Don't get dare get ill or have an argument with your neighbour. All doctors and lawyers are on holiday till the end of the month. On the other hand supermarkets, souvenir shops , bars and cafes are on 24 hour duty, raking in, they hope, enough money in two or three weeks to get them through the winter.
But wait, tax inspectors are on duty. Who would have thought it. Every shop, business on this island, over this lucrative money making period, has to issue receipts for every little purchase from a bottle of water to a sunbed. Hip hip hooray. Someone up high has finally figured out that the way for the govt to make money is to make everyone issue receipts for every purchase and thus get taxed on precise income ..... to make sure that no-no is 'evading'. Fat hope of that, but, maybe. Shhhh, mustn't put the evil eye on this new campaign ftoo ftoo ftoo. I spit on all tax inspectors. Get out there and do your job so our pension doesn't get cut again in January.
15th August is the biggest holiday of the year when every Greek that can, goes on his summer holiday. Back to their roots, to their island, village, family home. And any rich Greek that can (and there are still a lot of those that can) loads up his big black Jeep, squashes the nanny in along side the kids, and takes off for a week at one of Poros's luxury hotels. Or orders the captain of his floating palace to fuel up and takes the mistress and a few of her model friends to the island of Myconos for a few nights of wild living.
It's actually a religious holiday. 15th August marks the 'falling asleep' or dormition of the Virgin Mary and any village or island with a monastery or church dedicated to the Virgin Mary prepares for an inundation of worshippers, worshippers who will dance and sing, eat and drink after lighting candles, kissing icons and attending church services to show their respect and adoration.
The Holy icon from each church is paraded through the streets so the worshippers can receive her blessing. The Holy icon on the island of Tinos is miraculous and people will crawl to the church and have the icon passed over them hoping for a miracle. When K was in the Navy he was part of the honour guard many times in best dress uniform, marching miles, sword on high, in the scorching summer sun
One year we found a last minute room by the sea and disappeared for two days until the turmoil was over. We were up bright and early to attend the service at a monastery close-by our hotel and take part in the fiesta afterwards.
My feet hurt because we had to stand outside the church for over an hour. The courtyard outside was packed with the faithful, lining up to light a candle at big sand filled containers near the church door, or to kiss the icon of the Virgin Mary, also outside in the courtyard so lines of people could pass in an orderly fashion.
The queue for the one loo was miles long and there were no tables at the café next door so no coffee. By 11am it was hot and I was crabby. So we went back and changed into beach clothes and went to the beach. It was even hotter. And the beach was crowded.
Every 15 August since then we've bunkered down, got in provisions and waited out the storm. This year I want to run again. Not to the sea but to the mountains. The latest heatwave is still making us sweat and suffer. Last night we went for a quiet beer. No such thing. We found a place to park the bikes, we even found a table and the beer was cold.
The waterfront was an endless parade of people, families, teenagers, children, dogs. There was no view of the sea. A tight packed line of yachts along the quay blotted that out. And we didn't see any falling stars either. Pout pout.
There is a meteor shower which
takes place every year around this time and is visible in the northern hemisphere.
We didn't observe any shooting stars although there were supposed to be 40 stars falling a minute in the persoid meteor shower. It continues on tonight so we'll take another peek although I've looked for these for years, since the girls were young and never seen a thing.
Probably we'll just stay close to home again this year, swim early before the crowds, pick up a couple of bottles of ouzo on the 15th and visit our relatives that have name days. These family celebrations certainly will not be quiet but at least it will be the usual dancing and singing and enjoyment that we know so well. The beer will be cold, the toilets clean and I can go home whenever I've had enough.