour. When you wanted to buy an airplane ticket at Com.Travel, at the least you had to creep through the sewer. And this was not the only concern for this company. People doing the sewer only respected their pipes and seeing a wire, what the heck, oops, small accident, sorry, the line is broken. This left computers cut off for days from the world and their owners left desperate. You understand that after a week it was the turn of the telephone company to reopen the gullies in order to repair their lines.

I do not know who is doing what at the moment, but it seems that an enormous amount of pipes and wires are getting repaired. The cold winter - January was the coldest for 100 years - did not do much good either. But if finally the new season is in view everybody is heated up: will the street definitely be finished before the first charter plane hits the island? Pessimists say that it will not be before August, the time that the Greek tourists arrive.

These meticulous side-by-side planned works are notorious for Molyvos. But there is hope. I just heard from a planner what I do hope will be worked out in time. You'd better dive underneath a bulldozer and climb over a pipe instead of going all the way up through Molyvos in order to reach the harbour. Also you do not want to go through Argenos, Sykaminia, Clio, Kapi, Pelopi, Ypsilometopo, Stipsi in order to reach Petra.

A lot of walkers last summer were irritated by the works on the idyllic sandy road that starts halfway up the Vafios - Molyvos road and ends in Petra. They started to make the road larger and ready for asphalt and many people got angry about this silly asphalt hype. Now it seems that the Molyvos - Petra road is falling down together with the mountain, just above Petra harbour where last year big rocks rolled down and blocked the road. You cannot stop a mountain from falling, so there is nothing to do. They give the road along the coast another 10 years and then there has to be an alternative that buses and lorries can rumble over. That will be that nice walking road from Molyvos to Petra.

So before you call names again at the innocent workers or at the mayor, you must know that they do what they can on the island. But it is the system or the laws that make that everything is not worked out that easily. It's the same system that does not enable the government of the island to require in which municipality the new power station has to be built, or the new central installation for the refuse dump. This discussion between the government and the municipalities has gone on for years already and will probably go on for another few years, even though power cuts are again daily business, as well as once in a while we are being smoked out and poisoned by the smoke and stink of the local garbage dump. Well, nothing is perfect in paradise...

Copyright © Smitaki 2006

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