What’s Greece all about?

22 03 2009

So what’s all about that country?

One of the strangest countries in the world, inhabited by some of the strangest people in the world… Greece is like a miniature of the world, it has from seas and islands to busy cities, to remote villages, to snow capped mountains. There’s a little bit of everything and you’re going to have a nice time there if you decide to adjust a little bit…

Most people visiting Greece think they go to a western country. That’s not true. Greece lies between Europe and Asia. And has quite a lot of both. Some say that Greeks are Turks that want to become Italians. Others they are better than both. Or worse than both. Or that they came from outer space. Actually all of these are true (yes, Greeks can be extra-terrestrial). Actually it is the closest most people will ever get to Middle East. To Greeks it is Near East, Middle East is in the middle, it is just a quirk of the Anglo-Saxons that has prevailed in the literature to call Near East Middle East. Therefore you will have to relax your demands from life and adjust to the local customs – just a little bit, so that you have a good time.

Adjust means that you should not expect things to be perfectly organised as in your home country – they are not. It means you should not expect to find exactly the same kind of food, beverage or anything else. You may be surprised how good a not-so-round apple tastes. Also do not assume anything. Just because you think you can pronounce “eta” with your cute Erasmian accent because you learnt the Greek letters in math at school some years ago, does not mean you speak Greek – you don’t. If you’re aware that in Greece everything is possible at any time and you’re not cought by surprise,you’ll have a good time. Distressed? No reason to be. Actually you need to be laid back. If you do not find the shape of your hote’s pool to your liking, complaining will only ruin someone’s day and your vacation. If you do not know what to do in any situation, do not know what’s going on, do not understand what’s being said, there’s an easy workaround: ask. People typically will be happy to help you. Also plan ahead: when your ship returns from the islands a few hours before your plane leaves, you might be surprised to find out you’ll be loosing your flight. Allow a day to return from the islands, the sea is really unpredictable. Your ship might not even be able to leaave the harbour. Don’t yell at people, just plan ahead…

What does the typical tourist do wrong in Greece? Well, that might be a long list…

  1. Think that because there is poor policing he can get away with anything
  2. Swim in a crowded swimming pool next to a beautiful empty beach
  3. Eat from a fast-food just because the local food looks strange
  4. Drink too much
  5. Drink too little
  6. Stay too long under the sun
  7. Think ships are Swiss trains
  8. Think trains are Swiss trains
  9. Think they can ride a scooter on an island while being under the sun for 8 hours and after a bottle of tequila
  10. Think they speak Greek
  11. Think everybody is their friend
  12. Think everybody is their enemy

I could go on and on…

Greece is the country of controversies. Here are some:

  1. Trivial but true: it is a poor country with rich residents.
  2. Greeks love to hate each other
  3. The north is poorer than the south, contrary to most other countries
  4. Also trivial: we want to prepare our coffee as fast as possible and drink it as slow as possible
  5. It is a dangerous country with friendly residents
  6. When discussing the country’s situation among Greeks, the country is a mess. When discussing with a foreigner, the country is a paradise.

That could go on and on as well…

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2 responses

22 03 2009
Fred Hart

As someone who learns Greek and travels to Greece every year, I find this a very interesting post. One probably useless thing I would say about the Greeks is that when it may seem they are arguing all the time, they are actually talking normally. Its because the Greek language means that which syllable is stressed is very important to the meaning of their words!

22 03 2009
dpservis

🙂 quite right! Thanks I plan to put up more stuff as we are visiting Greece with my company in September and I start getting more and more into personal Q&A

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