Monday, 8 August 2016

Olympics and more

The 2016 Olympics are up and running.  The Greeks as usual headed the olympic teams parading through the stadium.  Greece (Grecia) is always the first team to enter and the team of the host country the last.  207 teams this year including the Refugee Olympic team.  The parade was in alphabetical order according to the Brazilian/Portuguese alphabet.  This made for some interesting changes.  Germany (Alemanha) and South Africa (Africa do sul) were amongst the first to enter.  NZ became Nova  Zelandia.  Nice change, wish they had changed the flag as well.  There are at least 6 countries with the union jack in the top left hand corner just like NZ.

- For the first time a woman standard bearer led in the 90 greek athletes.  'Bout time.
- Two greek althletes, a swimmer and a member of the paraolympic team have been excluded already over doping charges. 
- Greece's first medal, a bronze, was won by a woman in the 10m air pistol

207 countries.  I have kept the Wikipedia list of abbreviations for all the countries on fast dial.  Unfortunately most of these country's names are only heard every 4 years as their team enters the stadium at the start of the games and the abbreviations give your mind a real work out.

South Africa (Africa do sul) is RSA, which I should remember, but don't.  Republic of South Africa.

PLW    Palau
COM   Comores

I need to get a world map on fast dial as well.

Good luck to all .

British chef Rick Stein  was in Thessaloniki last week, Greece's northern capitol .  He is making a new series with the BBC, Rick Stein's Long Weekends.  Of course there will be a book as well.  I loved his series last winter, From Venice to Istanbul.  We were all so pleased that he came back to a rented Villa on the Greek island of Symi to try out his new found recipes.

He has already made programmes for this series in a load of european cities investigating and reporting on markets, restaurants, cafes, anywhere with food and atmosphere.  He described Thessaloniki as a 'fabulous food city'.  At least we will have some pleasant tv watching this winter.

A year ago I was writing post after post on the huge refugee problems and the worsening of the Greek economy, the hardship of austerity and high taxes.  These two  problems still exist but the refugees are now confined to camps and the economists have gone on summer vacations to their plush villas.

- hundreds of migrants are still arriving daily and boats are  capsizing with tragic results
- the riot squad had to be called in on the island of Chios after refugees clashed with police during a protest over food quality
- also on Chios authorities are arresting all refugees involved in illegal activities because of an outbreak of burglaries and thefts.  40 will be deported.
- tourism on the island of Lesvos is down 70%.  The locals are naturally very worried.  They need tourism to survive the winter.  There are 3,000 refugees on the island now but 600,000 have passed through in the last 18 months.  Tourists are avoiding these island hotsopots.
- resettlement to other European countries is very slow.  Only 2,681 of almost 60,000 refugees have been resettled since last summer.
- refugees in Greece quite rightly fear that they have been forgotten.  Living in a squalid camp on a greek island was not what they expected when they fled the war in Syria.

The good news.  140 musicians from around the world will converge on the Cretan village of Houdetsi as its 7th music festival gets under way.  The festival is described as a '4 day celebration of music, dance, food and art'.  The idea is to get together different music and traditions from all over the world and 'jam boys jam'.  That sounds so wierd, but I'm sure I'm right.  What musicians do is 'jam'? Yes, wikipedia says that 'a jam session is a musical event, process or activity where musicians play..'


  1. I watched the Rick stein from Venice to Istanbul. And I have been watching the long weekend series. Love food shows that have real food. Not that arty food where you pay a fortune and end up leaving still hungry.
    I haven't watched any of the Olympics. I kinda lost interest after the Athens games. Just too busy I guess

  2. We have two teams to cheer, three actually, because I have a lot of family in Australia (Perth). I enjoy watching the Olympics. Athletes at their best. Mind you, some sports are definitely more interesting than others. I like the rowing and sailing and best of all the diving.