I received an ominous email from a friend: Did you hear? An Emir bought Ithaka for 8.5 million Euros?
Oh no he didn't.
Not my Ithaka.
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.