Monday, 24 October 2005

Strange Greeks!

Sometimes you think that Greek people have odd customs. The difference between the Greeks and other European people is not that big but there are days when you think: what strange people they are.

For example: I think it is odd that some Greeks do not immediately give a name to a newborn child. Until they are baptized all those babies have to respond to the name 'baby'!. There is already enough confusion with names in Greece because so many people have the same name. Last week we had dinner with 4 Yannis! But also to give identical names like baby to all babies, that's a little pathetic. Then, after the birth they have plenty of time to come up with an original name, but all that happens is that they fight over whose mum or dad may give their name to the new child.

Another strange habit in Greece is the soup as a dessert. This so- called Patza is a probable way of not getting a hangover. But to eat a fat soup right after a delicious meal, I never managed to do that. I prefer drinking glasses of water in between all alcohol in order to have a minimum chance of a hangover.

And then the Greeks think their priests are really saints. These papas do whatever they like, which has been proved this last year. The scandal around the papas from Petra who was not only a pimp, but also stole icons from the church and was always drunk, is just a tiny incident at the end of a long row of scandals that hit the Greek Church last year. In Greece the church and the state are still not separated and whenever a minister wants to speak about changing this, the church shamelessly makes threats to the state of Greece.

Quite a lot of Greek people do not want to eat what they do not know. Last week I gave a full bag of boletus to a friend who wanted to surprise her Greek boyfriend with a mushroom ragout. He refused to eat it and even called his parents about it. His mother yelled down the telephone that he must not eat it and even when he explained to his father which mushrooms it was, he was answered by: "they are edible, but we do not eat those mushrooms." So this guy who like a lot of Greek boys still lives with his parents, although he is in his mid forties, obeyed his parents and refused to eat the mushroom ragout.

The last time we went to the chestnut forest above Agiasos we were surprised when we thought we were being followed by a black BMW with a license plate from off the island. It is not easy to pursue someone on the quiet roads of Lesvos. There is no other traffic to hide behind and it is difficult to stay unobserved behind a car whose passengers stop in order to say hi to some turtles, who stop in order to photograph the flowering moor, who go for an hour shopping in Agiasos. So when we finally were back on the road going into the woods above the picturesque mountain village this black BMW passed us for at least the tenth time that day and then we became suspicious. Happily we managed to turn unnoticed onto one of the sandy roads leading into the forest. But even if he did want to follow our Sunny Nissan, he for sure would have destroyed his car's spoiler.

We knew for sure that we were being followed when we came back from a two hours walk and saw the black BMW waiting for us down at the main road. I even panicked a little and we decided not to gather chestnuts and skip the picnic we planned to have under the brightly coloured giant trees. It was the first time I was not so happy about the fact that we were in a wood that was deserted. Who knows what crazy person was in that car! Again we were lucky because we've started to know the roads around Agiasos and we could sneak unnoticed again onto another sandy road. But then we did not stop and drove over Olympos straight home. Our day was spoiled.

Coming home we talked about our adventure with some friends. They thought it might be secret police from Athens. At the moment there seem to be hidden weed gardens somewhere around Agiasos and so some secret agents are sent to the island to follow people at random and discover where the secret fields are. Any sane people knowing the vast network of sandy roads should know that when you really want to go everywhere on this island, you do not drive a BMW! You just have to watch a James Bond movie in order to know that a car in pursuit should be prepared for everything. And this in the time of those huge 4-wheeldrives! Well, we did not spot any black BMW in Eftalou. The only suspicious thing is a pretty big ship floating in the sea, not going anywhere. But that one cannot follow us because it seems that he got stuck on a big rock in the middle of the sea. We were also not followed going to the supermarket. And I hope that we will never be followed again. But still: what strange Greeks there are!

Copyright © Smitaki 2005

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