Conspiracy, cost cutting or just clueless?


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At his summons, a steady trickle of people had been joining the effusive owner who lorded over the table directly in front of us.   “Marrrrriaaaaaa” he screamed for the umpteenth time as another body sat down.   As if she’d been waiting to serve only him, Maria appeared on the last syllable of her name and wound her way through the maze of tables towards the group.  “A drink for my friend” he demanded and she hurried off.    He spotted another buddy who was making for a table with two females and summoned him with a wave of his hand “Mario, come join us”.    “I’m sitting with these two beautiful girls” Mario indicated.   “Marrrriaaaaa, two ice creams for the beautiful girls” lord of the table shouted and Maria reappeared, looking decidedly harried.

We were in the port cafe, on the old dock, having just waved goodbye to our friend who‘d   departed on the Mytilini ferry to Athens.     I say ‘old’ because the new port on the outskirts of the town that had taken a good few years to build and a considerable amount of cash had closed about 3 months after opening due to subsidence.  It had been deemed unsafe.   Apparently, someone had used large quantities of sand for the foundations instead of cement  and who knows what other cost cutting strategies  were deployed,  the upshot being  that the pier sort of crumped.  Well that’s my understanding of the situation.   So for some of the villagers of Karvalossi , who had been hanging out for the day that they would no longer have trucks, trailers, taxis, cars and motorbikes thundering along the narrow port road through their residential  area, disappointment  was a given.  Except, maybe, for the owners of the old port cafe who stood to lose all their business once the new port opened!

I’ve heard many a story about shoddy workmanship since I’ve been on the island.  The floor that was built in the bathroom without a hole for the toilet, the roof on a neighbour’s house that wasn’t waterproofed properly, are two such examples.   The house in Paleo also has some problems thanks to the use of inferior materials and lack of foresight.   During our last stay the boiler in the house finally went kaput and had to be replaced.     The original cistern was secured into the corner of two walls  in the bathroom and a full length wall cupboard was built around it.  Clever, one would have thought, to hide an eyesore and create storage space at the same time.  Unfortunately, they built it with 2mm to spare and the old cistern could not be removed without demolishing the whole cupboard.  We now have two cisterns!! But despite these setbacks, that one tends to shrug off with a ‘that’s Greece’ kind of resigned acceptance, surely the monumentally massive fuck up of a newly built port at the expense of tax payers money demands some kind of government investigation.

As we pondered the delayed demise and turn of good fortune for old port cafe, its owners and, of course, Marrrriaaaa , I wondered out loud if luck had not played such a big part in the great scheme of things after all.   “What do you mean?” Mitch asked suspiciously.   “Well, what if the guilty party/parties were relatives of the cafe owners?” I questioned, playing agent provocateur , not expecting to be taken seriously.  He looked thoughtful.   Conspiracy theories – don’t you just  love them!

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6 thoughts on “Conspiracy, cost cutting or just clueless?

  1. Sounds like you have the beginning to a great who dunnit novel here! I can see it now…. the table lord ends up dead and different people having to do with the construction of the port, the cafe and maria are all some how involved enough in his life to become suspects, because… after all the table lord was the wealthy one with enough financial backing to be in charge of these projects but the greedy one who refused to pay to do it right. 😉

  2. Travelling through China and Central Asia I saw some very interesting plumbing and all baths and showers leaked. Everyone said ‘That’s …….(choose relevant country). Not sure I would be very good at putting up with it.

  3. I am really enjoying your insightful tales of the ‘real’ Greece. Shoddy workmanship should not have to be put up with though wherever you are – it’s the same in Africa, just a shrug of the shoulders and “well that’s Africa for you”
    Not acceptable!! Like the conspiracy theory too – maybe a cousin of a cousin of the café owner?
    Jude xx

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