>> Friday, March 11, 2016 – Blue Star Ferries, Carnival, Clean Monday, Symi cats, Symi weather in March.
|Friday morning and the crowds gathering at the clock tower, waiting for the Blue Star...|
|... which has just rounded Nimos island and is steaming across Nimborio bay.|
|A couple of hours later I noticed more activity from the Symi Visitor Accommodation office window, this time of a feline nature. For those of you who have not been to Symi before, that blue booth is the ticket office for some of the water taxis which operate from this part of the harbour in the summer.|
|That's my fish and I am not sharing, so there!|
|Keeping an eye open for an opportunity. The fishermen sort their catch into crates, tossing whatever is not suitable for sale to the harbour cats.|
|The painting and decorating season has now commenced. This line up of paint pots and thinner cans was on the steps opposite the carpenter's shop at the bottom of the Kali Strata.|
|It will be a while, though, before the municipality starts weeding the Kali Strata. The donkeys and sheep get first pickings and much of this lush vegetation disappears of its own accord when the summer drought begins in earnest.|
|A breezy day in Pedi and one can see for miles across the other side to Asia Minor.|
|Good fences make good neighbours.|
In theory the tourist season starts in April so it is time to get on with painting and decorating and sorting stock. Even if we don't really see any significant numbers of visitors actually staying on the island until June, we start to get day trippers coming over from Rhodes once the charter flights start at the end of March so it is worth the sponge-sellers and tourist shops getting ready for some day-time trade in a few weeks.
Monday is Clean Monday, the first day of Lent on the Orthodox calendar. It is equivalent to Shrove Tuesday but instead of pancakes, everyone eats various forms of seafood, taramasalata, pickles, spring salads, halva and a special sesame seed flat bread called lagana which is only available on Clean Monday and not at any other time of the year. It is a holiday but some shops and the bakers are open briefly in the morning so that everyone can buy the foods specific to the day and then, if the weather is nice, pack picnics and head for the hills to fly kites. At the moment the weather forecast for Monday is unsettled and it may well be the one day this month that we will get significant rain but that in itself will be cause for celebration as the island is desperately parched and we really do need it.
Have a good weekend.