After running some errands in the main part of Kifissia town yesterday I walked home via the leafier back roads which would take me past a little, local shop very much like the corner shops we used to have in the UK. It can be a hard life competing with the big supermarkets but this man does it mainly by being remarkably friendly and charming. I buy oranges (portakalia – πορτακαλια) from him for juicing (χθμοσ) and he always gives me a gift; yesterday it was a cucumber. Whilst waiting for him to weigh my fruit another customer spoke to me, she was British. Where are you from? I told her about our circuitous route from the UK and her eyes lit up. You’re Embassy, she enquired? I shook my head and started to say why we were here when she heaved her shopping up along with her upholstered bosom and announced oh business people as her parting shot. So that’s us written off as Trade.
After leaving the shop I set off for home which is on the other side of the very busy Kifissia Avenue and there is a set of traffic lights where I normally cross but yesterday I stepped off the kerb and into the traffic, making it to the middle of the road and then wandered along the middle of the road until there was a gap in the traffic for me to get to the other side. My thoughts on this are that when I moved here several months ago I used to sob in terror of the traffic and the way drivers ignored pedestrians. But it seems that drivers don’t ignore pedestrians so much as ignore rules telling them what to do because a car slowed right down to let me cross in front of him. My other thought on this is that considering Athens has hardly any petrol there are a hell of a lot of cars on the road.