UNIQUELY CRETE…(what the brochures won’t show you)

Disclaimer: – Out of respect for my wonderful Greek friends, before you read this blog, please understand that it’s all done in humor. No place is perfect – just look at America!

OK…so we’ve lived here for 10 months now and the honeymoon’s over. Like any relationship, once the glitter of excitement is over and reality sets in, you begin to see the quirkyness and sometimes ugly side of your loved one. Suddenly, those things that once charmed you are now just plain annoying! And you find yourself scratching your head over “what’s THAT about?!”

Take Crete, for instance…some things are still charming in their “unique-ness”. Like the tree trunks that are painted white (protection against insects). In fact, Cretans seem to love to paint anything and everything white as we discovered Easter week when the whole village was out slapping the whitewash on everything that didn’t move out of the way – from their homes to their stone walls.

A nice fast descent can be rudely interrupted…

…as well as a “quick” drive over to the base. (God definitely has a sense of humor when it comes to teaching us patience.)

And one should always expect the unexpected … like these goats in a make-shift pen on a back street in the city. Ahhh…cute!

And then there’s the just plain “ugly” side…dubbed “Cretan Cancer” by a local activist artist; Piles of junk and garbage thrown in vacant lots…

…and along roadsides.

But the real fun is trying to figure out “What’s up with that?!”

Puzzling handicap ramp? “We build these state-of-the-art ramps for schlupping supplies to the merchant there behind you. What’s ADA?”

NO, those are not some unique form of antennae. The roof rebar sticking up has a couple of stories. Rumor had it that long ago, the taxes on an unfinished house were quite a bit lower than if you finished it off. So, many enterprising Cretans left their houses like this. In actuality, most traditional Cretan houses are built unfinished with the expectation that a second or even third story will be added on when grandma, daughter and family, or any other number of relatives move in.

Hey, but how about that neat solar water heater tank! Every house has one! (That’s one thing Colorado could do very effectively!)

Irrigation is a huge business here in the agricultural community of the Akrotiri peninsula. But why bury the hose. Let’s just run it along the edge of the road and see how long it lasts after being run over by countless cars and giant trucks.  p.s. nice fence

Still can’t figure out why, if there are SO many dumpsters on every corner, people still insist on trashing the countryside.

But, by far, this is the epitomy of “uniquely Crete” (actually all through Greece). The plumbing is of a small diameter and most homes and businesses have outdated septic. But not to fear, every bathroom has a fancy little flip-lid can for TP! (UGH! We admit it..we cheat sometimes.) I do admire the humorous attention to detail in this particular poster found in a hotel room.

And that’s just a piece of “the rest of the story”. There are many other anomalies that I just couldn’t capture on film. Like the TWO big guys on a motorbike passing a line of cars on a descent WHILE PULLING A WHEELIE (But at least they remembered their helmets – hanging on the handlebars) Or the fellow riding his bike with a cockatoo bird gripping his shoulder. Or the rough concrete sidewalks that lead to nowhere and then drop off. Or the very sad reality of how the dogs and cats are sorely neglected and abused. Not to mention, the lack of any city planning (Richard’s favorite pet peeve.)

But like any good relationship, you have to choose to concentrate on the good and minimize the bad. So what’s good about this place – besides the dear friends we’ve made? Oh yeah….

Come check it out for yourselves!


About Melanie A Crane

Quote: "The best journeys ask questions that in the beginning you never thought to ask." (Anon) Here's my journey: Enjoying my short life on this earth one moment at a time by being intentional with God, family, traveling, cooking, gardening, Colorado living and all the perks that come with it, playing guitar, listening more and talking less. I've discovered that both cooking and travel can be messy at times but the risks can have some amazing results. The same goes for life lived with passion.
This entry was posted in Around Hania, Crazy Cretan Culture, Crete, Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

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