Many things about Greek culture haven’t been too difficult to adjust to. Lots of olive oil. Feta cheese in everything. No flushing toilet paper. Excessively foamy coffee.
However, one thing that still rattles me is the nature of driving and parking in Thessaloniki. While I have not personally had to do either of these things – nor would I ever want to – it has been interesting to ride cabs and walk on sidewalks in the wild Greek streets.
First off, lane lines. They don’t exist. And when they do, they are very faint. Basically, cars just drive around each other and in whatever spot they can within the width of the street. Yikes. If I had a heart before, it left my body when I sat in the front seat of a cab driving downtown during a massive city protest.
Secondly, parking. It’s not standardized. In some places, people parallel park like a well-orchestrated game of tetris. In others, like the street outside our apartment, people park every which way, often parallel parking in two lines, stacking out into the street so that cars block each other in. I have wondered time and time again how owners of the cars parked on the outside know they will leave before those parked on the inside.
Some even park in the middle of intersections. Like these guys:
I can get used to the dirty-feeling blankets, the constant use of Greek on the streets and the tap water. But if there’s one thing I don’t think I will ever get used to here, it is the drivers.