Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Culture differences

It’s not very difficult to notice how different cultures respond to climate changes and the weather. What do I mean by that? For the last days, London has been having amazing weather! It’s warm; it’s sunny with a minor breeze from time to time. The temperature stays above 22 degrees most of the time during the day. So, people have been crazy about it, including me!

I had to organise an outdoor activity with friends, even if not a bbq! I simply had to! I believe that the vast majority of the country’s population were in a park, common, by the sea or by a lake or river! Or at least if there weren’t, they hoped they were! These are all photos I took on Saturday! I had an amazing time.

Starting the day with a nice coffee

So, I went with my friends to Hyde Park! For those not familiar with it, that’s the main park of the city centre and it is massive! I’ve just checked and it’s smaller than New York’s Central Park (damn), but I’m telling you it’s still big. I think there are a couple of Olympic sports taking place there.

Hyde Park

So, there were around 7 of us. We had our freesbee, ball, food, rugs and everything. We must have spent around 6 hours in the park, playing, laughing and enjoying ourselves. It was so much fun. And the park was simply heaving! There were people sunbathing, cycling, running, roller blading, rowing on the lake, drinking, playing games or just relaxing at the park. And of course all that done under direct sunlight and not under the shade. People wanted so much to feel and enjoy the sun that they didn’t really mind the direct sunlight!

Playing with a child can be so therapeutic 

That is so different to where I come from. Maybe sun is somewhat taken for granted in Greece. Yes, people will enjoy it but still try to avoid it. You will not see cafes having tables under the sun even during spring time and people will not walk around bare-chested to get a tan in the city. I could even say that I grew up being afraid of the sun. Probably because the temperature there can rise to dangerous levels and staying under the sun for long means sun strokes or painful skin blisters. However, even when the temperature is not that high, maybe by instinct, people do try to stay under the shade.

The 7/7 bombing memorial

This brings me to the second point I wanted to make regarding the Sun. When I was really young, in Greece, during the early 80’s, my mother used to put sun lotion on us but I can remember not worrying too much about it. Back then, we could stay under the sun between the dangerous hours of 12 and 3 in the afternoon and play. Nowadays, staying on the beach between these hours for longer than half an hour can be unbearable and not using very high UVA & UVB lotions is unthinkable!

The squirrel stole a chip! 

I had a similar conversation with a very camp waiter the other day. He said that when he was younger, in Rhodes, back in the very early 80's, he used to put Ouzo (45% alc) on him to get a better tan, not a sun lotion! I got too frightened to ask for more details! Just the fumes of this, would probably get him so drunk!

Finishing the day with a cool nice cocktail

Friday, 25 May 2012

Glad this is over

I had quite a difficult week at work and sometimes I wanted to cry like a:

or actually hit somebody! I'm not going to go in details though! I'm so glad it's over. I managed to meet deadlines and keep people happy while juggling lots of balls at the same time.

Anyway, it's the weekend now and the weather in the city is expected to be amazing! So, I plan to get some needed rest, work on my tan and maybe a picnic at a park somewhere around. I'll take some pictures if you want. Enjoy your weekend! I'll be back soon. xxx

Friday, 18 May 2012

Handful of various thoughts

I was on my way to work the other day. It was Monday, early in the morning and raining and the world seemed a bit gloomy. You probably know the feeling after having a nice weekend to be back to the office. I ran into one of my colleagues in the elevator. So, I asked him how he’s doing. I expected the usual ‘I’m OK’, or the ‘not that bad’ vague reply or a general ‘Monday’ comment. The reply I got was ‘fantastic, you?’! I was so surprised. So, since I am a bit cynical I asked him on what drug he’s on? His reply was: ‘the treasury drug’ (he’s part of the treasury team)! He made me laugh…

So, yes, I had a really nice weekend. After a month of constant miserable weather, it was sunny in London. So, we took the train with JJ and we went to Hampstead, which is a very nice area in North London. We had brunch near the high street and then spent around 2 hours walking around Hampstead Heath which is a vast green area nearby. We tried to run into George Michael but with no luck. We even went to one of the toilets there. For those of you who don’t know, Hampstead Heath is the notorious cruising area where George was arrested for indecent exposure (among other things) to an undercover cop in the toilets. Ignoring that, the area is very nice. There are ponds where (other) people go swimming, the Parliament Hill with extraordinary city views and hiking tracks to walk, jog or cycle. I highly recommend it on a sunny day.

Jumping to a naughtier issue, have you heard the term ‘dizzy sex’? Apparently you have it when one (or more) of the participants hit his head, most likely during foreplay, and feels slightly dizzy but doesn’t want to stop. I should warn you though not to start bagging your head around and be careful not to get a concussion. We were explaining to a friend an ‘accident’ we had and he was like: ‘Oh, you just had dizzy sex’! We were like: ‘what?’!

