Rebetiko > Hydra Conferences > 2008 > Sunday
Old panorama of Hydra, thanks to the Ippokampos Hotel for this!


This was another day when extra sleep outvoted breakfast. I got to the Melina Mercouri Hall with my bottle of water in plenty of time, and was pleased to find I didn't have a hangover.

Our first speaker of the day was Yona Stamatis, a Graduate Student of Ethnomusicology at the University of Michigan, who gave a fascinating account of her year of postgraduate research in Athens, which she called "Rebetiki Istoria: An Ethnography of Contemporary Rebetika Performance in Athens". I somehow forgot to take any notes, or even a photograph. Sorry.

Yona turned out to be the only speaker. Ed's closing remarks and a discussion of ideas for the future of the conference were all that remained. I made the point that the acoustic music on Saturday had been much nicer than the heavy amplification of previous years, which had resulted in my bringing earplugs to wear for protection this year. And that was it.

I wandered back to the harbour caf├ęs, and sat and talked to Dave Murray and Debbie for a while, before wandering back to my hotel for a shower. I did some packing, and shopped for souvenirs, ouzo and the like. I wanted to take some oregano back, but the supermakets only had 100 gram packs and 1 Kilogram ones. The 100 grams didn't seem worth the bother, and a Kilogram wouldn't have fitted in my case. I had a moan about this to the Ippokampos Hotel's owner. He wanted to rush off and get me some oregano from the kitchen, but I assured him it was not important.

I more or less finished packing, and went out to get some dinner. There were two plans I had heard about, meals at Christina's Taverna and at the Secret Port. It was raining, and I wasn't sure if the Secret Port had any indoor seats, so I went to Christina's.

It was dreadful. The local garbage truck driver was beating a guitar to death. I sat down with some friends, and spent half an hour trying to get a waiter to come near me, eventually having to resort to standing up, waving to make eye contact and then beckoning. It turned out the people I had sat with had told him they didn't want anything more until they were ready to order, and he assumed that applied to anyone who joined them. They didn't have the lamb chops that I wanted. On all three of my previous visits, they had always run out of whatever I wanted on those occasions, too. So I ordered a Mythos beer and a chicken souvlaki. They brought me an Alpha beer, which is fine, it's very similar, I can cope with a different beer. Then, after about 30 minutes, they brought me a pork souvlaki. Sure, it was very nice pork. The chips with it were the saddest pieces of wet oily potato I ever saw. I ate the pork, went to the till, forced them to take my money, and left. Under no circumstances (short of offers of seriously huge amounts of money) will I go to Christina's ever again.

The whole sorry fiasco put me in such a foul mood that I couldn't face meeting anyone, so I stayed sober, went back through the rain to the hotel, and got an early night.


Old panorama of Hydra, thanks to the Ippokampos Hotel for this!