Brought up as a repressed Northerner, I’ve always quite admired the emotional openness of the Southern European character, and the Greeks are no exception. Staying in the Rethymnon area of Crete you get to see more of the real Greek way of life than you do in the more manufactured holiday resorts further down the coast. In Malia you are as likely to meet someone from Hull as from Heraklion. You can get an English Breakfast or a Sunday dinner and watch football 24/7 while drinking pints in the Irish bar – not very Greek at all really. What is it with Irish bars everywhere? I remember getting a great photo of an Omani in full robes and headgear drinking a pint of Guinness in Feenies Irish Bar in Muscat. Unfortunately he didn’t think my picture was so great, and I had to hastily delete it in front of his very cross face. Muslims don’t drink apparently. He looked suspicious from the start anyway, as he was the only one not joining in the pub quiz.. Back to the lovely Greeks. They don’t go in too much for introspection. None of this turning your angst inwards and then getting a semi automatic machine gun and mowing down your school mates when things don’t go your way, malarkey.
|No angst for us!|
Greeks can make a huge energetic arm waving argument out of anything, and thus never have the chance to build up any angst in the first place. We saw the driver of the small red passenger train which takes tourists around the city centre having massive a bust up with the ticket lady, over some minor route alteration. You’d have thought it was the Great Train Robbery!
The Greeks adore their children and would find it ridiculous to be frightened to take pictures of them at their school play (like we are now) They look after their old people – who are generally their parents after all – and would not dream of shipping them out of the family home. They have a very strong sense of belonging to something else other than themselves. Their family, their religion, their ‘Parea’ (friends) – their country. I’m not sure we have that in England any more. We moan quietly, but we never protest. We are more socially isolated and divided as a nation than we have been for many years. Even Scotland, which is only a ginger bit on the top of our very small island is spouting about independence! What’s that about? Sorry Scotland – that was a cheap shot.
|The next One Direction?|
The other thing I love about Greece is the light. Coming from the sun-starved UK I have always known that sunshine makes you happy. After years of being told to always wear factor 50 sunscreen and a balaclava to preserve your face (mainly by Joan Collins) the latest scientific reports have found that, lo and behold! sunshine can be GOOD for you! It lowers the blood pressure, a bit of a tan makes you feel better and look thinner and when it turns out nice more than two days in a row, it makes you HAPPY! The light is so clear and pure it’s like a long cold drink of water after the sun desert of the English climate. It also makes for lovely photographs and the colours and the cats of Greece make the most gorgeous pictures. Why aren’t our doors cobalt blue, pistachio green and raspberry pink? Why isn’t our bread hand baked in the shape of animals and flowers?
Also Crete is the only country I have ever been to where cats and a dog live in the airport. The cats parade the cafe near the check in desks looking winsome and appealing for a piece of cheese pie, and the dog sleeps next to the Gents toilets. You’ve got to make a living where you can around here. This makes things much more fun than Terminal 5 will ever be.
It’s all Crete to me..
|Please feed before check in!|
|Canine Toilet attendant|