Saturday, 10 November 2012

A quiet stop-over in Corfu's sin city

Down through the island, along a back road purporting to be something bigger, the smoke from bonfires wisps up into a crisp, blue sky as people clear the ground below the olive trees in preparation for the harvest.

A middle-aged woman with a strimmer waves to a older man with a small truck full of clippings. The nets are laid out. A smell of autumn is in the air, although the days are warm and, for us, hot enough to swim.

Lefkimmi, Corfu's second town, is dozing and, down by the river, the mullet swish along the murky water in front of closed-up tavernas.

An old widow in black, with a scarf on her head for protection from the sun, can barely walk when standing.  But, on her hands and knees with a hoe, she is making good progress on cleaning the soil.

Further down the road, young men, sitting in leather and raffia chairs, drink iced coffee in an incongruous cafe bar, looking out across an odd architectural mix. Work is for the old.

A police 4 x 4 cruises up and down up the streets and over the bridge and back again, looking for Lefkimmi Vice. There is none, now the young Brits have deserted Kavos, that fleshpot fake, that sin city strip a few kilometers away.

He fails to spot three boys on scooters on the trail of a female on two wheels.

The closest the policeman gets to vice is when he almost runs over three amorous dogs after a bitch on heat.

The human equivalent at Kavos is a thing of the past this autumn. Today this godforsaken place is like a deserted outpost in the Wild West, flanked by nightclubs and bars called Buzz, Madison and Future, Rolling Stone, a shop called Bulldog Tattoos and the omnipresent McDonald's.

Where on hot summer nights teenage boys celebrate their GCSE results by synchronised mooning while the girls get their breasts out, now there is nothing, not even a tumbleweed trainer or a fleeing flip-flop to suggest they were ever here.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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