04 April 2012


I was going to title it 'saroko slalom'.

Was breezing thru there this morning with someone I drove yonks back when i first arrived.

"Goodness, you're fluent"

'Whad're u mean?'

"Dont u remember? You were very very bad tempered, kept telling me to shut up so you could concentrate, then you just froze and said 'right thats it, im going to stop here and when the fuzz come to move me on, i'll sit here and tell him, no, you werent moving until the rest of them learnt to drive.

now look at you, slip sliding away like a proper greek.'

I had to laugh. She was right. It all came back to me and as i 'read' the saroko traffic i saw it all as it had been 6 years ago.

Coming from Seattle, i was used to 'polite' traffic, playing by rules, deferring .... holding back, chickening out.

Today as i drove us - she from NW6, out for a week and endearingly nerveuse - it was as a 4-lane highway, every car and pedestrian clearly readable. The scales had fallen.

Maureen: "OK on the left, wait a minute, watch the van on the left, ok, wait where are you going ... the bus ... how come youre not telling me to shut up?"

So interesting how clear it is once one's used to it: the 'rules' are cast-iron.

  • The 'gait' of each vehicle tells one if it's a ditherer.
  • The set of ones eyebrows tells the car moving in from the right if you can be bullied.
  • Flash of lights or wave of imperious finger tell pedestrians when youre letting them cross which in turn alerts cars either side that youre man enough to give way - selectively.
  • Firm signaling: i am cutting across your bows, taking the coastal route ~ and that is it, mate
  • Iannou Theotoki (coastal) * Polichroniou Konstanta (hospital) * Don. Dimoulitsa (Psichiatriou Square)~ do you know how foreigners know them? "Tom, Dick, and Harry". Plebs.
  • Any fuzzmobiles trying to exit from the policier road, I flash them thru.

    Beeg mistake, usually. Everyone hates the fuzz and make a point of not letting them in, so it's like "That Nissan that let us in, pull him over. I want to check what he's got to hide."

  • Noir-garbed hags and papathes - fisika give way, and just hope youve lured some impatientus behind you to make the mistake of overtaking and taking them out.
  • Pretty girls - but of course.
  • Now n then one meets an equal who reads the turmoil good as you. Give way with a smile and a gesture.

    Chaos. Politesse? Oh poh poh. Poh poh, even.

    'No way, dude, im not fooled that easy. Wazza trick? You go first.

    Opah! Dunno what yer game is, but no way am i gonna let you let me in. Hah! I win.'

    At the lights opposite the old port, by the Atlantis, beware out-of-state plates: they nevah start on time on green.

    At the left-turn to Profi, you can take the slip road (wrong way) up to Lidl and enter (again wrong way) their car park. Anyone who honks - usually during the season when we're surrounded by grockles - drive on, making a twirly Greek gesture and mouthing 'frigging tourists'. They get it.

    Maureen: "Ever been over by the police?"

    Often. In fact, right at the lights i just jumped, i went thru red so late they were almost green again. Oops, officer Mitropanos was lurking and as soon as i saw the flashing lights i pulled over. He got out, brutal face, incredulous expression, expansive arms-wide ... i got out:

    "I know! I cannot believe. Almost green again. So dangerous!"

    He showed me the book where it said €700 ...

    "I know! So dangerous! I see the light, i am driving fast already, i start to brake and all the things i buy for mother go crash - these Nissan, useless everything go crash on floor, i think oh poh poh mama will be so angry"

    i have all my papers ready incl showing that the car belongs to mum and her residents permit.

    This your mother car? ... she is 90?

    Sad shake of head. 'She will be soo angry, and now this'

    Brutal Fuzz: i make ticket to show you going at 60; if you pay in one week, is half. (we all have mums, maybe not all 90)

    I thank him, he nods.

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