15 December 2008, by David
I guess my earlier post about the riots in Greece over the last week was reaching for a heavy “editorial” slant (I had a brief career as a would-be journalist nearly 10 years ago…), and a few people have since been asking us what our specific, personal experience was like and how things are now.
So here goes, a more personal recollection and post-chaos update, with apologies to the folks who already got a variation on this via email replies – but hey, think of it as you having got the exclusive story first! (there’s the old newsman in me again…)
Chania wasn’t as deep in it as Athens or Thessaloniki (1st and 2nd biggest Greek cities respectively). There were street protests in and around the city center, but nothing really violent. Continue reading Witness To The Revolution (sorta) »
Posted in Greece, tagged with 2008, Chania, civil unrest, Crete, Greece, riots, and garnering no comments - come on!
11 December 2008, by David
Widespread corruption. Political scandals. Unpopular reforms. High unemployment. Low wages. For many Greeks already harboring serious grievances and anger against their government, the police shooting of a 15-year old boy may have simply been the last straw.
The situation here was, in many ways, a tinderbox. News reports about the riots of the last week have focused on the spark that ignited the flame. But a country doesn’t just rip itself apart overnight. The underlying causes run deep, and perhaps it was only a matter of time before deteriorating public sentiment exploded into protests and violence.
In the ensuing melee, dozens of people have been injured, businesses have been looted, banks smashed, and hundreds of properties torched in cities throughout the country. Even here in Chania on the “holiday island” of Crete, there were street protests including some that turned destructive. Continue reading Righteous Anger But No Justice In Greece »
Posted in Greece, tagged with 2008, civil unrest, Greece, riots, and garnering 3 comments so far!
23 August 2008, by David
Ahh… it’s been a while. It’s summer. We’ve been busy. Busy in Greece isn’t exactly the same thing as busy back home (or anywhere else really), but as with most things it is more a matter of perspective.
We certainly manage to keep ourselves busy in the more traditional sense: Kristy is (still!) working on her thesis, and I’ve got chunks of client web design work coming in plus some ongoing personal projects. So we’ve got enough work to, well, keep us busy.
But as they say out here, you work to live – as opposed to the “live to work” attitude that seems prevalent elsewhere. More simply, all work and no play makes TKD a boring pair – so here’s a quick update on some of our more recent avocational activities.
Kendrodasos, beach camping
First, a quick mention (which does it no justice) must be made of a trip we took in May to one of the most beautiful beaches on Crete.
Kedrodasos (literally “Cedar Forest” in English) is near Elafonissi in southwestern Crete. This was the perfect way to say goodbye to our good friend Stephane, who left Crete soon afterwards. Ata and our dear koumbaros Yiorgos joined us for the camping trip. Really, this deserves more than my words can convey – some photos and a video will have to do.
The Spice of Life
Friends are the spice of life, and summer nights should always be generously seasoned with plenty of quality time with good friends. We’ve hosted several parties at our flat in Chania with many of the usual suspects, as well as enjoying the occasional night out wandering the harbor and local tavernas.
There have of course been numerous trips to the beaches in and around Chania, but time is just as well spent meandering through the empty, quiet streets of the old town while the rest of the populace is taking their mid-day nap.
One Year Anniversary
One Year Anniversary BBQ
With July came our one year wedding anniversary on the 5th, celebrated in proper Greek fashion with lots of friends joining us for lots of food. The BBQ party that night included the introduction of marshmallow s’mores
to our friends not familiar with this all-American treat. Nothing like cross-cultural education
August has been trucking along. We took an incredible camping trip to Balos beach on Gramvousa peninsula, celebrated Kristy’s birthday, and had an always wonderful visit by our dear Koumbaros Christos… but I believe these more recent events can be given greater attention in future posts.
Suffice it to say, summer in Crete has been another season in paradise and we don’t want it to end any time soon.
Posted in Greece, Party Time, This Fabulous Life, Travel, tagged with Chania, Crete, Greece, Kedrodasos, summer, and garnering 1 comment - thanks, Mom!
