Walking the streets of Heraklion this morning, I could not help but notice how many Cretans were out walking. May 4th is the first day of eased restrictions put in place by Greek authorities to flatten the coronavirus pandemic curve.
Today I realized, for the very first time, just how lucky we are to live in this incredible country. If I appreciated the Crete people before COVID-19, I admire them all the more since the lockdown began. As an American, it’s amazing to witness such discipline and caring from a people world famous for their independent spirits.
The coronavirus pandemic will destroy many things. Experts tell me over half of the Greek hotels will be bankrupt by the time the summer of 2020 ends. Small businesses owned by some of my best friends, face grim prospects for the near future. Greece has huge problems. But to look at the faces of my Cretan friends this morning, you’d never begin to suspect they’ve problem in the world. If appreciation for life and freedom has a face, it’s Cretan.
“Kalimera,” A man shouted as he passed me on an old Vespa. I’ve seen the same man a hundred times before, but he usually only smiles and nods as he putters his way up Papanastasiou Avenue here in Heraklion. “Kalimera,” says Anna the pretty lady who owns the hair salon up the street. “Kalimera!, Kalimera!, Kalimera!” from fifty passers by. Back in the office I came across this video above entitled DREAMS CAN’T BE QUARANTINED!
The video expresses the conveyed welcoming of Crete and the rest of Greece, for would-be travelers to come and live this dream we share in paradise. May 4th reveals the promise Spring is supposed to. Kiki and Niki the pharmacists up the street, smiled their big smiles behind masks this morning, only somehow more enthusiastically.
The ladies at the checkout counter at the grocery story, Stelios my barber, Giorgos (image above) the guy who manages X-Treme Sports, just today allowed to open. Their bright smiles, I am sure, reflect the way Cretans used to be before hordes of tourists beat them down a bit.
A pretty girl I passed on the street, she was shy to have her picture taken, but thanked me anyhow for the gesture. The grocery store manager seemed ashamed, he could not let me take photos of him and the store’s clients. But discretion is high on the list of appropriateness for the Greeks. I just know I am happy to see the streets of this amazing city by the sea alive again.
Good morning! Greece waits to welcome new friends and old, once the danger has passed. Bring your unmet travel fantasies when you come.