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A week in Crete

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.

4 comments to A week in Crete

  • Mart

    I had similar thoughts myself while in Indonesia, being driven at 100mph in a car with no seatbelts while passing a man driving on a gutted lorry that was little more than a trailer without a cab – just a driver’s seat. At first, worry…then you just relax and feel free 🙂

  • Gib

    The Israeli taxi drivers are the same. Always on the phone, non-hands free.

  • RAB

    There seems to be a Smite blockage on this thread.

  • James

    Despite some bizarre and draconian laws (there was a huge uproar over online gaming from Internet cafés a few years ago, because of Greece’s gaming laws), the Greeks have a generally admirable approach to their relationship with the state.

    They have relatively few CCTV cameras, as a result of a visceral loathing of the invasion of people’s privacy.

    The approach to policing on the islands tends to be quite lax. Blind eyes are turned, so long as you aren’t out of favour and aren’t causing anybody any trouble. You are free to mind your own business. It’s a double-edged sword, though, as anybody who has been a victim of domestic abuse in Greece will tell you. Domestic abuse has tended to be policed ‘domestically’.