19 July 2008, by Kristy
I have been avoiding writing about the food here…probably because I spend all my days thinking about it for my thesis. But now that the end is in sight, I thought it would make sense to talk a little about what I have been doing with my days.
My thesis supposes that the food system of Crete is well situated to be a model of sustainability — at least for κηπευτικά (fruits and vegetables grown in the field). The farms on Crete are small (never larger than two hectares or four acres) and diverse (usually a farm will have an area for trees – olives and citrus fruit – and fields for vegetables as well as some chickens and goats or lamb for household use). And, since it is an island, the great majority of the food consumed here is produced here. That’s not to say Greece is without problems; chemical fertilizer and pesticide use has increased significantly, especially in the last 10 years. And with the ever rising price of oil, these petrochemicals are getting more and more costly and farmers are finding it harder and harder to make a profit. With this study, I am looking into ways to keep farming profitable in this changing food system, while maintaining the positive aspects of production.
All that being said, Dave and I try to do our part to support the local farmers, who are usually somewhere between 55-70 years old. We buy all of our fruits and vegetables from the λαϊκή αγορά (literally translated it means ‘common market’ and is the equivalent of a farmers’ market). This is certainly a mutually beneficial relationship; the farmers get a good price, quality of the food far surpasses what we find in any of the supermarkets, and it is still cheap for us.
These few photos are examples of what we normally bring home…the first from March of this year, the next from June and this last one we took this morning. We usually spend between €4-7 and get enough fruits and vegetables to last the week. And, while I am a little sorry to say this since I love all my NY farmer friends, with the exception of tomatoes, these are the best tasting fruits and vegetables I have ever had. I just don’t think NY can compete with the perfect climate and fertile, volcanic soil of this island.
Posted in Farming, Food, Greece, School, This Fabulous Life, tagged with Crete, farmers market, Farming, Food, Greece, sustainability, sustainable agriculture, and garnering no comments - come on!
11 May 2008, by Kristy
So I broke another toe… but we also discovered that paradise is only a two-hour bus ride, four-hour (nauseating) boat ride, and hour and a half walk in the heat. Which, if you think about it, isn’t too bad for paradise.
This past week, we spent four days on the island of Gavdos, which is a small (10 sq. miles) island off the south coast of the rather large Crete.
Before I get into it, I want to clarify the notion of paradise… if you are thinking thatched roofed bungalows and five star restaurants, forget it. This is paradise Greek style: total isolation, little to no modern luxuries, and almost near abandonment.
There is a boat from Crete to Gavdos twice a week, if it comes, and only about 50 people live on the island. But from the golden sandy beaches flanked by juniper spotted dunes you can see the outline of Crete from the north and Africa from the south. The clear water on the boat ride there is the purest blue and it gives way to something reminiscent of an iceberg as you approach the shore of Gavdos.
At the port, the ferry is greeted by a handful of the locals (a.k.a. half of the island’s population) collecting supplies or visitors. The flurry of activity and excitement at the arrival of the ferry solidifies how remote this island really is; it seems greeting the boat is really the only thing to do.
A walk around the island – which is possible to accomplish in a few hours — will introduce you to just about every resident in Gavdos. One of our friends in one excursion met the lighthouse keeper, the baker, and everyone else that came on the boat with us. They all greeted him with smiles and enough raki that he was found (by our other friends who were driving by with the guy who runs the Gavdos radio station) swaying down one of the roads of the island.
My clumsiness prevented us from taking any excursions, so we spent the days enjoying the beach and exploring the semi-permanent structures occupied by the modern nomads who live on the beach. We were happy on the beach, but feel like we missed a few things. So, as the toe-healing is well underway, we begin again plans to return to Gavdos and practice our own life as modern nomads.
Posted in Greece, This Fabulous Life, Travel, tagged with beaches, Crete, Gavdos, Greece, Travel, and garnering 1 comment - thanks, Mom!