My biggest pet-peeve in Greece, by far, is the way people drive and park, or at least what they consider parking.
I think the island has only made things worse. I was trying to think of a way to somehow describe these infuriating situations, but I think it might only be understandable through experience. I think making a top ten list will be at least entertaining, so here goes:
#10 – SHEEP everywhere!!! Whether is is a heard of them crossing a main road because their shepherd doesn’t know how to keep them in the fields, or a daredevil sheep who thinks the grass is better in the middle of the road because of the adrenaline he feels as a crazy Greek slams on his brakes to avoid hitting him.
#9 – Police not enforcing any, and I mean ANY, laws concerning motor vehicles, except when they decide they need more money and literally set up a “foot trap” at a stop sign and write tickets to everyone who has out of town plates.
#8 – People who either think they are invincible or just don’t give a damn if they kill you by passing you while driving way too fast, crossing double lines (perchance that the road even has lines), around a corner, and talking on the phone.
#7 – People creating a parking spot. Seriously, people with even really expensive cars will park on the sidewalk, on a side street – in turn blocking the whole street, at a stop sign, in front of a store, definitely in front of no parking signs, and anywhere they “think” is fine. All of this instead of parking normally and walking maybe 3-4 minutes to where they need to go.
#6 – People using their horns as if cars actually can talk and respond. There is a whole new horn language here that I have never heard. Everything from “nice, quick, short honks” saying hi to “long, loud, I am going to get out of my car honks” and everything in between.
#5 – Stopping in the middle of the street while your friend slowly walks to your window and you have a conversation, meanwhile I am honking at you to move on and you pretend that you don’t hear me!
#4 – Constantly swerving and playing “chicken” because idiots are parked completely in the road on a street made for ONLY one lane of traffic each way. This is SOOO common that I do not think I have ever driven though Kalloni without having to drive back and forth from the left to right lanes while also trying to decide if the person coming straight towards you will slow down or stop.
#3 – Not technically “parking” because they put their hazards on and “run into” a store or cafe for an hour and half blocking all the rest of the passing traffic. Apparently, you can stop anywhere as long as you have your flashers on!!! Arg.
#2 – Old people, young people, and mothers pushing baby strollers walking casually in the street as if there wasn’t a SIDEWALK for them to walk on right next to them. It is very common to roll down our window and tell the Papou (meaning Grandpa) to get out of the road, but even worse are the mothers who think they not only have the right of way but that you are crazy for wanting them to move!!!
#1 – Coming out from a store where you legally parked only to find that some double parked behind YOU when THERE WAS A FREE PARKING SPOT NEXT TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I am sad to say that this happens SO often, because people are too lazy to turn their cars or think they are the only people driving!
Those are the things that will make me
cuss be forced to take deep breaths. Unfortunately, it is an everyday, unavoidable problem. For sure most Greek don’t know how to drive correctly or safely, but here on the island it is at its worst!
Whatever doesn’t kill me will make me stronger, right? Well, I hope and pray this does make me stronger!
Some other time I will tell you my second pet-peeve!
HERE is a link to V’s album where we have started posting pictures of ridiculous parking!!!