Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Things I wish would go on strike

1. Barking dogs

2. Finger-pointing

3. Greek radio stations playing the same 25 songs, and MadTV showing the same 25 videos

4. Pulsing house music on my street at 3 a.m.

5. The five phone calls/day from my fiancé’s father trying to close us for Pascha — He’s a sweet man, but come on!

6. People who say they support strikers but don’t know why

7. Rising cost of living and price gouging

8. Chicky chicky noises from men in passing cars

9. Farting gorilla commercials

10. Westerners outside Greece telling me, “Smile, it can’t be that bad”

True, it’s not the end of the world, it just smells like it. ;)

* Feel free to add your own


  The Scorpion wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 00:56

One of my beefs: Just seen earlier this evening on Mesogion Ave. Policemen not marshaling a traffic accident with possibly fatal injuries, but rather standing on the side of the road bullshi**ing when they could be keeping the rubberneckers away from the paramedics trying to save victims of the car crash. I almost wanted to scream as I walked past it earlier and say, “What if it was your mom?” Would you like a bunch of gawkers oogling you while you are holding on to dear life?

Greek police: Please maintain a cordon. Please watch any US Police show on TV for an example if you are not sure how.

  FMS wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 02:11

I was trying to explain earlier today to a visiting foreign policeman friend exactly what it is that the Greek police do. You know? I ran out of things to explain… He had asked the question after noticing that they didn’t seem to be doing anything…

  λ:ηρ wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 04:32

@Scorpion: a cordon would require extra work wouldn’t it? Thus police must be paid a cordon-supplement and said supplement should be tiered to the length of said cordon. Do you think the taxpayers would agree to such spending just because you want to feel like you are in the setting of Hill Street Blues? No, we have better things to waste our money on (e.g., paying the salary of a secretary of education who believes every hoax he reads on the internet!)

@FMS: you are truly unfair with the Greek police. Do you know how much hard work is it for them, to keep the frappe foam in that plastic cup they are holding firm and frothy for so many hours? C’mon, give credit where credit is due!

  Henry wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 05:48

Hi, you’ve got a very informative and interesting blog. Can I please link to it?

  dubaibilly wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 06:56

Motor cyclists who park in the narrow streets of Skopelos in the wee small hours of the morning and insisting on revving their engine to max revs before turning it off!

  Cheryl wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 08:39

How about those who offer unsolicited advice? “why don’t you…you should….you’ll get cold if…”

Classic case yesterday at the pediatrician’s office: A woman in the waiting room looks at the baby and says, “Your baby is sick. Look, her eyes are red — she should see the doctor”…Um, really?

  EllasDevil wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 12:28

Smile guys… just think… it’ll soon be summer. Then the trash strikes will really make us sick.

Something to look forward to (!)

  stathis957 wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 13:43

thank god it is over…

As for the pension reforms, my view is that what the government proposed are not a solution but just a way to keep a patient alive for 5 more years by making funds that have no problem problematic…

  Peter wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 15:48

Just watched the Greek news (media were on strike too) and everyone’s “back to work” as in at their jobs, doing everything but working! ;)

  FMS wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 17:02

The real problem in Greece is that there is no work ethic. This is for cultural [religion] and historical [Ottoman and no industry] reasons. The obvious solution is for the state to try to create one, by rewarding people for serious work and non-rewarding [even punishing] others who do their jobs badly or not at all. Ha! Some hope…

  Kat wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 17:56

The S and FMS – See Leo’s comment. LOL!

L – Haha! Especially the part about the cordon supplement. Classic.

H – Yes, anyone is free to add me and thank you for coming by!

DB – That’s an excellent point. My neighbor used to talk to someone else while revving the motor, so then we’d get to hear both yelling and revving. Why not turn off the motor and speak in a normal voice? We’re so illogical.

C – LMAO! That should be number 1 on the list! Masters of the obvious. I was also thinking about that story you told about opening the window and having your neighbor say, “Your bushes need trimming.” How nice. I bet you’d also like to add, “relatives sleeping over at my house, when they only live a half hour away.” ;)

ED – Ah, you bring up fragrant memories of 2006 when it was 46C outside and we had to breathe through our shirts to walk down the street after a 10-day strike. Ergh!

S – That’s good because I’ve got strike fatigue. And did it accomplish anything? I also believe that reform alone will not solve anything; owed contributions need to be collected, responsible investment of funds, stopping corruption…ah, too much. But yesterday I needed comic relief, which is the reason I made the list.

P – That’s the funniest thing to me. Most people who “work” aren’t productive, so I think one’s pension should be determined not just by one’s presence, but actual productivity. I do more and earn much less than a public sector employee (there are a few exceptions), plus I and my fiance will never see/collect a red cent of the money we’ve been paying over the years. No sympathy from this household.

M – There’s a fine line between hope and denial, and it’s safe to say the list we created together is an impossible wish list.

