The Greeks call themselves the children of God.
Furthermore they say that they are the best lovers in the world, the greatest philosophers, the best epicures, and if you could live without working, the Greeks will be the first to do so.
I have never experienced a nation that enjoy living each day as it comes, today is today, tomorrow is another day.
For us Dutch people this is difficult and sometimes hard to get used to. Imagine having this attitude, when you know that you will not have food for tomorrow. Well, this trouble is unknown to them, the next day they are just as happy with a self-caught fish, some cucumber and some small glasses of home-made raki!
Furthermore the Greeks think that all Europeans stem from, in some-way, the Greeks. For the basis of our European art, our laws, our literature and our religion originate from the Greek culture. Only with the Turks it is different, they say. This is the only nationality they’d rather see leave than come to Greece.
They don’t use other nationalities in their jokes; they use other Greeks for this purpose. Inhabitants of one island, for example, have a better feeling of themselves than those of the other islands. They also like to make jokes of the Pontier (inhabitants of Pontus at the Black Sea). They grab every opportunity to tell those people that is not necessary to throw corn on the landing strip because the big bird will land without it.
It goes without saying that the Greeks are individualists. Every attempt to co-operate is doomed to fail in advance. However,saying that, it is a fact that during the many occupations the Greeks were acting as one front.
As written before, the Greeks can foremost enjoy life; they manage to make everything in life as pleasant as possible. Even in situations in which other (non Greek) people would get depressed, the Greeks manage to see the bright side of things.
Holidays are very important to them, but organizing these is a different matter all together. The consequences are, that during the two weeks around Christmas, the Easter holidays, the Bank holidays and the two weeks around the 15th of August, the country comes to an almost standstill. Also private matters are important. Don’t be at all surprised that, when in need of a certain civil- official (of whom no replacement ofcourse is available) in the beginning of December, his colleagues will tell you with pokerfaces, that the man is not there, because he is picking his olives!
If you were to count all the Greek men in the coffee corners (kafenio’s) during the day and evening, you could be asking yourself if anyone is working at all in this country.
Furthermore the Greeks don’t need a lot of income, because many of them own a house, often have two cars and seem to have everything they really need.
Greece is without a doubt one of the poorest countries in Europe, but can also count more millionaires among its inhabitants than any other country, which ofcourse makes us wonder about things.
Useful tips for visitors of Crete.
Never start a discussion with a Greek about things you consider bad of Greece (Crete), like the environment for instance.
Never tell a Greek that things are better organized in your own country.
There is only one kind of music: the Greek music.
Only one kind of wine is the best: the Greek wines, etc. etc.
When you are invited for a drink or something to eat, don’t offer to pay or go Dutch. It is even a kind of sport between the Greeks themselves to determine who is allowed to pay. They can sometimes “quarrel” about this for 15 minutes.
When you make an appointment, this will always be in the morning, in the afternoon or in the evening, so never at a certain time. An appointment at 10.30 hrs will be considered as, somewhere between 10 and 11 hrs. “Avrio” means tomorrow in Greek, but in theory it means: not today.
One good piece of advice: When you have an appointment and find a closed door, if accompanied by children, ask them to try the door, in many cases the door will open for them!