Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Night of the living mosquito

people don't talk enough about mosquitos on the mediterranean - maybe they just have more to talk about....  Every night one or two mozzies come and suck my blood and buzz in my ear.  its not as romantic as it sounds.
My boyfriend has become a savage mosquito hunter, and there are blood stains on our head board and the wall.  as for me i act as the look-out and find them hiding camouflaged on the wallpaper.  

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Orthodox Easter

This week is Orthodox Easter, and until this evening it looked like a week where everyone uses their holiday time to hit the shops...scarcely one woman could be seen without a shopping bag or three draped off her arm...stores were open all day, siestas were forgotten....

But then this evening my cynicism was given a shake, when we went on a walk and were sort of called up a hill by the chanting from a beautiful white Orthodox Church.
The chanting was very beautiful and loud, and there were lots of people standing outside the Church like us...just listening , or waiting for the procession, which would come out carrying the effigy of Christ.
we missed the procession as our hunger pains and gurgling stomachs called us back down the hill into baser activities.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

no where to go...

The NGO responsible for the rights of trafficked women found in Athens told me they don't have a safe-house for victims in Athens. What would it take to find a secure home for the victims?

Meanwhile the girls are granted police protection only if they testify against the traffickers, they must bring forth evidence against the criminals involved, and most of the girls actually know very little about the criminal organisation.
Further there are very few victims identified by police.
The NGO's main activity seems to be "awareness campaigns"and maintaining a network between countries of origin and destination countries.
We can consider further effective action with all of this EU money : a comfortable secure "safe house" for a start, extensive medical care and therapy.
How about changing the law on prostitution to be more in line with Swedish law prosecuting those who purchase sex? Going to a prostitute should be considered one of the most violent forms of physical abuse and a crime.
However the statistics show that prostitution is accepted in Greece, with about 1 million males visiting prostitutes, that is half of the male sexually active population.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An Afghan Welcome

On arriving in Greece from Italy, outside the docked boat, there were dozens of young men origin unknown, very poor and dishevelled. and not speaking Greek.  They sat on the ground in a line.  They were literally the first people I saw in Greece, and now only a few months later, their welfare is a top priority for the UNHCR and European Commission.  

They seemed to be waiting, for what I couldn't tell. But now it all comes together, they must have been from Afghanistan, and perhaps waiting to go to Italy.  This article explains the dire situation for Afghan migrants, many of them children, in Patras... they stay there with the bare minimum,  one last stop after a long, harrowing journey.  They had a make-shift camp, but the police tore it down to leave them without shelter.  They are under threat from police abuse and traffickers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

turn on the light and stop!

Roads here in Athens are lethal, and just when it seems safe to cross the road, a red sports car or angry yellow taxi cab hurtles at you, and you can almost detect the glint in the driver's eye, shining with some sadistic pleasure at seeing you jog in high heels to the other side of the road.

that sums up my afternoon.  traffic lights are very difficult to find, by the time a pedestrian makes the detour to the nearest traffic light they are pondering grand philosophical questions...

there is one usefully placed traffic light in my neighbourhood, however the vegetation has grown over the light, so the cars don't notice it anyway,, which makes the whole set-up very dangerous.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

More Precious than Gold, more uplifting than Prozac

Here is a riddle,

in a new city, where you don't speak the language, and where there are many who want nothing more than to make a fast euro. and tear up the bathrooom..what is the most precious thing of all???

a wonderful, dependable electrician and plumber! And today, he woke me up bright and early (its a Sunday!), and fixed the boiler within an hour. he was funny he made jokes - it was great!
Though, he did tell me that this boiler is ancient -- 22 years old, if you convert boiler years to human years its like 92 years old. it's a grandfather of an appliance.
but tell that to our landlord, she couldn't give a hoot.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Everyone's an expert....

(above is Lemonis, in action on the football field, whilst today he was taking a long time over his coffee, three seats away from me).

Two days ago, there was a long drawn-out debate on Olympiakos' outstanding defeat 4-0, to Aik.  Discussions on Greek football take on complex dimensions and last until its time to sleep or eat with a full mouth.
Just before this record defeat, the Olympiakos' coach was fired, without a reason, and yet he was considered to be one of the best coaches the team has ever had, taking Olympiakos to win a Champions League away game for the first time.

So, who would I sit next to today, but the former Olympiakos coach - Lemonis!?!  

Once again, like with the Panionios players, my partner didn't tell me until it was too late and I had already made a fuss about the distance between the table and the seats, and asked to move across the room, before we had a chance to listen in....although some lines of the conversation were picked up by my boyfriend's supersonic Ears.  

Like any newly unemployed person, he was discussing job opportunities with some teams, while sipping coffee, smoking, and eyeing up women.