In Refugees’ footsteps

[ENG/EST]

The Life Correspondent spent a day on Kos- a Greek island that became famous through European migrant crisis. On that island people that had escaped from their unsafe homeland, mostly Syria, Afganistan and Iraq, made a stop before entering Europe. However, with an agreement between Turkey and European Union  there are non of them left.

I swang on the sea and admired the hills of Aegean islands I passed by. Hard to believe that thousands of hearts have sunk into this calm water. Based on the statitics of UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, this year (2016) 1261 people have lost their life while crossing the Mediterranean. Together with previous years’ statistics it’s enough to rename it to the Dead sea. Instead of scream of fear, I heared shouting full of excitement: ” A dolphin, a dolphin!”.

Rather strict passport control was the only sign of migration and refugees’ presence. I had assumed to approach a dirty, dark and sad district. This is the expression refugees’s camps leave from a distance. In fact, all I could see in the harbour were locals and tourists.

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Kos Harbour with no signs of refugees

Souvenir shops on narrow side streets seemed ready to welcome even more of them and, eventhough, tourism boom explosion is expected in a week, people might avoid Kos because of its’ changed reputation. Yet, plenty of foreigners were enjoying their ice coffee on the Town Hall Square.

The size of the centre makes it impossible to devote too much time on city tour. Therefore, it’s deffenitely worth to spend some time in one of many fish restaurants. There’s a variety of them on the coastline and there you’ll for sure cross the path of locals. The combination of breathtaking view over the sea and waiter’s relaxed stance made clients feel calm; no wonder people took hours for a meal. Indeed, it was easy to forget about the time while sitting behind a pile of delicious seafood salad. Not only was it rich for the amount of food, but also for its’ taste and components. The salad consisted of juicy vegetable part and seawonders that seemed so fresh that it wouldn’t have surprised if they crawled off the plate. Around Aegean it’s common to serve seafood with an alcoholic drink rakı. It’s produced of destilled grape pomace and flavoured with aniseed. Considered the quality, prices of foods and drinks are low. Moreover, nobody asks for extra charge for lively but unexpectedly calming atmosphere.

 

Though Kos is only 45 minutes away from Turkey, the environment is completely different. The islanders are also friendly and open, but keep a distance. I even heared a salesman stand on the on the door of a souvenirshop joking that it’s allowed to just look at things with no obligation to buy them. “We’re in Greece, not in Turkey,” he said.  However, I noticed one clear sign of Turkey’s closeness. Namely, the mosks: the main religion in Greece is c not islam.

When my time to leave arrived, I wouldn’t have blamed myself for missing the ferry. The island’s peacefulness had spread all over me as a virus. Kos certainly deserves another visit for exploring the nature. I left the island loaded with positive vibes and happiness. I wonder which emotions would I have felt if I had visited that place a year ago..

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Leaving Kos Behind

 

 

Pagulaste jälgedes

Elukorrespondent veetis päeva Kosil, saarel, mis on tuntuks saanud põgenike peatuskohana. Sellel Kreeka saarel keset Egeuse merd ootasid veel mõne kuu eest peamiselt Süüria, Afganistaani ja Iraagi põgenikud Euroopasse pääsemist, kuid Türgi – Euroopa Liidu kokkuleppega võeti vastu otsus saar neist paljaks teha.

Õõtsusin lainetel ja imetlesin maha jäävaid mägisaarekesi ega suutnud uskuda, et sellesse rahulikku merre on tuhandeid südameid uppunud. ÜRO pagulasameti UNHCR andmetel on sel aastal (2016) Vahemerd ületades hukkunud 1261 inimest; koos eelnevate aastate ohvritega on see piisavalt suur arv, et Surnumerega nimed ära vahetada. Hirmukarjatuse asemel kuulsin mina aga erutunud hõiskeid: “Delfiin, delfiin!”.

Ainuke märk illegaalsest rändamisest ja põgenike saarel viibimisest oli suhteliselt range passikontroll. Olin eeldanud randuda räpases ja kurvameelsed kandis, sest just sellisena on pagulaspiirkonnad distantsilt tundunud. Sadamas nägin aga ainult kohalikke ja turiste.

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Pagulastest tühi Kosi sadam

Kõrvaltänava kaupmehed olid välismaalaste vastu võtmiseks valmis, kuid pagulasmaine tõttu võib sel aastal külastajate hulk Kosil tagasihoidlikuks jääda. Turismibuumi plahvatuseni on jäänud veel nädal ning vanalinna peaväljakul istusid juba esimesed jääkohvi nautlejaid. Atraktsioonide ja vaatamisväärsustega tutvumiseks pole väikeses keskuses palju aega vaja. Küll aga tasub pikemalt peatuda mõnes rannikuäärses kalarestoranis. Seal armastavad einestada ka kreeklased ise, kes, vähemalt seekord, pühendasid söömaajale tunde. Pole ka ime: merevaate ja teenindaja vaba oleku kombinatsioon mõjub külastajatele rahustavalt ja piraka mereannisalati taldrikutäie taga polnud raske end ära unustada. Suursugune polnud mitte ainult toidu kogus, vaid ka maitse ja koostis. Taimne osa oli mahlane ja kvaliteetne, mereelukad tundusid nii värsked, et nende minema roomamine poleks imestama pannud. Kalaroogade kõrvale juuakse Egeuse piirkonnas viinapuuviljadest destilleeritud alkohoolset jooki rakı, mis on maitsestatud aniisiga. Söögi ja joogi hind on taset arvestades soodne. Pealegi ei küsita lisatasu elava, kuid samas lõõgastava õhkkonna eest.

Kuigi Kos asub Türgist vaid 45 minutilise praamisõidu kaugusel, on meeleolu sootuks teistsugune. Saarlased on samuti sõbralikud ja avatud, kuid hoiavad kerget distantsi. Suveniiri poe ees viskasid müüjad isegi nalja, et ega nipsasjakesi vaadates tingimata midagi ostma pea. “Oleme Kreekas, mitte Türgis,” tõdesid nad. Türgi lähedust tõestasid aga mošeed: valdav usk Kreekas ei ole islam, vaid hoopis õigeusk.

Kui oli aeg lahkuda, poleks praamist maha jäämine mind eriti kurvastanud. Kos väärib kindlasti veel üht külastust, et sealset liigrikast loodust avastada. Lahkusin läbinisti positiivse laenguga. Huvitav, milliseid emotsioone oleksin Kosil tundnud aasta eest?

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Tagasivaade Kosile
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Manuel says:

    Wow, very well written! I really enjoyed the read of this and also your former articles. You are doing great work, keep it up!

    Like

    1. I appreciate your support! Thanks a lot!

      Like

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