Becoming More Greek

Today is the last full day of the holiday and, whilst I have written every day, I realise that what I have written is in no way an informative travelogue.  I doubt very much that you will want to know where I am (Crete actually) or what I have done whilst I have been here (bugger all if truth be told) but none-the-less I feel that there are a few things I can tell you that you might be able to lock away for future reference.

We have been coming to the Greek Islands – more usually smaller examples than this one, but somebody made us an offer we couldn’t refuse – for more than thirty years, and it generally takes us about twenty four hours in the country before we ourselves begin to become more Greek. 

The Greek Islands are Beautiful (with a capital ‘B’) but always slightly scruffy – almost unfinished.  The Greek people are by nature incredibly friendly and accommodating.  Nothing is too much trouble: they will say ‘Yes’ even if they know that they will not be able to deliver.  The phrase you will encounter most frequently is ‘Yes, of course.  No problem.’  Everything operates in Greek Time.  Greek Time passes very slowly.  Fifteen minutes in Greek time can seem like two hours – and usually is.  In fact if you are told that something will be ready in fifteen minutes, that time is not measured from now, but from some future time of the other persons choosing – and you will never know  what that time is.  Anyway, what’s spoiling?  It will take you (neurotic Anglo-Saxon) a little while to adjust to this, but quite quickly you will come to realise how right they are.  Adjust yourself to Greek Time and everything becomes much easier.  There is always time for one more beer.

Because it is so hot, the Greek people generally have their main meal much later into the evening.  There is no Fast Food here and you will almost certainly not find anybody in a hurry to take your money after you’ve eaten – although they will be very quick to fill up your ouzo.  Life is far too short to fret.  The world would be a much better place if we all became a little more Greek.

So, you’ve got here and you’ve adjusted your body clock, what else is there that you could possibly need to know?  Maybe you should consider the enjoyment there is to be gleaned from a Greek shower.  Generally hand held, you may or may not get hot water when you turn it on.  Either way, you will not have it by the time you turn it off.  It’s good for the skin I think…

…So today is our last day in this beautiful place and what I am most reluctant to accept is how quickly I will become English again on touch-down at the airport.  I can feel the angst and neurosis rising in me just thinking about it.  I will immediately expect things to be done when promised and in a time scale that I can, at least, understand.  I will once again get used to the fact that, by and large, nobody wants to make you happy unless they are paid to do so; that generally people do not smile, that most things are far too much trouble, and I really hope that I can hang on to Greek Time for just that little bit longer, but then I find myself staring at my watch.  Doesn’t this taxi driver know I’ve got a plane to catch?

11 thoughts on “Becoming More Greek

  1. How much more chaotic could the world become if we all learned to relax and stop worrying about time schedules? I grew up time-focused and went to work for a British airline. Precision timing dictated our lives. We tried to make the airlines we handled subscribe to the notion but Africans and West Indians and quite a few Europeans could not quite manage, no matter how fretful the Duty Manager became. Greece was the first country I fell in love with, at the age of ten. Nice to be reminded.

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    1. Yes, I’ve had a long love affair with the place. Best way to ‘be Greek’ when you’re getting really worked up about something is to stop, just for a second, and think ‘exactly how urgent is this really?’ Often it’s ‘not very’.

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  2. Hope you finished the ouzo before you came back – somehow it never tastes quite as good when drunk back here in Blighty. Could be a Greek/ Anglo Saxon time thing I suppose …

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  3. My school pal married a Greek and being her bride’s maid was weird, because I unbeknown to me, I had to follow her around the table (altar) three times and each time I lay the train down, she’d be off again! they again! then again! They lived in England, but also had a house up the hill from a town in Corfu. Each time the tourist arrived in the town, all the water stopped (because the tourist took it all). One day her sister was half way through having a shower with shampoo in her hair and the water went off. Never been there myself, as the thought of getting into a flying lorry full of other people of all ages gives me the full on heebie-jeebies.

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