Yours truly escaped from the credit crunch, his computer keyboard and endless work hassles to get some much-needed relaxation in the Greek island of Crete last week. I can strongly recommend it, although not all aspects of life in that island are an unalloyed joy (they seem to assume that British tourists want chips with everything). I noticed that the locals have an agreeably “f**k you” approach to things like any smoking bans in restaurants, at least judging by my own observations. And I noticed that the driving standards have not improved much since I was last in Greece in 1992. A taxi driver who took me and the missus to the airport held a mobile phone in his hand, had innumerable phone calls and was busily texting his wife/mistress/whoever during a drive down a twisty lane. At one point I even suggested that this might not be a bright idea. I might as well have been talking to a martian.
Of course, such things are foolish and silly. And using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous. But maybe what has happened is not that the Greeks have got any nuttier or more reckless. It is that we Brits have, wittingly or otherwise, become even more safety conscious and worried about risk. Sometimes it takes a passage of time and a contrast with another culture to realise that.