You know you are seeing travel differently when the community garbage bins beckon as a destination.
|Messinian Bay from our deck|
Last week, as we two expats sat under a cloudless Mediterranean blue sky on the deck of our Stone House on the Hill in the Greek Peloponnese, I exclaimed that we 'got to' - not 'had to' - take our garbage to the community bins that day. I announced it with the type of enthusiasm, I used to have when talking about a cruise or trip to a favorite destination.
It doesn't take much these days to count as 'a trip' away from home. We are getting a refresher course in simple pleasures as we experience this country's second COVID lockdown of 2020.
|Destination: the community garbage bins|
Taking a short jaunt to the garbage dumpster was just what I needed -- a serving of travel, even if in an amuse-bouche sized portion.
Our weather has blessedly remained sunny and warm so we rolled down the windows and let the breeze ruffle our hair as we drove along the beach road that would take us to the dumpsters. We picked up to-go cappuccinos and spent a few minutes in the village parking lot watching the waves before heading home. Simple pleasures.
A NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER
|The village in lockdown is rather forlorn|
Only a few weeks ago, as November approached, I wrote of us being 'betwixt and between' in making decisions about returning to the States or for that matter, of traveling anywhere. We didn't have long to ponder as by the first weekend in November Greece was in full lockdown mode again. We aren't going anywhere for awhile!
The lockdown came swiftly and decisively. It was announced at noon on a Thursday and went into effect at 6 a.m. two days later.
You may remember that last spring I was calling Greece 'the poster child of COVID prevention'. Well, no longer can I brag about our adopted country. A steady increase in cases with a marked spike in October has nearly brought the Greek health system to its knees. Instead of springtime's 20 -30 cases per day, autumn's numbers had reached 2,000 - 3,000 cases per day. ICU beds that numbered 300 countrywide in the spring have increased to more than 1,200 but the occupancy rate of those increased beds is now at 90%. Some areas have no more capacity and patients have been airlifted to other struggling hospitals.
|Sparsely populated Messinias prefecture - agricultural lands |
|The Scout waiting for dinner to go|
Originally a three-week lockdown, it has been extended to four with hints it may continue on after the new end date, December 7. Most of the populace, thankfully, seems in support of the lockdown and the only political debate brought up by the opposition party was whether it should have been imposed sooner.
ONE MORE TIME. . .
|Even chatting with friends, masks are required|
Our current lockdown came with a curfew as well. If you are out after 9 p.m. you had better be headed to or from work (and have documents to prove it), be seeking medical care or walking your dog near your home.
Our retail stores considered non-essential (including hardware stores, despite being in the middle of olive harvest) are closed. Super markets, grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are open, as they were in the spring lockdown.
|Prohibited goods during lockdown|
One major change this time around impacts the supermarkets and their customers. Like supermarkets everywhere, these stores sell more than groceries. So as not to give them a sales advantage over the small retail shops that are closed, supermarkets are unable to sell items like computers and electronic equipment, clothing, books and cookware. It is a commendable act, until something breaks or rips or needs to be replaced.
A fellow blogger, Juergen Klein, who writes 'dare2go' blog has been unable to return to his home in Australia this year. as result of COVID response by that country. He and his wife are in Greece. He recently noted that having not planned to winter in Greece, he needed winter pajamas because the nights do get cold here. He found them at a supermarket but was unable to buy them until the lockdown is over. Again, the fair trade effort is great until you as a customer in serious need of an item.
|Takeout dinner - my favorite!|
The majority of restaurants, bars and tavernas are closed in our nearby villages - a handful are open limited hours, providing takeout coffees and food. There has been no inside seating allowed for months. Outside seating is now forbidden as well. We aren't allowed sit while waiting for take out food. Going out 'to' dinner has become going out 'for' dinner. It is still one of life's simple pleasure to be sure!
|Hiking is an approved exercise|
We are allowed out to exercise and can have up to three persons in a group when doing so. Hiking and walking are simple, but most welcome, pleasures!
|Permission for movement granted|
|Wine, moon in a parking lot: simple pleasures|
The Greek media report that the government has purchased 25 million doses of Pfizer's Covid vaccine. The country's population is about 10.4 million, so it sounds as though there will be plenty to go around. Especially after reading the report of a survey done last week in which one of every three Greeks surveyed said they wouldn't get the vaccination although the government is providing it free of charge to all citizens.
|Parking lot sea wall- a simple pleasure destination|
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
My Corner of the World Wednesday