Saturday, September 11, 2010

East, West, Home's Best



I’m an inveterate traveller. I’ll put it down to growing up in the middle of the Australian desert. From the age of six weeks I was carted from coast to coast to visit and be shown off to distant relatives. As a child, I felt confined by the wide open spaces around me, so those twice yearly flights to civilization, must’ve given me a thirst to explore new horizons. Since there was no television service, I buried myself in National Geographic magazines, dreaming of travelling to places with exotic names like Mystic and Nantucket, Middlesex (where I seriously thought hermaphrodites lived) and Moosejaw, Kathmandu and Kabul.
I’m so desperate to see new places that if there’s an alternative route to return from that destination, I’ll take it!
However, an insidious realization has been nagging at me lately, and that is, that in spite of the beauty or benefits of travelling, I really miss my own bed, my own loo, my own shower.
Recently, I travelled around the south of England researching Jane Austen, where we stayed in the filthiest B&B you could imagine. The beauty of Winchester, where Jane died and was honored by being buried in Winchester Cathedral was tainted considerably by this experience and I’m annoyed with myself for letting this be so. It’s happened in other places too. Perhaps I need to consult a travel psychologist who’ll prepare me for the worst, so that I’ll be pleasantly surprised when it turns out to be better.
Now I’m on Corfu, an idyllic Greek Island, but again the accommodation is lacking. If we were paying half what we are, I’d put up with the less than clean bathroom, the un-mopped floors, the miniscule shower (18x24 inches!) the rock-hard bed and the dodgy electrical connections.
But what’s really upset me are the stray cats and dogs roaming the island. We’re presently feeding three kittens who’ve adopted us, bleating plaintively for food morning and evening. But what will happen to them when winter sets in and the tourists dry up? There’s no government run animal shelter on the island and the council controls dogs in some areas by baiting them! How inhumane is this? How sad that a civilized country’s answer to animal control is to allow them to roam free begging for food, or poisoning them? No doubt the female kittens will be pregnant as soon as they’re in season – provided they survive the winter. Although two of “our” kittens are quite wild, the smallest is friendly and sweet natured and would make a lovely pet, but there’s no such thing as animal adoption here.
However, I’ve discovered there’s a wonderful group of people who do their best trying to raise money to de-sex as many of the females as possible and set up feeding stations in various areas to try and tide the animals over the winter months. It’s a pity every visitor to Corfu and the other Greek Islands isn’t asked to donate five euros towards a non-profit fund for animals. I’m donating to have a female cat neutered and placing the Agni Animal fund website as my homepage, for which they’ll receive two British pounds per month (at no cost to me) for each of our family’s pc’s that has their site as our homepage.
So although this started as a whinge about how great travel is, but how much greater it is to get home to my own creature comforts, it’s ended as a plea to help those four-legged creatures who sleep on the streets and beg for food because there’s nowhere else for them to go. No warm lap to sleep on, no leg to rub up against, no human to call their own.
If you’d like to help, here’s the link to their website where you can read about the good work they do – http://www.agni-animal-welfare-fund.com/Index.asp
And here to make them your homepage - http://google.agni-animal-welfare-fund.com/
Meantime, I’m dreaming of getting home to my own comfy bed and a loo and a shower that I know are clean. But most of all I’m looking forward to getting home to my own four-legged friends and giving them an extra big hug.
Til next time…
CC

21 comments:

Serena said...

Hi CC,
I hear ya on the cleanliness issue. I don't mind cheap hotels as long as they are CLEAN. But an 18x24 inches shower recess?? Really? That would barely fir one of your little kitty cats :(

Hope your kitties find good homes. I always worried about all the cats at the Coloseum. A kazillion of them!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay.
HUGS

Cathleen Ross said...

You sound very homesick to me. Sorry your accommodation is so below par and to read about the strays. So sad when cats make such delightful pets. Mine is a permanent fixture on my bed. Hope the Jane Austen research went well, Catherine. Look forward to hearing about it.

Leigh Duncan said...

Oh, you world traveler, you! Are you headed home after Greece or are you planning another stop or two along the way?

CC said...

Hi Serena, The tiny shower recess would be (almost) fine if my husband let me shower with the curtain open, but he complains about the water on the floor - the cheek! It's having a dirty shower curtain blowing against me that gives me the willies! Ugh!
The cats of Rome are a good point. I believe they're at least neurtered - hence the small chunk of skin taken out of their ears to denote it. Of course that doesn't stop unscrupulous people from dumping more!

