The familiar vs the unkown

I want to compare ‘The Seen and The Unknown’ in retrospect to my observations of the places I have been to. In other words; Athens and the others, in my observations. The odd, the frequent, and the familiar!

It may sound peculiar but most cultures in the world, are in fact, very similar. We, as people, regardless of our backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, identity, face very similar issues in life. Our struggle and coping mechanism is a big factor in our culture.

Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.
-Paulo Coelho

Thus, in writing this I do not intend to offend anyone but merely share my observations of this beautiful city.

Park that! – Many drivers in Athens seem to be not the greatest at parking their car. In fact, during my smoke breaks, I’ve watched many people struggle to fit their cars into empty spaces.

Pedestrians? – Compared to the Middle Eastern countries, the traffic is more organised but on the other hand, I consider it slightly chaotic compared to many other European countries. For instance, there are only one set of traffic lights in a junction and I never know where the pedestrian crossing is. Finding myself in the middle of the road, facing a mob of cars coming at me isn’t the best situation to be in! But certainly, it keeps my day interesting, with some pseudo-adrenalin rush!

The AC / not DC – Yes, this city gets hot, very HOT indeed. I understand the use of air conditioners to cool down, I use it at home myself, otherwise, I would’ve melted already within the first few days of coming here. But, why is it that the water drain is disregarded and the water rain down on unsuspecting pedestrians below? Perhaps, it’s one way to cool down, eh?

Green Spaces – While there are a lot of trees on the pavements, there aren’t many green spaces throughout the city, like parks. Perhaps, I have not been around enough but so far I haven’t seen many big parks.

The Friendliness – One thing I cannot do without mentioning is how friendly the people are in the city. In the local shop here, whenever I enter, the lady at the counter asks “Oh, Whiskey?” with a laugh – even before we exchange hellos. I realised that after I do my shopping and say “ευχαριστώ” – that’s “thank you” in Greek for those who cannot read the Greek alphabet – it puts a smile on their faces. I, so far, love the friendly atmosphere here.

These were the main observation I have had so far, I am sure in time I can find many other examples as I become more familiar with the city and its culture. It is an absolutely beautiful city, with beautiful people. I hope I’ll have more opportunities in the future, to visit this lovely country.



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