Tuesday, October 17, 2006

People watching on the city street, dusk

Autumn has officially descending on Thessaloniki. We had days and days of unceasing rains and the temperature is slowly dropping - it actually gets a bit nippy at night now, with lows around 50°F (10°C). Sadly, the lowering temperatures have moved most of the cafe goers to the indoors, which makes it much more difficult to people watch.

There is still a steady stream of people on the streets though, coming and going, always moving. Thessaloniki is a city of people on the move, people waiting, people with children, and by god, people with cellphones. At any given moment on any street corner you can hear myriad one-sided conversations of all kinds.

I believe Thessaloniki is home to some of the greatest window shoppers in the world. Of course, here there are a plethora of shops on every street in the city center, with all kinds of worldly delights to catch the wandering eye. People take great pleasure in their window shopping, and will often spend quite a bit of time in front of the window of their liking - gazing, dreaming, wanting that one thing they can't have. I hear sighs sometimes, the utter pain of longing - other times I hear giggles, and every once in awhile a declaration of something that will be purchased. To all of them I wish their heart's desire.

People watching in Thessaloniki is an overwhelmingly peaceful activity, even with the rushing sounds of traffic all around. The one thing that can intrude on this quiet, contemplative pastime is a motorcycle. These machines dare to be the kings of the road - loud, invasive and with an obstreperous attitude that implies the rules don't apply to them. They ride on the sidewalks, go the wrong way on one-way streets, run traffic lights, and weave between traffic at dangerously high speeds. No wonder one of the first things I ever saw within my first month of life in Greece was a motorcyclist getting knocked off his bike by a car. I don't have a problem with motorcycles, I just don't understand why they have to be driven by the most obnoxious people in Greece.

As the sun slowly lowers towards the horizon out over the sea, it bids goodnight to our fair city. In these autumn days the sun takes its leave well before the city has borne its day, and life goes on. People keep moving, waiting, watching. I wrap myself tightly against the quickly chilling air and find my way home.


Tim said...

The only thing more annoying than a motorcycle is a moped. They are the mosquitoes of the motorized world, and every night as I sit in my comfy chair, several of them go by over a dozen times, their intrusive sound drilling into my ear drums. At times, I wish I could catch up to them and shove a potato into their exhaust.

Anonymous said...

I find this annoying as well. It reminds me of something back in 1985. I woke up and made myself a piece of toast.

Anonymous said...

Tim, it's supposed to be "a Bannana in the tailpipe".

It's from beverly hill cop.

Tim said...

I know, but the tailpipes too small for a bannana, so the best one could do is several french fries. :)

traveller one said...

Sounds just like Tirana... it's rather sad. Now I just hope we have electricity this winter!

teacher dude said...

But I ride a vespa in Thessaloniki and hardly ever do the things you say, well when I say hardly ever I mean no more than twice a day LOL.

"When in Rome......."

melusina said...

Yea, mopeds are worse than motorcycles because of their pathetic sound.

I'm sure there are a lot of similarities between Thessaloniki and Tirana, but at least we have electricity on a regular basis. I hope you have electricity this winter too!

Well, teacher dude, we all know what happened to the Romans...xiiusrs