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23 January 2006

Winter... Chaos?

Greece and Snow and News
 

Since about Sunday morning, the news are going crazy about a sudden influx of winter weather in Greece. We were warned to check on heating, exterior plumbing, warm clothing, and possibly on suitable large supplies of Ouzo. In Athens it's inconveniently cold, raining and windy. But nothing to scare anyone from middle to northern Europe: About 5° Celsius (plus) here in Athens I would guess. Northern Greece got it a bit colder, lowest we have seen was -10° Celsius. So what does a mountain hardened Swiss do in such conditions? Ha! I adapt to local customs and sit in front of the TV set and watch the horror show that is called the TV news.


News on the loop

The news is pretty funny. They repeat the same few phrases over and over and show the same pictures again and again. Unfocussed images of snowflakes whirling around in the light of a cars headlight. Speaker in the studio: "How is the situation there? Is the national road closed?" Reporter on location: "As you can see it is snowing here." (Indeed and surprising enough, we see lots of snow in the image, it has almost manage to cover the grass next to the road.) "Traffic has stopped, because cars got stuck or collided. All cars are required to put on chains." Next image: Same scenery. This time the snow trucks could not get through, because cars got stuck.

Accidents? Less deathly than usual

Next image: Here a truck went off the road, the driver (poor soul) died. It took the news teams quite a while to find any such incident, which makes me believe that the road death count this night is likely much lower than it is usual. Greece is one of the countries with the highest death tolls on the roads of Europe. There are lots of small accidents, the sheet metal industry is going to make good money on this. But there is nothing like a little bit of winter to raise your chances of survival in Greece's traffic.

Closed or not?

Right now a politician (on the phone line) and a newsguy are shooting it out if the road to Thessaloniki is really closed. Everybody is exaggerating as good as they can. "Greece has turned into little Siberia!", "The worst [winter|snow|cold|wind|...] since [whatever]!" And of course the good old game with the perceived temperature: The thermometer may show only -7, "but of course with the wind chill, it feels more like -25!" We are possibly all doomed in the new ice age.

So who is to blame?

Who is to blame about the chaos that the snow generated? Depending on who you ask it's "the government", "not the government", "the people who got caught without snow chains", whoever. I would offer someone else to blame: How about the news who put all the panic into the situation. Since about Saturday the heating in our house is running almost permantly, I guess we burned up half of the arabian oil reserve by now. Friends are getting phone calls from their parents back in the village to hear if the valued offspring survived the drive home (30 minutes by bus or something). I would suggest another option for the news: For a change, why not just inform the people and let everybody get by cool and easy? Unfortunately you can't fill 40 minutes with that...

Posted by betabug at 20:46 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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