>> Monday, June 8, 2015 – Greek banking, Greek economic crisis, Life on Symi in June, love of strangers, philoxenia, refugees, Symi visitors, xenophobia
|Another foal, spotted on my walk to work this morning.|
|It was very humid last night and we woke to low cloud rolling over the Vigla and adjoining hills. There is a lot of thunder activity around and about and we see distant rain falling over Turkey but nothing on Symi.|
|The mansion next door with its luxuriant plumbago. The Greeks call plumbago 'blue jasmine' as it is similar in appearance and habit but it is actually a completely different plant and has no scent.|
|One of the two dentists on Symi. For a small community of 3000 souls we manage quite well health wise, despite the economic crisis.|
The season is off to a very quiet start and there are far fewer people about than usual. Fortunately Symi has many loyal visitors who have been coming to the island for years, in some cases, decades but for islands that don't have such a high repeat rate things must be very difficult indeed. When newspapers report stories, exaggerating the bad at the expense of the good, they forget the impact of their stories on communities and livelihoods. Our banks are still functioning, we do still have food in the shops and tavernas - plenty of it and delicious it is too. Yes, desperate refugees are arriving but they have been arriving on Symi for the past 20 years that I know of and they are welcomed and treated as they always have been, with compassion and to the best of the capabilities of Symi's police station and coast guard, and then leave on the twice weekly Blue Star to Piraeus to continue the long journey to their future lives. This is nothing new.
Symi looks forward to welcoming all her visitors with the abundant hospitality for which the island is famed and we hope that you, dear reader, are not deterred from enjoying Greek 'philoxenia' (hospitality, literally the love of the strangers) by what you see in newspapers that base sales on sensationalism and fostering a sense of outrage. Philoxenia is the opposite of the dreaded xenophobia, fear of strangers. Let us try to spread the concept of philoxenia far and wide so this word becomes as well known as its dark antithesis.
Have a good week.