Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Diary Entries

24 October, Wednesday

The very day I was discussing the recipe for rabbit with the Jewish chef, we were served rabbit by Vasilea. I had eaten Vasilea’s rabbit before, so I didn’t hesitate this time; I knew it would be very good. Mena says hers is, too, and she will give me her recipe. Maybe some day I’ll have the courage to try it. It’s considered a delicacy here.

Our new washing machine arrived today and I’ve already done three loads of laundry; the fourth is in the machine, waiting for morning. Petros came today, too, and put a new gasket under the toilet tank, so it no longer leaks. So now all the issues about the new bathroom are resolved and it’s just a matter of awaiting the new door.

The instruction booklet for the washing machine, which has a section in English (hooray!), has the following notices.

Under “Safety Measures”:
Appliance complies with European Directives 73/23/EEC and 89/336/EEC, replaced by 2006/95/EC and 2004/108/EC, and subsequent amendments.

And in the section describing the various wash cycles you can select:

Wait, wait! Anonymous, unelected EU authorities even tell everyone who sells clothes washers in Europe how their machines must clean cottons?

Today a major newspaper had this headline: How Our Democracy was Lost. Reminds me of a television documentary we watched last year in England, “How Rupert Murdoch Controlled Britain”. What these stories have in common, of course, is they both came too late.

An Exercise in Terror

12:15 p.m. It’s a quarter past noon on Thursday and as I type this, we in Thessaloniki are being strafed — with fake bombs. So far, thirty or forty fighter jets — or maybe it’s only one, returning time and again — have screamed overhead, skimming the rooftops and in some cases, flying lower than the buildings. (No, surely that has got to be an optical illusion!??) They are shaking everything with a terrifying sound I guarantee is louder than anything you’ve ever heard. Even if you’ve lived on or very near an Air Force base, you don’t get the full effect because these jets stay as low as possible and are already flying faster than the speed of sound. They’re past you by time you hear them coming. They come again and again and again, with such sudden screaming they make you jump every time. They drop things you think are bombs, and the noise could hardly be louder if they were, but they’re only stupid pink flares. Very funny. I see no smoke, no fire anywhere.

12:45 p.m. The fighter jets have gone and now there’s loud, frenzied chanting in the streets. Almost certainly, as usual, it’s related to football (soccer). Bad timing, guys!

6:00 p.m. Among the few people on the street (shop clerks, etc.) with whom we’ve discussed this, opinion is divided. About half think it was a practice fly-by in preparation for Sunday’s big military parade. The other half says no, what happened today has never been done before; it was to frighten us.

It’s been a couple of years since the fighter jets even made an appearance during the parade and I’ve never seen them drop flares or fly so low. Well, it should all become clear come Sunday.

Actually, nobody has even told us for a fact that the jets were Greek; we just assume they were.