So, I'm leaving you with Tom Daley, the diving team GB and 'Sexy and I know it' . Have a nice weekend

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Political worries

I wanted to write briefly about Greece and the current political situation there. The national election results from last week were fruitless. The voters were spread among many parties, not giving to any of them the power to create a government. To give you an idea, the party with the most votes, only got 18.9% of the whole! Even the neo-Nazi party called ‘Golden Dawn’ managed to acquire 10% of the votes. (I truly hope that people didn’t know what they were voting for). Traditionally in Greece there were two parties (the democrats and the socialists) swapping governments for decades that created the current abysmal financial situation. This time around people got fed up with the current situation and decided to vote differently. In a way they tried to punish the two major parties but the outcome of the elections weren’t the best.

Power is thinned out and distributed to so many parties that no coalition government can be created. The second best party in the elections was the left winged Syriza with 16.8% that refuses to cooperate with any other party that follows the EU’s austerity measures. This idea is of course popular to the masses although they don’t actually say how the country will find the money to pay salaries and pensions or reduce its debt. Syriza tried to create a left wing collation government but the Communist party bluntly refused to work with them. According to them hard core Communists; Syriza is not really left wing, but a fraud. The rest of the parties (excluding the far right and left winged parties) can’t create a government on their own since they can’t create a coalition of at least 151 MPs.

So, after a week of fruitless negotiations, there is still no government formed. Most likely there will be other national elections in mid-June!  This of course costs money and time that the country can’t afford to lose. According to the existing financial minister, Greece is soon running out of money and will need the coming payment from the EU. However, EU mentioned that no money will be given to the country without a government supportive to the already agreed terms of financial aid. So, there’s a deadlock.

Looking and at what happened to Argentina a decade ago when it bankrupted, I believe that Greece needs to stay in the Euro zone. Otherwise, we’re talking about locking people’s bank accounts, having very small available bank daily withdrawals, closing the borders, isolating the country, skyrocketing inflation rates and prices of imported goods, non-existent development in the short term and public panic. I hope that a coalition government will be formed soon.  And since I can only wish, I hope for ‘Golden Dawn’ not to have any MPs. These people are scum.

Update: this is 'Golden Dawn's logo. Ring any bells?

Friday, 11 May 2012

Photos from Greece

I got back from Greece a couple of days ago where I had a great time. I met lots of my old friends, saw my family, went swimming and I also voted for the national elections. I'll probably tell you all about it in a following post. I took more than 80 photos. Here are some of them:

Leaving a rainy London behind, I went there with my parents for a coffee! 

One of the city's floating bars with great beer and views 

A lovely coffee place 

My mum's really happy with her roses this year 

So happy to be working on my tan (trying to ignore the massive gray hair on my beard) 

I was the king of this beach. It was early in the year for other people to join me. I'm not complaining though. I lovely every minute of it.

A beautiful sunset with the slight view of the mount Olympus at the back.

Walking by the sea...

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


We went to the cinema last weekend to watch ‘Avengers: Assemble’! It’s called that in the ‘UK’ because of the original TV series ‘Avengers’ back from the sixties and the movie that followed.

Anyway, the movie’s very good for what it is. What you expect is what you get. You don’t expect to watch high quality cinematography, acting and intriguing plot. It’s an action filled movie with lots of explosions, high end visual effects and quick sequences. There are some funny moments in it with sharp dialogues and unexpected outbursts. It’s the perfect huge-cola-and-popcorn experience. Especially for someone like me who’s been enjoying Marvel comic books for decades, although I have to admit that I didn’t like many of the movies Marvel made in the past (like all Spiderman movies) .

Unfortunately watching a highly anticipated by fans movie like that has its drawbacks. The theatre was full, including a crying baby and a mildly snoring elder guy right behind ‘JJ’. Especially the crying baby (his parents) was really irritating! He or she was silent and calm during the commercials and trailers. However, the moment the first explosions happened and Hulk smashed stuff (that’s not a spoiler, you expect him to smash stuff) he/she went berserk crying and yelling! The father decided after a while (not immediately) to take the baby out of the theatre, only to return moments afterwards hoping that the baby would remain quiet or sleep. However, the baby would cry again and they would again open the door and go out.  That going in and out of the room must have happened around 4 times! What were they really thinking? That the baby would sleep during the amazingly loud and slightly scary for a baby movie? I can understand that they can get fed up and need a break and go see a movie, but having a child means responsibilities! Even with the distraction of the cries and the opening and closing of the door next to screen, I did manage to enjoy the movie. I will just need to get the DVD to watch some bits that I missed.