Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING!
Yes, it's a pretty town, except that the public squares are full of chairs and tables with waiters of both genders dashing about serving coffee to Greeks who scream at each other fortissimo. Greek is not only a rapid language, it is loud. I would like to sit under a tree down on the beach, but the tamarisks have all been cut down, developers are flat out building tourist hotels and the only places one can sit out of the sun is in yet another cafe on the purpose built promenade. Of course there are a few old fashioned family restaurants, like Papadakis on the beach with chairs and tables at the waters edge but so far I have found nowhere to sit and watch people coming and going, to strike up conversations so people will tell me their stories.There are no car parks outside the supermarkets, and their aisles are so narrow there is no way two shoppers can stop and discuss the merits of what is on display. Houses are built flush with the road and they have high walls enclosing them. I can't compliment a gardener on her dahlias, or chrysanthemums as I pass.
I have yet to find a public library, not that it would be of use to me if I did, but in New Zealand and Australia the Library is one of the main places a stranger can make contacts in a new town. Someone there always knows where the writers'groups are.
And how I miss the Women's Institute! There might be an equivalent here, but without Greek I am forever excluded. My phrase book does not have'Çan you direct me to the Women's Institute please?' Glenavy W.I. I miss you all!
In Oamaru, when people go into town they can stroll around on wide footpaths and stop to talk to friends, Here the footpaths are about 30 centimetres wide, and the town is a warren of tiny streets full os tiny shops, apart from the Agora Supermarket, which is about the size of a corner dairy. Men sit outside the shops, and in the sidewalk cafes and shout at each other. If there is a wider piece of footpath somebody will have parked his car on it.