FIRA

Cash money can be a problem in Oia. The town I am staying in on Santorini. No one takes credit cards, with one exception. Car rentals. Restaurants, bars, hotels, stores, etc., do not. I am not sure it is the same in the other towns on Santorini. I assume it is.

I initially thought cash only so the merchants did not have to pay the 1 or 2 per cent to the credit card companies. Not the case. The purpose/reason is to beat taxes. Tax avoidance is a major sport in Greece. This is one of the reasons why Greece is broke. The government does not take in enough money to operate.

Arrests for tax fraud are rare. If so, the court process takes 10 years to complete. No one worries.

Obviously, you must carry many euros around with you.

Yesterday, I was down to 20 euros. Not much I could do with so little. I went to the ATM. It was broke. I went to the other ATM. It was broke. There are only two ATM machines in Oia.

I was sort of desperate for cash. The nearest ATM outside Oia is in Fira. Fira is the capital of Santorini. About 15 miles away. I took a bus.

The bus ride was pleasant. Took all of 20 minutes. A crazy curvy drive on a very narrow road. Many Americans on the bus.

The ATM in Fira was working. A relief!

I walked around Fira a bit.

The town was very crowded. Many tourists.

Cruise ships feed Fira with tourists just as in Key West. Four of varying sizes were sitting in the Aegean some distance off shore. As I stated yesterday, there is no dockage. The water is not deep enough for the cruise liners to come into shore. All use small shuttle boats to take the cruise ship customers back and forth.

This bugs the hell out of me. If Fira can get the cruise ships to come in and deposit their passengers in this fashion, why can’t Key West? This is a current problem in Key West. There is a push on for millions to be spent to deepen and widen the channel so the big boats can dock and drop their passengers off.

Fira sits high on a cliff. Just as Oia. A steep cliff. The passengers have to get to the top. They have options. They can walk up. A path exists. Generally stone. Over 500 steps. There is a cable car to take them up and down. Finally, donkeys and mules.

No one seems to mind.

Fira is different from Oia. I would describe Oia as more update. Fira a hundred years behind.

Whereas Oia’s walk is marble, Fira’s consists of lava, stones and pebbles hardened together. The walkways reminded me of a Chora. Chora is an old Greek section. Though Fira’s was improved.

Fira’s walk ways are 4-8 feet wide.

Enjoyed a sandwich and cold drink and returned by bus to Oia.

I have not spent much time laying by the water. I did yesterday. By the pool sitting halfway up a 2,000 foot cliff. The view of the bay before me.

When I returned to my room, I decided to sit on the terrace. My terrace on Back Street. I read the Eisenhower book for a while. Eisenhower was a crafty individual. He had warts. The book describes both the good and bad of the man.

Last night, I returned to Taverna Katina. No screwing around. I wanted to be sure of a good meal. That is exactly what I had. Basically, the same meal as two nights ago. Except this time I added egg plant salad as an appetizer. My entre was some fire red fish broiled. Tasted terrific, though a bit boney. Dessert again was baklava.

It finally happened! I saw a man with a beard!

He was sitting at the table next to me. We smiled at each other at the same time. We talked. He was from Australia. No beards here, he said. He also said he was beginning to feel strange having one. I laughed and agreed.

Earlier this morning, I was sitting on my terrace on Back Street enjoying a cup of coffee. An elderly woman was on the porch across the way. The porch on the flower/shrubbery covered house. White haired, pudgy, a black dress. She was sweeping the porch. She looked up and smiled at me. I said “ya sou.” Not spelled correctly. However, I have learned to pronounce it properly. It means hello, good day. She responded with the same Greek hello.

Ya sou is the only Greek word I have learned thus far.

After sweeping, she brought her coffee out and sat outside sipping and smiling at me.

She reminded me of my grandmother. My grandmother would rise, sweep the floor and then sit down for a cup of coffee. The same routine every day for many years.

My apartment is on the second floor. I have a next door neighbor. A young lady. In her early 30s. Other than a hello a couple of days ago, we have not seen each other. Our terraces are joined.

She came out in her night gown. I said hello. She said hello in English. Then tied her undies to a chair to dry. She had apparently just washed them. She then walked downstairs to the common area where there is a clothesline. She returned with black pants and a blouse. I have to iron these for work, she said.

Everything is easy in my Back Street complex. Everyone interacts like a family. The fact she was only in her night gown bothered her not at all.

I speak with the locals as much as possible about the economy. It is the same with everyone. Germany is no good! Merkel a rotten woman! We never should have gotten into the euro! We have been down and out before! We shall survive!

They will.

Enjoy your day!

2 comments on “FIRA

    • Indeed. It is almost like an economic system (or at least was an economic system). Always think before you borrow as paying the Piper sucks.

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