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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

ROH 3: somewhere hot, with a pool

By the time yrs trly reaches somewhere-hot-with-a-pool, it is too late: too late that is for the expectation that a portion of life would be spent not considering the emotional, psychological and physical needs of cats (which can be summed up as "feed me but dont expect gratitude"). The cats have taken over the balcony and the timetable. Now this may sound as if I am complaining for comic affect about RHB's disposition (which some would describe as 'obsessed') towards cats. And this claim is true, I am complaining toward such a comic effect. But I - like so many of us - am nothing if not hypocritical. i rapidly become obsessed with the cats and their welfare. On the second day, I enquire of RHB:

"Have you named them yet?"

She confirms that she has not. I regard this as an omission, tantamount to crueltly, so the cats are quickly named,  based on personality and probable future life experience. In the picture above, the mummy cat is called Hera and from left to right are Luna, Hercules, Loki and Persephone. A large male lurks around picking up scraps but is very shy and never gets close enough for me to photograph. We assume he is the father and name him Zeus.

The rest of the ROH3/vacation starts according  to plan. All of us present (self, RHB and Skarra) have had what soccer writers describe as a 'torrid' time since winter. The plan for this trip is to do absolutely nothing, to try to achieve a state of utter boredom. So the first few days are:  rise late-ish, eat leisurely breakfast, feed cats,  read book, swim in pool, eat lunch, feed cats, sleep, read, swim in pool, feed cats, go for dinner and drinks, feed cats. It is surprising how quickly a state of utter boredom is achieved using this technique and RHB and Skarra have been at it for days. If you consider that I arrive on what English people call 'the Monday', by 'the Wednesday', adventure is sought.

During  our trips to the small centre  where all the identical, built-for tourist bars and restaurants are located, we notice a number of people riding quad bikes. It is decided that temporary possession of such bikes would gain us access to the unexplored mountainous interior of 'somewhere hot with a pool' , and to the far coast (SHWAP is a small island). So we rent a couple of quad bikes for the duration of our stay and have some great adventures, buzzing round the island.

 Such activity is, of course, environmentally despicable and dangerous. Both dimensions give a small buzz - it feels naughty to be driving and it feels naughtier to be driving roads which the occasional massive lorry sweeps along. But we get to see some great things including a couple of ancient tombs that are unvisited by the mass of tourists  and which overlook a spectacular valley. Skarra and I spend half hour excitedly discussing the location and building a picture of the lives of the people who would have built the tombs 3500 years ago.

RHB is less enthused by our archaeolgical enthusiasm but assigns herself to scorpion and snake spotting duty while we blunder through the unbdergrowth
 We also explore some stunning bays and swim in (cliche alert) crystal clear waters

 It is an idyllic time and  utterly at odds with the experiences of the locals, who thanks to brutal neo-liberal policies of austerity are experiencing massive rates of unemployment, huge rises in the prices of staples and face a bleak future. These conditions, they have been told, have been imposed because they are lazy, have overpaid themselves in the past and because their Government has, egged on by them, added huge debt to the economy that they can never repay. It is via a discussion about this one evening at the poolside bar, that  we,   having fed the cats,  meet The Racists. But that discussion - and all that  arose from it - are for another post. For now, I will just end by saying that the conversation occurred at one am while we were being served by a local who had been working since before dawn that day and who didnt appear - at least to us - to be lazy or overpaid.

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