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Torrential rains and protests irritated the capital residents on Thursday

31 March 2011 / 16:03:15  GRReporter
2978 reads

Victoria Mindova

After the March sun deceived the Greeks at the beginning of the week, torrential rains came and brought the problems of the residents and visitors of the capital and Thessaloniki. Storms, thunder and downpour with breaks combined with the protests of doctors, pharmacists and employees of the state-owned Greek oil company included in the privatisation programme sent the Athens residents to the underworld for several hours on Thursday. The central Athens roads were blocked for hours and slowed down the traffic by almost an hour compared with the days of normal traffic.

"The Greeks are absent-minded, not careful and extremely nervous when it rains," said the taxi driver Mr. George for GRReporter, who has been driving in the capital in the last 20 years. It is clear for all those who have visited Athens at least once that the hot Mediterranean blood of the Greeks boils quickly in the traffic and "pleasantries" can often be heard between the drivers, each of whom believes that he has an advantage. The meaning of the words exchanged easily becomes clear without knowing Greek.

The taxi driver complained that the things have gone completely out of control in the last year due to the constant strikes and rallies. "Not only the city is not built for the millions of people that poured into it and now everyone goes out on the street to protest for their own problem whenever they want," complained the driver. According to him, the most dangerous are the young riders who do not respect the rules of the road and think they are immortal. "Look at him," he pointed out at a boy not more than 25 years old who was driving a new Hornet HONDA on Panormo Avenue without a safety helmet and with half-closed eyes, while the rain was beating him in the face. "The safety helmets are not for decoration, but the young do not understand it," said Mr. George, who incidentally did not consider it necessary to put his seat belt.

And to paraphrase the Bulgarian proverb "A three days’ wonder," then the Athens traffic is "a four-hour traffic jam." The cars in Athens were moving at the speed of a snail between eight in the morning and twelve at noon. When the rain stopped the traffic in the Greek capital got to its normal and Mr. George said that the same will happen again during the next spring rains.

Tags: SocietyTrafficRainsAthens
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