Thanks to those of you who have expressed concern about my pending visit to Greece. FYI, I try to keep tabs on events where I am living or intend to live, so I’ve been keeping track of the financial turmoil in Greece. My main concern, however, is how it affects on-the-ground prices, not any hostility/rioting concerns. I’m reminded of an event from my past, when I was editor of American City & County magazine at Communications Channels in Atlanta.
I believe it was in 1986. One of my staff, Tim, was in San Francisco for a trade show when the area was hit by a devastating earthquake. It was so bad, they had to cancel/postpone (?) the World Series. Bridges were knocked down, overpasses collapsed on one another, water and sewer systems were damaged. It was a catastrophe.
I talked with Tim the day after the quake and his initial response was to get the heck out of there, to find the first plane back to Atlanta. Tim is a good journalist but the event had clearly shaken him. From my perch in safety I had a different perspective. “Tim,” I said, “you’re sitting on perhaps the biggest story of your young career, and it’s made to order for our magazine.”
American City & County’s chief area of coverage was about infrastructure – roads, bridges, water supply, sewage handling, disaster preparedness. San Francisco was, after the quake, a huge case study on all those topics. So, I asked Tim to stay and to canvas the local public works departments to write about their responses to the infrastructure collapse. He understood the moment he was in and ultimately turned in some fine coverage, which was our cover story for the next issue.
I bring that up only to illustrate that a journalist doesn’t run away from trouble. He/she runs toward the story, pen and/or recorder in hand, ready to document the moment. In other words, the trouble in Greece should only cause me to WANT to go there, to document some of what is happening, to take notes and photos to share with others. Otherwise, what have I been doing for the past 44 years? As long as the situation does not seriously increase the costs of going to Greece.
I have found an Internet expat forum for Nafplio, Greece, (http://www.placesonline.com/europe/greece/nafplio/map.asp) where I plan to go and have posted about information and asking to meet anybody there that speaks English. We’ll see how that goes.
Came back from another fruitless fishing trip last night to find the landlord, Zdarko, shooting hoops in the side yard, which is a long, concrete-walled area primarily set up as a bocci ball court. So I put on my tennies and went out to see if he wanted a game. Turns out my shoulder won’t let me shoot baskets anymore but I did try my hand at bocci. Zdarko was anxious to teach me how and then “schooled” me to the tune of 11-1.
He was anxious, also, to talk. He works four days a week as an IT consultant and I think right now his client is a bank, just like one of my Atlanta friends. On Fridays, he says, he’s working on his Ph.D. He asked if I liked wine and then said he would get me some of theirs they made from last year’s grapes and some from this year’s crop. He also has 150 olive trees just outside of town and makes olive oil from them. He’s going to get me some of that, too. Wine and oil reviews later.
Zdarko also told me about the islands across the strait, how I can take a ferry for $2 to get to the first one, where there’s two small villages of stone houses centuries old. The ferry also goes to two other islands. He said the fishing might be better out there and that, at any rate, the fishing probably is bad because it’s still too warm. The ferry/island trip sounds like a good day trip very soon.
I’m still trying to line up an apartment in Dubrovnik for my final month in Croatia. Found one a bit too far from the water and without Internet. Still waiting on several that have not responded. The old town section there is really unique (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU7zn1A1iJs&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=SP0EB470C05638A8B9).
I do my shopping at a Konzum store that I pass by every day on my morning walk. Actually, I usually stop there most mornings to get a few things. They have a fresh produce section and a unique way (in Croatia) of bagging and weighing your fruit and vegetables. Actually, the bagging is pretty straightforward. Each vegetable/fruit, however, has its own ID number, listed right next to the price (usually per kilogram). You weigh your own purchases by placing the item on the scale and then pressing the corresponding number for the item. So if red peppers are #64, you press that number on the scale, and a sticker with the price on it pops out to be placed on the purchase. Pretty efficient self-service.