Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ithaka for Sale?

I received an ominous email from a friend: Did you hear? An Emir bought Ithaka for 8.5 million Euros?

Shudder. Gasp. 

Oh no he didn't.

Not my Ithaka.

Not the Ithaka where horses have shared the roads with cars

Not the Ithaka covered in Athena's mists

Not the Ithaka I've been returning to, like Odysseus, 

for over twenty years.

After desperately searching several news stories, I learned my friend was partly right - a Qatari Emir just purchased 6 islets in the Ionian Sea near, but not including, my beloved island. 

My first thought was obviously - Greece is so bankrupt that it's selling off islands? What is the world coming to?

Not so fast. The islets were already privately held and the owner was trying to sell them for the past 40 years. The Emir plans to construct - not resorts and hotels for the public - but enormous palaces as a vacation getaway to house his three wives and 24 children, staff of hundreds, assorted yachts, motorboats, jetskis.....

So even though neighboring islets will be soon turned into personal pleasure palaces for an oil-rich sheikh, I am relieved that I, and everyone else who wishes to travel there, will be able to return to this legendary landscape.

But just a final word to the Emir: keep your petrodollars in your pocket. When it comes to Ithaka... 

we all know what happened with Odysseus and those suitors.

17 comments:

  1. enourmous palaces, 3 wives and 24 children...

    i don't even know what to say...

    xo
    erin

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  2. On one hand it seems rather criminal to have that sort of money, but then who's to say what any of us might do if given half a chance. So, if one can afford palaces, what better place to build one.

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  3. I cannot even fathom having that kind of money. The thought is completely overwhelming.

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  4. Dear Amanda, I am glad that your treasured island is still available to you for visits and i hope for you to return there many times in the future.
    Amazing that some people are so wealthy that they can buy islands, but then again, this is not a privilege exclusively reserved for the sheiks. I heard on the news that Jay-Z bought Beyonce an island for $20 million, for her 29th birthday.
    Crazy is what comes to mind, when you think about how some people barely can afford to feed their kids while others waste money this way. The world is a very unfair place.
    Have a great weekend dear friend,
    xoxo

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  5. oh my - can you imagine buying something that huge and grand? I would love to buy stuff like that with my mythical billion-gazillion dollars and then just leave them alone - protected from greedy hands.
    but I'm glad your island is safe.

    (really - 3 wives and 24 children?!!)

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  6. Just the thought of one person owning an entire island makes me sick. But then, we forgot history and how the wealthy married to retain wealth or expand it, and all their "charity" was so services wouldn't be disrupted...
    I still remember when after WWII Italy went through a major reform whereby land was subdivided and parceled out to feed the poor who could then own something and scratch a living. Money made by the previous owners was invested in the stock market, in factories, etc. and made more money for them than any piece of land would ever produce. My point is that the rich will always be rich. And the rest of us can just hope to vacation for a couple of weeks and pretend we could be rich one day. (Don't mind me, Amanda, I'm just a poor immigrant who still believes in dreams.)

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    1. what an interesting tale of land reform in italy.

      i seem to remember that on sardinia, inland property was considered more valuable for agricultural reasons and the poorer folks got to live on seafront property where things wouldn't grow as well. years later when rich people like the aga kahn came to purchase property for vacations and yachting access, it was the oceanfront property that was bought and the poor folks made money off their "less valuable" land!

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  7. Phew, I am glad that Ithaka was spared.It seems like everything is for sale these days. It's heart-breaking, really.

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  8. Last summer, in Corfu, Mykonos and Athens, the guides were begging for us to come back and stay a few days or even weeks. Tourism, it seems, was the only hope for salvation of their economy. I felt very sad that the land of my father and forefathers had come to that. But selling Ithaka? Fortunately the news was false.

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    1. paul, tourism has been the number one industry in greece for a long time. it is heartbreaking to see the country in such bad shape financially. one can only hope things will turn around and a steady recovery will come soon.

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  9. How surreal. I am do glad for you. I'm glad to know a country didn't sell itself!

    Ithaka reminds me of the almalfi coast in Italy. I know alittle if what you must feel when you are there. It is clearly a treasure

    As for all that money, I wish world consciousness and charitable vibrations would over take the planet


    kj

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    1. me too kj.

      (p.s. parts of greece are like the amalfi coast, but drier. more of a starker beauty :)

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  10. As I read your title...I gasped too...shuddering with dread and disgust. I am thankful Ithaka is safe - for now. I love the conclusion of your post.... oh yes, *Mr. Emir*.....I hope you DO remember what happened to those greedy suitors....

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  11. I'm relieved to see Ithaka hasn't become a private island. Gorgeous images!

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  12. I'm speechless.

    One wife and two children are challenging enough.

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  13. Wow, that was a scary moment. Glad it's safe, at least for the time being.
    I haven't even been there yet! Another place on my list!

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  14. Love your beautiful pictures Amanda!!!

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