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Me and my straw hat through the empty streets of Greece’s news landscape

Second day of the mini heat wave in Athens. 36° Celsius short before 3 pm. It is slightly better than yesterday, when temperature reached 39 C at 3:30 early in the afternoon. A very weak wind has started to blow through the foliage of my plants in the balcony, a sign that breathing may be back in operation again.

Being out on the streets or in a public transport means at this time of the day is the hell. Not that earlier in the day, things are much better. We melt. from morning to the night and the other way around.

straw hat

Last month, I bought a straw hat. When I have to “fix things” I put it on my head and slender through the boiling streets and the summer-lazy public and private offices – like a Greek style Queen of Africa. I go out as early in the morning as possible – which is normally around 10 o’ clock. However my efforts to “fix things” are often in vain. Most employees in public and private businesses have entered their summer vacations. Their customers as well. No queues but also no customer service. Walking in the sun is in vain.

Athens in August looks very much like an abandoned city. The peak of the Greek waste land comes in the middle of the month when the last residents flee Athens taking advantage of the long “weekend” around the Virgin Mary holiday, on the 15th.

During these days even the strays and the cats have moved away, together with the birds and the bees. Only the cockroaches stay behind and the mosquitoes. And those who can’t leave the city for whatever the reason.

Under the given circumstances, I find it difficult to work. Especially when I have been around to fix things and return home at noon, in the peak of the heat.

Interesting or important news seem to have melted under the hot Greek sun. Many media outlets have even stopped their information magazines, the journos teams enjoy a long summer break. Information magazines are then substituted with some old Greek films who were produced apparently before the cinema was invented. The half-mummified Greek audience has to undergo repetition of TV-series with …Christmas Carols and US-series so damned old that the protagonist who was in his 30’s back then is now a respectable 70- or 75-year-old.

A big yawn for the Greek television landscape

Only the dull agenda of Government did X – Opposition said Y is able to survive the 39 degrees. This kind of agenda is an all times classic, sustainable till the end of the days whether in spring, summer, winter and fall.

Today’s example on how to make a wing out of a single hair split was this morning’s news that the anarchist group Rouvikonas had uploaded on internet a “confidential document from the Foreign Ministry.” The document was referring to an official complaint by Ankara to an incident where the same anarchist group had thrown paint at the walls of the Turkish Embassy in Athens.

To make the long story of 1001 scenarios about who leaked the “confidential document” short I summarize: the first suspicion fell on employees at the Foreign Ministry, allegedly ‘sympathetic to the anarchist group’. The second suspicion claimed that “the Greek police was on alert as the document was leaked by someone at the Police.” Hours later, in late afternoon, it turns out that the “confidential document” was included in the charge file against the Rouvikonas leader who was arrested a couple of days ago.

I suppose, the opposition condemned the government for the leakage, and thousands of Tweets were written about the connection between government officials, public employees and the anarchists. But I was out, so I missed the party. I missed the sheer paranoia of Greek political scene.

A big yawn for Greek politics. Bigger than a double glass full with ice-cold, sweet and milky frappe.

Under the given circumstances, I often fall victim to an old fantasy of mine, a fantasy that returns every July and August: an expedition cruise in and around the north pole or nearby –  with an ice breaker. Every summer and around this time I have the same fantasy. To have my nose exposed in the freezing cold, be surrounded by ice plates and the glacial blue sea. Ice Age Part One, Part Two and Three. Every year around this time I surf through the internet and dream. Every time around this year all expeditions with the ice-breaker are fully booked. Thank Goodness. I cannot afford a 30,000-plus-euro trip anyway.

So I stay at home, enjoy a swim here and then, some sun tan. And I slender through the empty streets with my airy white dresses and my straw hat.

hat 012

However, my constant problem every summer is this: I can’t stand air conditioning and hats. Oh. And sun-glasses.

PS So, I may try to rummage in the cellar for that old paper-thin umbrella with beautiful colors ad flowers from Japan  – so if you see me on the streets, please, introduce yourself as my reader 🙂

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  1. costa sakellariou

    i remember living in brahami and watching papandreou’s funeral…40C. we would be under a wet sheet with the ceiling fan – home made AC…even the cat was under the cover! then we discovered an old american show on EPT 1 called northern exposure that was set in alaska…that made us feel cooler!

  2. I used to open the door of the refrigerator and stay there until blissfully my outraged mother chased me away.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      lol – a friend of mine used to do that

      • My first trip to Greece, about 1965 I think, I arrived in the middle of a heatwave. Happily the flight landed at midnight and the temperature was only 32C: even so, when the doors opened it was like walking into an oven for a British person with no experience of hot countries. So, the converse of opening the refrigerator door seems very sensible (other than the problem that the food will go off!).

      • How about putting a bowl of ice cubes in front of a ventilator? Or at night, put some of these cooling blocks that you put in the freezer in your bed? (you know, the ones you use to keep stuff cool in a beach box).

  3. Ah yes, I hate aircon too. I prefer fans. Of course, when the air is hot, they don’t provide much relief. I tend to jump in the shower and not dry off – the fan works great then!

    It tends to be a little cooler here in Kerkyra, but I’ve recently bought a house in Patras, and it feels a lot hotter there in the city. We’ll just have to get used to it, as we’re moving there soon. Even my wife is complaining about the heat there, and she comes from Thailand. ??? She tells me ‘it’s a different type of heat’. Dunno, when we’re in Bangkok, it feels pretty damn hot to me!

    • keeptalkinggreece

      summer heat knows no borders 🙂

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      Something is totally wrong here and against nature as air condition was invented by filthy squatters who squatted a whole continent that is obviously too hot for theses Ottoman like douche-bags that keep away freedom from America since more than 400 years

    • See above. Put ice cubes in front of your ventilator. It will blow some cold air into your room.