in Greece 2015

Going underwater vs. taking a bath


Scenes from the pre-#Grexit front, clockwise from middle left: Pork gyro plate at a souvlaki stand, €6; graffiti in Greece speaks English and HBO; the cafes are full as ever; the lines outside the ATMs are also as long as ever.

συνηθίζω (seen-ee-THEEZ-oh) – v.: I get used to; I become accustomed to

CHANIA, July 8 – Greeks take siestas. Many stores close at 2 and reopen at 6; it’s a schedule I’ve finally adopted. (Now I know where my night-owl tendencies come from: they’re genetic.) 

And this is because Greece is in the Aegean and the Mediterranean. The temperature tomorrow will hit 85 degrees, but it’s already hot enough that I don’t want to do anything after 2 pm.

It’s not just the heat and the beachy humidity. I’m in two weeks of intensive lessons in intermediate Greek. Every morning I go for three hours of nothing but Greek. Anyone who’s ever tried learning a new language that way knows it’s a lot of work. It takes significant energy to think

But then I walk outside and into a city where everyone is still speaking that language. While that was, of course, the main idea behind my trip, I underestimated how much toll it would take. Luckily, siestas. 
Increasingly, I am incensed by the Eurozone. Angela Merkel’s government is clearly trying to punish Greece; there’s no other way to look at it. Greeks have the longest workweek in the EU. And Germany has never, ever paid its debts. But God forbid they should cut Greece some slack. If Greek governments were spendthrifts, the Eurozone is a payday-loan company. The banks in Greece will stay closed now as the endgame plays out this week. If there is not an agreement by this Sunday, Greece will have no choice but to start issuing IOUs.

But as of now, the only sign here is the lines in front of every ATM. I am eating the famously delicious foods of Greece and paying noticeably less than I would back home. The city is hopping. I think it’s time I went for a swim in the sea; soon enough, many people near me are going to be taking a big ol’ bath. Will it be the natives, or their guests?