CC said...

Hi Cathleen,
Yes, homesick for cleanliness (surprising to think this houseworkaphobe should say that!)
I'm enjoying other aspects of Corfu - shooing bees out of my softdrink and off my toast and jam! The sunshine and the slightly cooler temps of September, the long swims and the lovely Corfiot food. But most especially the glorious views of Kalami bay from our balcony. Now I just need to think up a plot to set a book here... :-)

CC said...

Hi Leigh,
I'm heading home to Australia via Colorado. Looking forward to seeing the Fall colors - something I'm yet to experience as we don't have a Fall in my part of Aus.(just never-ending heat!)
Since you live in Florida, you no doubt concur?

Eleni Konstantine said...

Major hugs that the accommodation has put a dampener on your holidays. And yes that is one thing I noticed in Greece - stray dogs (not so much the cats) but actually less than there were the previous trip (2000 in comparison to 1993). And how did the dogs know we were tourists? Interesting. Good on you for linking to the animal welfare fund.

Cher Gorman said...

Oh, God, you poor baby. I would not be a happy camper at all! Point of fact I'm a lousy traveler anyway. I prefer my own house, my own bed and bathroom. There is truly no place like home.

Safe traveling Catherine :-)

Cher

CC said...

LOL Eleni and Cher! Didn't mean to be whingeing "poor me" lying on the beach in Corfu surrounded by cat and stray dogs!
But like Dorothy, I've been in Oz too long and have decided, there's no place like home!

Estella said...

I guess I am to used to the US. I thought there were animal welfare agencies everywhere.

CC said...

Sadly not Estella. :(

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi CC, hearing about those stray kittens is breaking my heart. I have seen the same thing in parts of Spain. I will try the homepage thing to see if it can help.

kerrilane said...

Yuk on the grottiness. It makes me a very nervous traveller. I'm a germaphobe and don't do grot well. Or at all... Had a really, really bad experiece on our honeymoon. (No, not Bob - ANOTHER bad experience. LOLOL. Oh Man, I'm in such trouble if he reads this. Seriously? H/moon was ALL good. And he was ALL good...And soooo long ago...)

But, hugs on the kitties and puppies. Our beautiful Bella dog spent yesterday with the emergency vet. She's getting old and we feared the worst - but she's fine! And we're smiling.

But Corfu? Honey??? Photos! Photos! Blacony shots! They don't you & Keith in them. hehehehe. Just kidding. It'll be nice to have you back on Oz soil.

kerrilane said...

Hmmn - note to self: do previews so you can see all the mistakes.

Meant to say the photos don't 'Need' you and the K man in them...

Now I'm ducking...

borneo said...

nice blog .. like this :)

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Just got back from ten days in Maui where we were very fortunate. But bedbug stories were in the paper before we left and when we came home. Good grief!

There are many dogs and cats on the island but most seem to be cared for. There is as much dog food in general stores as people food.

Peace and safe travels home, Julie

CC said...

Hi kandy, Sorry i've been AWOL -have been travelling ever since leaving Corfu. Now I'm home in Colorado and had the most glorious night's sleep in my own bed. In fact... I can see it frommy desk and it's looking mighty inviting again... :-)
Thanks for trying the homepage. Once i get my brain back from somewhere over the Atlantic I'll be sending my donation to have that dear little kitten de-sexed.
so sad it happens in Spain as well.

CC said...

Hiya Kerri, Don't worry about Bob reading this - I've already forwarded it to him! :-)
I love it that you use the word grotty too - it's such a great word isn't it? used to be a steet in Brisbane called Crotty Street, that some card regularly changed to Grotty Street! :-)

CC said...

Hi Borneo, I don't think we've met before, but thanks for liking the blog!
:-)

CC said...

Hi Julie - eek, bedbugs! Atually it was rumored there were some at the Orlando hotel but I didnt encounter any =- thank heavens! I have met the little blighters in Denver a long time ago tho - ugh! am getting itchy just thinking about it - in fact it was on my honeymoon...

Holly (little Cc) said...

Awww Mum, Im about to cry thinking of those cats. They were so cute!!! I miss them and I hope they're okay!!! I've made the agni animal walfare league my homepage - I hope that helps:). Miss u Xx