Saturday, July 21, 2012
Athens… the LA of Greece
The Greeks, heat, and thinking do not mix well. It is Greek mentality to take your time, contemplate for awhile, and even talk slowly. They like to take their time with decisions, but they always have no worries. They sleep in late and when it is hot, they lay around in bed or they go to the beach, nothing else. The streets looked empty and some shops even closed so the owner could be by the sea. They take their time, and hate to be rushed.
It is blistering temperatures and yesterday was the hottest day of the summer so far. It was so hot that the acropolis closed early! In this heat, I still managed to see the Unknown Soldier, the Parthenon, eat at a genuine Greek restaurant, and do a little shopping. It was the first day of the sale season so there were good prices everywhere! I got shirts for 5 Euros and shoes for 8! Now I don’t have to hit the clubs in my Birkenstocks ; )
Finally you can get tap water! At every restaurant or bar, they bring you tap water and free chips at bars and free desert or fruit at restaurants. Most of the toilets are free too and water is cheap (only 50 cents)! This is quite a pleasant change from the rest of Europe.
The Greek view of the crisis: Things are not safe anymore. People use to sleep with their doors unlocked, now you would be crazy not to lock them. The city center is FILLED with beggars. These are all immigrants that are looking to get into the rest of the EU but are unsuccessful and no longer have enough money to go home. Most Greeks think the rest of the world portrays the crisis as something a lot worse than it is. Though, things have gotten a lot cheaper. The jails are full and the druggies just shoot up on the streets. One Greek told me that the biggest problem is the hospital system. If you need medical attention, you must be flown to Athens or Crete.
Rules mean nothing. Stop signs are just suggestions and you would never get a ticket for running it. My host even went the wrong way on an oneway and parked in the opposite direction of every other car. If you want to park for a second, just throw on your flashers, kind of pull over, and “no worries, things are good”.
Stray dogs are everywhere! Today we met one and named him buddy!
Watch out, the acropolis museum is closed on Mondays!!