The Arrival of a Water Boat

Hoorah. Never has the arrival of a water boat in Yialos been met with so much jubilation. Up in Chorio the collective rumble of hundreds of washing machines rolls through the lanes and housewives are out in their courtyards, scrubbing carpets. Down in the harbour windows are being washed and pot plants watered and a sudden air of optimism prevails. Water, such a fundamental thing, and yet still in such short supply, even in modern Europe.

People often email me, asking me about all the doom and gloom they see about Greece in the international media and wondering how the state of the Greek economy is affecting life on Symi. Well, one thing that has become very obvious this winter is the increasing number of Symiots making use of their various bits of family land to grow vegetables and keep livestock in an effort to keep living expenses down. Terraces that have lain fallow for years are being cleared and fenced for allotments and the most unlikely people are to be seen leading tethered goats to patches of public grazing.

Despite the popular myth in the foreign media that Greece is a poor country full of rich people, the fact is that while there may be some fat cats around somewhere, the majority of the Greek population is not well off by Western European standards and for pensioners in particular life can be very hard indeed, especially in the rural areas and the islands. There is, however, a gritty determination among the Symiots who have seldom had much faith in central government at the best of times and if planting beans and potatoes is what is necessary to get through the tough times ahead, so be it.

Have a good week.



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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.

Adriana Shum

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