Thursday, August 2, 2007

Being in the Spotlight: The Greek Paradox

I found a couple of interesting sites the other day all thanks to an article in e-tipos featuring blogs in and about Greece. You can find the English transcript of the article here. Many thanks to California Kat who informed me about the article and who runs the informative 'American in Athens' blog, by far the best site i have ever seen that answers the questions that civil servants won't answer.

As a result of this publicity I have had to clean up this site, make it nice and neat... adding tabs, cleaning up the links (thanks Hans) etc... because now all of a sudden i have visitors :)
If i was true Greek housewife of the old school, this would never have happened.

If you ever step inside any Greek home you will be immediately hit by the smell of chlorine and detergent. Greek homes are always kept in a constant state of cleanliness ever ready to greet guests, be they friends or strangers. When a relative, in-law or friend visits, the house will automatically be graded and the results communicated through a mysterious mothers info hotline 'And would you believe it' a mother would say ' i found dust behind the cabinet, apa pa pa!'. This was annoying as kid as it felt as though i was constantly living in a guest home, oh how i envied the other kids who could do as they liked in their own home.

Despite Greek mothers obsession with chlorine and cleanliness however, the sad truth is that it usually ends where the property ends. Once you step out of the disinfectant zone that is their residence, you find yourself on the public streets of Athens, where cigarette butts, dog/cat food and rubbish bags abound. This reflects a strange dichotomy among Athenians. Ever proud of their personal cleanliness (i am serious, bugs are scared of entering these places) public property is unfortunately treated in some cases as a public dump. No, not all of Athens is like that. Go to the expensive suburbs and you risk being swept up by the cleaning machines.

Its just that there are so many historic and beautiful buildings and even a few parks in Athens that i just wish that they were all taken care of the same way as the inside of private houses were. Now that would be something to brag about.
Maybe we should just privatise these places, give them to Greek mothers and say that the In-laws are coming, now there's an idea...


Unknown said...

I have some Greek friends with Turkish in-laws, shall I send them over..))
Istanbul is more polluted and maintenance of historic buidings: no money...((
Maybe there the EU have to step in..))
But Turkish in laws, holy smokes, they clean and you have to eat tons of food (and liquor..)) before they are happy..)) But am I happy then?

Rositta said...

That's funny actually, my MIL also has mothballs everywhere. We are coming for 6 weeks and I'm already having nightmares. I hope we find somewhere else to say. I really thought that they had cleaned things up for the Olympics, did it go back to same old, same old? ...ciao

Vassili - Mike said...

Hans - Hehehe sounds the same here, every time i visit relatives i gain a few kilo's! You cant leave if you haven't drunk and eaten for a legion!

Hi Rositta! Unfortunately it did go back. Greece is a bit like me, a truant child who needs constant supervision, otherwise, vooom, back to the old ways! Thank goodness CNN or the BBC which puts out a report and suddenly roads get fixed, works get done, then back to the slow pace...

CaliforniaKat said...

Ela Vassili, I wanted to drop by and thank you for your compliment and comments. I like the topics you present and your unique view. You write with humor and insight on things in which I cannot speak intelligently about, and I think it's great!


super hero said...

you can see the exact same manner in istanbul strets too.

Vassili - Mike said...

Sigh... Thanks Super Hero for your honesty, but sometimes for Some people its just enough if someplace is worse, instead of looking at being better, Tell us its better! Shame us into changing :)