Cuddling Coffee Cups

Today’s rain started with a rumble of thunder at about 5 a.m. Five hours later it is still raining steadily. Nicholas gave me a lift down to work this morning as the Kali Strata was in waterfall mode and we did not see a single other vehicle apart from the bus. Down in the harbour there are a few damp figures cuddling coffee cups in the cafeneions and many of the shops that are normally open at this time of day are firmly closed with plastic sheeting nailed over doors and shutters that are known to leak. The ANES hydrofoil left this morning despite the deteriorating forecast – they are optimistic that they’ll make it back this afternoon before the anticipated northerly gale arrives. It is a wind direction from which Symi is largely protected by the Datca peninsula but out in the open sea it can be very rough. Pireaus is already closed as Beaufort Force 10 northerly gale is blowing out in the central Aegean.
The Hellenic National Meteorological Service says this will be the coldest Christmas in Greece in a decade and the snow ploughs are already out in many parts of Greece. Perhaps the plunging temperatures and inclement weather will force the rioting youth of Athens and Thessaloniki back into their homes for the festive season. Here on Symi there is little sympathy for such anarchic behaviour, indeed on Greek television the commentators are becoming increasingly irritated by the situation. While the death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos is undoubtedly tragic, using it as an excuse to burn shops, businesses and private property and set fire to the Christmas tree in Syntagma Square is fast wearing out the sympathies of the Greek population at large, many of whom depend on festive season trade to help their businesses through the long winter before the next tourist season and in a time of economic hardship such self-indulgent behaviour is now being perceived as unpatriotic. At the risk of seeming frivolous, we may see counter-riots as angry shopkeepers fight back.
On a more cheerful note, the global drop in the price of fuel has finally filtered through to the petrol stations on Symi where it is now a euro a litre for the first time in over a year. If oil remains at a reasonable price, the ferry companies may be able to lower freight and transport costs, at which point the price of goods in the shops on Symi will fall too. Like many small islands the world over, Symi is dependent on imports from the outside world for its everyday necessities and it is the cost of bringing in these items that determines to a large extent the local cost of living.
Have an enjoyable Christmas and I will be back with a blog on Boxing Day.

Regards,

Adriana

Anonymous –   – (Monday, December 22, 2008)  

Thankyou very much for the year's news. Always interested in Greek life though never been to Symi, mainly Skiathos. Have a very happy Christmas.

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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.


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