>> Friday, May 1, 2015 – cruise ships, dance lessons, Greek strikes, Koukoumas, May Day holiday, May flowers, Symi traditional dancing, Symi traditional life., Symi water supply
|The view from the office balcony just after 8 this morning - the Blue Star Diagoras gliding into Symi. She was not affected by today's strike as she left Piraeus before the strike began and will only return tomorrow, after the strike is over.|
|Touching up the paintwork in the back streets of Yialos.|
|The elegant entrance to the churchyard of St John's at the back of Yialos. There is a junior school, the Petrideon, at the back of the church and that is where the little girls are heading.|
|Cleaning awnings, Symi-style. The blue steps in the corner mark the start of the Kali Strata, the famous steps connecting Yialos with Chorio, the old upper town.|
|The cyclamens are long gone but the pink bindweed is taking over, tumbling out of rock faces and up fences in an early morning show of cheerful pink. The flowers burn off in the heat of the day and a new flush opens each morning.|
|Making the most of the last of the daisies on the Kali Strata.|
|The poppies are feeling the heat and it is only a leaky pipe that is keeping this clump going.|
|Growing in a gutter in Lieni, watered by the outflow of the washing machine from the house above. It is amazing what can survive on a diet of grey water when the rain is over.|
|The gypsy hawkers do the rounds of the islands, selling their wares. This wonderful display of garden plants arrived on Wednesday and will no doubt leave on the Blue Star tonight.|
This evening there is the annual Koukoumas celebration. This is a traditional event that takes place at Agios Thannasis church in Chorio every year in early May and is organised by the Symi Women's Association. The local girls perform a ritual dance in traditional costume that is supposed to enable them to foresee their future husbands. It is a joyful event with a lot of dancing and music and goes on for about an hour. The music can usually be heard all round Chorio and the Pedi valley so if you are on the island and unsure of the way, just follow the music!
Tomorrow evening there is more dancing in the form of the annual concert of the Rhiannon Wheeler Dance School at the Opera House Hotel conference centre in Yialos. Rhiannon teaches local children (and enthusiastic adults) everything from ballet and tap to jazz through the winter months and then they have a concert before the season starts to show off what they have learned. Once the tourist season starts everyone is too busy for personal stuff and dance classes become something to look forward to again in the autumn.
The first cruise ship of the season came through for a few hours on Wednesday evening. As it was of modest size it was able to come alongside at the clock tower. When bigger ones, the sort that dock in Rhodes, come to Symi they have to lie to anchor off Nimborio and bring guests ashore in small boats. It is rare for cruise ships to spend the night on Symi. They just stop off for 2-3 hours so that passengers can have a stroll around the waterfront and investigate Symi's many small shops and boutiques. Sometimes people who have seen Symi from a cruise ship come back for a longer stay so it is a good way of promoting the island.
Have a good weekend.