Wednesday, 8 July 2015

When all else fails, dance!!

Taverna Mimakos has a wonderful sea view, which disappears into the darkness as the evening draws on and the sun sets
Y'know, the internet is awash with stuff from people like me, those who live on a Greek island and are aggrieved by all the misinformation that's been going out about the situation here during the financial crisis. And I don't suppose we'll be stopping any time soon, not until at least we get the idea that people understand that all the essential ingredients for the perfect Greek holiday are still as they ever were on most, if not all, of the islands. My "Bay to Bay" excursion for tomorrow is over-subscribed, ...again. I have two coaches converging on St. Paul's Bay in Lindos tomorrow morning for another brilliant swim-cruise along the coast on board the Mandelena.

Plus, the Greek night at Taverna Mimakos that I'm doing every Tuesday evening this season is a rip-roaring success. I keep hearing that tourists aren't coming, and I'm sure there must be some truth in that, yet I continue to experience nights like the one you can get the feel for on this Facebook page. Take the time especially to watch the three videos posted on that page by Boros György László, which give you an idea of the atmosphere that prevails during the evening. It's anything but subdued.

As you can see from my everso-slightly not-so-good photos, you could be forgiven for not thinking there was a crisis going on at all. See, the thing is, whilst it's very true that many poorer Greeks are definitely suffering under the current situation, by and large they're determined that life should go on as normally as possible - and it does.

When you arrive at around 7.30pm at Taverna Mimakos for the Greek Night, you're greeted by "Mimakos" himself, Dimitri, a stocky 50-something Greek who's sole mission is to make sure that every one of his several hundred or so guests on any given night has a flaming good knees-up. He welcomes us all every week and immediately sorts the nationalities of the guests according to tables, so that Russians can meet others from their country, Poles from theirs, and so on through the French, the Italians, the British, the Scandinavians and a few others besides.

Once the show gets under way it's pretty relentless. While the guests are fed and watered with an abundance of Greek cuisine and free-flowing white and red wine, the six dancers of the "Rhodean Dance Group" not only go through a series of dances from various islands, but they also clap their hands sore getting the audience to join them both in the clapping as well as on the floor itself. In the second part of the show the lights are dimmed as Mimakos himself dances the Zembehiko, which they announce as the fire dance for obvious reasons. You will have seen why too from one of those videos on the Facebook page linked above.

The band is, as is often the case nowadays, only two men. One plays the keyboard, which produces an array of sounds including a very convincing set of drums! The other the Bouzouki and a pretty good Bouzouki player he is too.

By the time the show comes to its climax at something approaching 11.00pm, the audience has melded into one multi-national family and Mimakos, whilst the finale is taking place and the individual dancers and musicians take their bows to rapturous applause (or, as the keyboard player pronounces it - Applaouse) vigorously waves a huge Greek flag left and right on a long pole until the lights finally come up and it's time to shepherd our charges back to their coaches.

The staff have all charged back and forth servicing the tables for several hours, a fact made evident by the patches of sweat on their blue shirts, the several hundred revellers have experienced a great display of the Greek spirit on a surprizingly low budget, and yet more visitors to this great country have seen how the Greeks enjoy themselves and revel in their country's rich cultural heritage.

On the coach going back to the hotels the guests are raucous, but well behaved, given that they've all had copious quantities of wine and other alcoholic beverages, and they invariably descend the coach at their respective hotels and studios with a wave of bonhommie which is well illustrated by the fact that last week, given that of my 11 or so Russian guests staying at the Miraluna in Kiotari, none of them spoke any English, one man descended the bus after his wife and grasped me in a huge bear hug. Exhaling 100% proof breath all over me, he gabbled on in Russian with a huge grin across his face, and so I gabbled back in English and we both laughed, each of us thumping the other's chest as if to say, "it's what's in there that really matters."

And we'd be right.


  1. Trevor Mcilveen12 July 2015 at 20:33

    We have been to this taverna 3 times over a number of years.Never really been impressed by the food.The last time we went it turned into an almost 3 hour visit.Because they were more interested in serving wedding guests.

    1. Trev, Trev, Trev, why are you always such a sourpuss? The food's not the main thing, it's the overall experience of the Greek night and everyone - but everyone - gives it the thumbs up. We all have different experiences, but it's fairly obvious to me that it's a "function" taverna. It's not the kind of taverna to go for an intimate meal for two. It doesn't pretend to be. The Greek night is for the tourists and there's nowt wrong wi' that. That's why they do weddings there too of course. You do mystify me y'know, since you so often seem to be "down" on so many things. Cheer up!

    2. When I was a young and rather unhappy child I was once told off by a friend of my parents because I contradicted everything anyone else said. Thankfully I grew out of it.
      I liked this post, especially picturing the Russian who bear-hugged you. It summed up what you were saying!


    3. Oh, and Trevor, 3 hours in a taverna seems about right to me. I hate it when they rush you so they can get more bums on seats! To live here and be in a hurry doesn't quite compute. Only joshing of course, it can be a bit irritating waiting for too long I agree.

  2. John, there's certainly no sign of tourists missing around the island yet. Lets hope the politicians can sort things out soon and it stays that way.

  3. if you are at a party in Greece mostly you'll dance Zorba dance from the movie "Zorba Greeg" probably the most popular dance from Greece abroad :]
    : ))

    1. Nice link! Mind you, every island has its own version of the Sirtaki, which is the real name for that dance of course. I can dance it with my wife, but our steps differ from the locals here in Rhodes because my wife (who taught me) learnt it in Athens.