Sunday, December 17, 2006

You call this cold?

Mid-December in Greece and temperatures are still what I’d call moderate – low to mid 50’s and sunny during the day, high 30’s/low 40’s at night. We haven’t had any real weather shocks aside from a brief cold snap in mid-October, and that was brief and not too extreme. The temperature has dropped slowly and steadily since then with a small disparity between highs and lows. I don’t think we’ve even hit freezing yet here so far. This is one of the many things I love about Greece – this gradual decline from fall into winter. It is something I almost never experienced in Nashville, a place where in December it could be 70 degrees one day and 30 degrees the next. You just never know what weather you are going to get in the winter in Middle Tennessee, but as a Nashvillian you learn to accept it as easily as you accept night and day.

Greeks, on the other hand, only seem to acknowledge and accept one type of weather – sunny, with temperatures of 70 degrees or higher. The hotter, the better, as many Greeks would say, although personally I think anyone who loves temperatures in excess of 95 degrees should be declared legally insane. With the Greek love for warm weather, it comes as no surprise that as soon as the temperature dips lower than subtropical, Greeks do not emerge outside without full Eskimo arctic gear, struggling along the city streets in their puffy coats, big hoods, and gloves that could handle dry ice. It is pretty obvious that Greek blood doesn’t tolerate the cold but at all.

Imagine my surprise, then, when my husband and I were out for our stroll on a slightly chilly but sunny 50 degree day and found scores upon scores of shops and cafes with their doors WIDE open. What in the name of all that is warm and fuzzy was going on there? My husband, in true Greek spirit, was in absolute shock. Why oh why would warm weather loving Greeks have their shops and cafes open in such weather?

As we approached the next open door, we drew closer, and a heavy, slightly malodorous burst of extremely hot hair punched us in the face. It wasn’t long before we realized that these places had the heat up so high, they had to open the door. Now, I’m not one for reason and logic, but wouldn’t it be better to lower the heat and close the door? Obviously, if Greeks are getting too hot, it is too damn hot. I suspect another ten degree drop or so will render no doors open, heat too high or not. In fact, in a month or so it will be so cold they’ll probably be using radioactive material to heat their shops. For now, I can walk down the street in my light jacket and chuckle at the frozen Greeks, wondering how they’d handle the Nashville climate. My guess is not too well. Not too well at all.


Tracie B. said...

last weekend it was freezing in mom said that yesterday it 80 degrees. kuh-razy, i tell you!

J.Doe said...

In California (southern) too, when the temps drop into the mid 50s everyone complains of the bitter cold.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely hate winter! It'd be nice if I was ski-ing on a mountain somewhere in Austria but not here in Greece.

We're not really built for winter both fron a country point of view or from a people point of view.

It rains here, things flood. It snows here, everything closes down. We get ice here, the roads turn into ice rinks.

No... I'm happy to give that a miss. Unfortunately as you said in your post, at the moment it's still bearable (with the proper clothing) but you wait till February, then you'll be like me, praying for the summer to get a move on!

Cynthia Rae said...

There is already snow back home in Indiana! Though we don't have snow here yet, it has gotten a lot colder this past week.

A month a go I came across a couple who were on vacation from Hawaii. It was a warm day for fall in Italy and I even had my coat off. They asked me if it was always this cold in Italy! hehehehehe! I hated to tell them that we were having a November heat wave! Hehehehe