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Who toots who?

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This afternoon there was a fine gathering of members of the Aegean ferry fleet outside Skopelos. As the boats converged the observing crowd wondered who will toot who. As we know some ferries don’t toot and would not be tooted if they did. Others toot only those of their own company. Since we don’t have a video of today’s meeting we shall give you a play by play.

Express Pegasus (XP) enters the harbor and toots a goddam sailboat to get out of the way.
Right behind the XP is a lonely Flying Dolphin which utters nothing. Turns around and leaves silently.
As the XP leaves the harbor, the waiting Flying Cat gives it a nice, sharp toot which is answered soundly with a throaty “bip” by the XP.
The wise guy first mate aboard the sidelined Proteus showed them a what a good ship’s horn sounds like (E♭or D♯) with a blast like no other.
Editorial comment, we miss the sound of steam whistles. We think that they would fit right in.

From above

Agios Joannis tou Kastri (click on photo to enlarge it)

agios jannis

Photo by: Ilias Papaioannou

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This has been going on for a very long time. Polos goes out to fish and returns. His wife Dimitra is there to meet him and to lend a hand. From 9 pm last night at (where else?) Agnondas.

Beware

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The Creature from the Azure Lagoon is back haunting the waters of our island. Most likely a nereida, or sea nymph, the phantom was seen bewitching mortals at the water’s edge near Agnontas in the area of Agnanti. If you see a nereida and you wish to possess her, you must grab her kerchief (mandili) and keep it from her forever. Unfortunately, this nereida was dressed in a rubber suit without a kerchief. Would grabbing her snorkel work?

Our apologies to the late great Bernard ‘Hep’ Kliban – you may know him as the guy who did the wobbly cat cartoons – for stealing his droll notion of ‘Nephew Art‘, the naff logo or artwork you’d get a nephew with artistic pretensions to do if you were too cheap to actually hire an artist to decorate your plumber’s van or burger outlet.

Suspicions that someone’s nephew got Photoshop or a similar programme last Christmas assailed us when the chucklesome folks at the Hellenic Seaplanes press office sent us this link to a YouTube video promoting the company’s so far spectral network of seaplane routes across one hundred and twelve equally spectral Greek island and mainland ‘idatodromia’, or seaplane landing sites.

We’d love to believe Hellenic Seaplanes, but their fancy CGI promo doesn’t actually reflect reality (the online booking system it gives prices for is still ‘under construction’ at its website, and other customer services – such as those ticketing and inflight food options – are not available in the non-CGI world). Our old mucker Jean Baudrillard would find this immensely amusing, the hapless traveller hoping to get from A to B in the real world perhaps less so.

Odder still, Hellenic Seaplanes’ perhaps also Photoshopped press office doesn’t respond to enquiries from actual unPhotoshopped humans.

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The 2nd traditional dance festival, Diamantis Paliologos, is going to be held in Skopelos this year at the amphitheater of the local elementary school on the ring road just before hotel Aperiton. The dates are 23, 24 and 25 of August.
The dream of the organizers and volunteers is to bring together dancers and dance groups from all over the world and show them that Skopelos can be the centre of folk culture and tradition. Many dance groups will participate. We will keep you up to date with the program. The organization of the dance festival consists of mainly volunteers. At the moment there are more than 20. All dancers that are participating will not only perform but will also be able to visit places of interest on Skopelos and meet with local residents and artists.

(photo’s Vangelis Maroulis)

For more information look at:

http://www.dancefestival.gr

http://www.facebook.com/groups/danceskopelosfestival

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The stupid and sad story of “Little Maria” continues.

As you may remember, in October 2013 a police officer in Farsala spotted a blonde child at a Roma encampment. Expecting that the child was evidence of the old myth that the Roma steal children, he called his superiors who decided that the child must have been stolen. Ironically committing their own “child heist”, the cops or the state took the child away from her family and turned the frightened “Little Maria” over to an agency (again ironically) called, “The Smile of the Child”. The director of the agency immediately made some racist statements asserting that the girl was stolen and criticized the Roma and their way of life. His agency would look after the child.

The parent/caretakers of the child and her siblings were immediately arrested and sent to jail where the two remain 10 months later.

Within a few days it turned out that Maria was not the biological child of the Roma pair in jail, but the child of a Bulgarian Rom. The Bulgarian woman already had many children so that, when Maria was born, she desperately asked through the Roma network for a Roma family to “adopt” and bring up Maria. The Farsala couple took in Maria and raised as their own, along with their other children, for four years. This was the only family that Maria knew or had.

Now her parents are in jail and Maria is in an institution which has been given legal custody of her. Legal custody means that “The Smile of the Child” could offer Maria for adoption by another family – which is expensive in Greece with fees going to the agency.

Now, back to the family that the state destroyed. Who is raising the rest of the children left without two parents and a sister? Most likely the Roma community has stepped in to help with the children. The Roma community are used to, and need to, take care of each other.

So in short what has happened? A blonde haired child was born to a destitute woman (who has other light haired offspring). The biological mother seeks help from the Roma community. A couple with other children steps up and offers to raise the child and do so for four years. Because the child is blonde she is spotted by the Greek police and taken from the family based upon an old racist myth and institutionalized while the parent/caretakers are sent to jail. The institution is given legal guardianship of the child, to do with her whatever they want, either keep her institutionalized or sell her to new adoptive parents from outside the Roma community.

Would such a series of events occurred if Maria was born with dark hair?

Some links to newspaper articles.
and here
and here
and here

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