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April 01, 2006

Saturday night out

HaniaharbourAround 5pm I ventured out to the harbour looking to see if any of the bars were showing the afternoon's Premiership football, without success. After a fruitless half hour search I plonked myself down inside Santé, to sit and have a quiet beer, with only my phone to provide me the football scores.

Luckily though just after 6 a Greek guy came into the bar, made a huge kerfluffle, and got the TV changed from "Fashion TV" to Bolton vs Manchester United. (You can insert your own punch-line about overpaid vacant minded prima donnas at this point if you like). It is good to know there is a least one place I can go to watch the football.

Claire came and joined me at around 7, and we had a good chat about the problems we have been facing so far in trying to get ourselves settled. I went up to the counter to pay and got asked the oddest question - "Three Amstels is nine Euro". Pause. "Do you want to pay for yourself, or do you want to pay for the lady too?", as if 'the lady' had just plonked herself down at my table uninvited. To Claire's relief I graciously settled the whole bill ;-)

There is a Mexican restaurant on the far side of the harbour called Hippopotamus, which we will have to visit one day, but we weren't really in the mood for Mexican. Instead we went to Monasteri on the sea front. It is recommended in the Lonely Planet guide as getting "the general thumbs up from discerning local and international diners". We weren't overly impressed to be honest.

I also committed an ordering faux pas. In Venice we had sneered at a couple of sets of British tourists who had started their meals with plates of French Fries, so imagine my horror when the 'local' dish I thought I had ordered, Fried Potato with Cheeses, arrived - a plate of chips with some grated cheese sprinkled on top!

Although the food wasn't exceptional, the location was great, and it was a perfect place for one of our favourite hobbies - people watching. Even in the six days we have been here Hania has been visibly getting busier and busier each day, and on Saturday night it was practically buzzing with tourists and young locals out for a stroll, a drink and an eat. It really must get very hectic in the high season.

Our people watching concentrated on events in the restaurant, as a bizarre scene unfolded on the tables out in the street. A couple of children begging with a squeezebox were invited to have the complimentary ice cream and caramelised pear dessert that a Greek couple didn't want. The man then bought the two children dinner.

I think there is something quite sad about it, but we couldn't help be a little bit cynical, and I found the scene of this drunken old man buying an eight or nine year old girl dinner, whilst his wife sat next to him in silence with a face like thunder quite disturbing. When the kids had finished the couple threw the left-over meat on the floor for the stray dog lurking around. I'm sure the waiters were thinking great, now we've got the local waifs and strays hanging around trying to get food, and the stray dogs as well!

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