Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING


 

LIVING                                                                               February 2014

REALITY CHECK

Forty nine…the number of buildings for rent or sale that I counted along the left side of the road down towards Vari, a cemetery of concrete skeletons, once pulsing, thriving businesses.

I got off the bus at Odos El Venizelou and located Hotel Argo Anita, a clean hotel with eccentric coloured rooms but good value for money, an adequate base to rest in if I have missed the last boat. A wet night, Anita’s lights welcomed me into the marble foyer. I was allocated the bubblegum pink room and there I sat, warm and safe in a bright pink womb, waiting for the arrival of my delightful daughter who was to later meet friends in Plaka.

Her arrival, a whirlwind of teenage anticipation and excitement, a big hug. She smelt of Estee Lauder youth Dew, her first grown up perfume that we had bought her for Christmas.

Taka -Taka, our favourite souvlaki joint was shut…very disappointing so we went to another, also disappointing as they were mean with the salad and I so love that combination of hot and cold, soft and crispy.

On our return to the hotel, we reached a shop that I had passed almost every day for 6 years, a family business that sold students’ paraphernalia; books, back –packs, writing materials and all sorts of things for craft work. My mother once bought Easter egg dyes and I had bought a lovely wooden pen for a friend’s birthday. That night, the windows stared back at us, big inky black empty orbits, no eyes, no soul, another victim murdered by the crisis. In the window, an A4 sheet of paper apologized to the reader. My daughter translated the message..

‘With great sadness, our family business of 40 years has had to close. We would like to thank everyone for their love and support but unfortunately, due to the crisis and its imposed taxes, plus other things, with a heavy heart, we have to close. God bless you all.’

We stood there silently and I glimpsed our reflections, two consumers, too weak to save a shop, too weak to save a country!

I walked her to the station, my gorgeous, big-hearted, intelligent daughter. She wore my black raincoat for dryness and decency; my idea, not hers!

 ………………………………………………………………………………

And here I am again, on my way back to Aegina, this time alone but Mr. L and our daughter are waiting for me. This time though, the sun is shining, a lovely astringent coolness but a firm, and bright sun in a cobalt blue sky.

I passed an area of wasteland on my way down to the boat, an urban stretch of land between two buildings, like a stretch of redundant membrane among a mouth of neglected teeth. A gate, I could have gone in had I had time. The land smiled at me and winked; I smiled back in approval as I registered the new wooden benches placed around the groomed grass, the flower bulbs and saplings, all promising to become something lovely.

My smile upgraded to a grin when I spotted my beloved Agios Nektarios waiting patiently as always and so here I sit, on my favourite seat with the broken springs that is tailored to accommodate what is me. Children are happily running up and down the boat, families chatting, happy to be visiting Aegina.

The staff is happy to see me, welcome me back and ask about England. Dimitri remembers how I like my coffee and is proud to instruct his assistant on exactly how to make it; no sugar, double dose of coffee, cinnamon on top, not chocolate. It is present from them.

Haris Alexiou and Dimitra Galani are singing into my headphones and as I glance up from my i-pad, I am blinded by the sun that has turned the sea silver. I am home.


 

Alison Lorentzos                                                             copyright 2013

 

 

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