  Dora wrote @ March 21st, 2008 at 21:39

I get such a kick out of your blog! The Greeks here, in NY, USA, try to act as if they are in Greece, ie: not working, but somehow they still gotta do it! What is it about living in Greece that people don’t have to work to make a living? Just cracks me up. Keep it up, I enjoy reading your thoughts.

  melusina wrote @ March 22nd, 2008 at 22:30

Ok, how have I missed the gorilla farting commercial?

And what *is* with the small playlists of Greek radio stations? There is a relatively decent station here in Thessaloniki that rotates constantly. At least they are mostly good songs, but geez. I guess the owners don’t want to pay for more licensing.

Me, I wish judgmental blog commenters would go on permanent strike.

  Zorba The Greek wrote @ March 24th, 2008 at 00:43

I swear, I wouldn’t go on strike for any damn thing! Hmm, except from one case: perhaps for a night with Angelina Jolie (just add that reason) ;).

  Kat wrote @ March 26th, 2008 at 10:58

D – The few Greeks I know in the USA, who complain about it all the time, tend to gripe about long hours (as if there are no long hours in GR) and say the only reason people have to do their job is because of the looming threat of being fired. I say, “What’s wrong with that?” If one is not motivated by money or personal pride to perform a hard day’s work, then they should be fired unlike the useless people here who get paid from our tax money and do not serve us, but keep their jobs for life. Thank you and I hope I can keep your interest in the future

M – Here’s the commercial:

I don’t think radio stations pay for licensing, I’m thinking they just have a recording, then rotate them with others or repeat them.

Also saw what your last sentence pertains to. The anonymity of the Internet unfortunately allows people to think that manners don’t apply if you’re not standing in front of them. I tend to believe someone’s site is their home, and it’s impolite for guests to bring in garbage. Then if you (the owner) reprimand or reply to them in a similar tone, you’re accused of being rude and aggressive. Go figure.

Z – LOL!

Dan/Lenos/Jeremy/Ioannis – I know who you work for and can easily report you to your boss, whom I’ve twice met in person — it’s not rocket science, you’ve left comments from your workplace several times before. Using your employer’s line to stalk someone and spread hate speech would designate you as an employee and not a private person, which then becomes their problem not just a matter of freedom of speech (which btw, isn’t upheld in GR). You are not covered under the U.S. freedom of speech, but I am. I also have a right to use software I’m given as part of this program to track people who misbehave on this site. The main point is, you didn’t keep your promise (the 5th) to not comment and never read this site again. Not a shock to me, but you have a problem, and it has nothing to do with me. I’m just the person you’ve chosen to take it out on. I urge you to seek help.

  The Scorpion wrote @ March 26th, 2008 at 13:59

I think Greek people sometimes strike because they are bored. I was trying to figure out why, as a whole, Americans don’t strike as much. I think it’s because we live such full lives in the States, i.e., We always have something going on (work, family outings, sports, education, fun parks, cinema, theater, etc.) or more important issues, who really has time for protests and politics? Notice, I didn’t say sit around in a cafe all day smoking cigarettes and whining!

In small countries like Greece, where safety and security are not truly guaranteed (i.e., Turkey next door, etc.), they are faced with dangers on a daily basis, and thus cannot really relax.

  AntigoneSis wrote @ March 26th, 2008 at 15:06

Adding to Cheryl’s comment…an occasional break from unsolicited advice on how to raise and care for your children would be nice. I know they mean well, but sometimes…

BTW, Kat, no plans to come to Greece anytime soon. Maybe NYC, though, for a mini-break :-) I hear my boy YK is gonna be there in May

  Karen wrote @ March 26th, 2008 at 18:33

I’d like all the people who say, “Ahh, but we have such beautiful weather in Greece”, and “in Greece we work to live, and in America you live to work” to all go on strike. Those comments really fire me up. There are plenty of other places in the world with nice weather (and let’s be honest, Greece can have excessive heat and bone chilling cold, especially in the older built houses). And yes, people do work alot of hours in the US, but at least they have something to show for it. In a decent area of Athens, you need more than half a million to buy a small 2-bedroom flat.

  Robert John wrote @ March 27th, 2008 at 15:41

At the celebration of Greek Independence Day at my wife’s church in Bethesda, MD, one of the speakers (He was a former diplomat -I can’t recall his title) said that “Greece is broken and it is time for another revolution”

  FMS wrote @ March 27th, 2008 at 16:44

I didn’t see a single Greek flag in my neighbourhood, which suggests that people this year have lost pride in Greece. One elderly person opposite our building had put up a flag late at night the day before Independence Day, and by the late morning of Independence Day had actually removed it!

  Dimitris wrote @ June 14th, 2009 at 16:27

Hi Kat, you can call the cops on noisy neighbours or businesses. It is called Κοινή Ησυχία (public peace/order/quiet) and it is protected at the following times of the day and night:

April to September: 15:00-17:30 and 23:00-07:00
October to March: 15:30-17:30 and 22:00-07:30

Consult the PDF files under ΚΟΙΝΗ ΗΣΥΧΙΑ at

Kat Reply:

That’s true, I know that, and thank you for the link. However, the police won’t even come when we call them for serious things like robberies. They laugh at us for calling about noisy neighbors, saying that’s how Greece is and hang up.

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