Wednesday, April 07, 2010

On or In Crete

So here we are on Crete, or perhaps in Crete – I start to wonder about the distinctions when learning Greek since, the tourist phrase book tells me ‘sto, stin, stis’ translate respectively as ‘to the, at the, in the’ and in that respect is definitely a rough guide. Anyway, the house, though showing signs of damp with paint bubbling on some walls, at least hasn’t been leaking. This time we didn’t have to spend hours mopping dried mud from the floors – washed from the old internal stonework of the house because that’s how they built houses in Eastern Crete until the 1950s when, so I am told by a local, they actually started using a wonderful new invention called concrete.

However, as the previous picture I put up here showed, we did have plenty to do in the garden. It took us about two days to clear the jungle, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that as well as the nigh indestructible geraniums and yukkas, other plants had survived, including strawberries, one nasturtium and broad beans. We’ve now planted masses of seeds and eagerly await the first radishes, rocket, and other salad veg. I’ve squashed my first scorpion too – one of the joys of Cretan gardening.

Yesterday we ventured into Sitia to make enquiries about getting Internet up here at the house. We went to OTE, which is the Cretan equivalent of BT, since as yet we don’t even have a phone line. Having heard stories from others about them being sold a dial-up ‘package’ (the set-up is different here) because broadband was not possible, then later being sold broadband and unable to get the money back on that dial-up package, we were determined we would only have a phone line put in if we could get broadband too. No way did we want to end up paying the 15 Euros a month line rental without it.

As usual enquiries were hampered by the language barrier, my Greek being enough to make simple requests and understand simple replies, and the guy’s English being good, but just not quite enough. So, OTE could not provide broadband, but maybe Cosmote could at 30 Euros a month. Does Cosmote work up there? Um, I don’t know – we don’t have a phone line – if you can’t provide broadband, how is it some other company can? And why is it that you can’t provide it up in our village when people we know, in an even remoter village in the mountains, can get it (after having to pay for that dial-up package)?

I’m still none the wiser. Is it the case that Cosmote provide wireless broadband in certain areas? Is it the case that OTE just don’t deal with broadband, that you have to go to another company, and that they are like BT before they started providing broadband? Did the guy in the OTE office want to screw me for a dial-up package first (paranoia is very easy here)? Time to make further enquiries and our first port of call must be Stelios, the Cretan who sold us our house, speaks very good English, and knows the system here.

I really need that Internet. Working here, like this, using the Gecko Bar’s Internet connection is not enough to keep me on top of things.


Steve said...

You could try satellite broadband. A quick google turns up a Wikipedia page with some info:

Graeme said...

Never mind Broadband. Do you get carrot fly out there? And if you do get carrot fly, do you offset your sowing time to ensure that the first wave dooesn't get to your emerging carrots, so that there aren't eggs around for the second wave?

How much rain water capture do you have in gallons (if at all), or you you have to use mains and do you use grey water for irrigation?

Do you take approved seeds out with you, or do you by locally? Do you use cut and come again varieties?

How are you fixed for getting soil improvers, compost etc?

We can talk gardening all day :-)

Anonymous said...

Cosmote is the mobile part of OTE, so you could buy a USB stick modem. How's the mobile coverage? You can test with a UK mobile without making a call and pick the mobile network that works best. There are another couple of networks as well, Vodafone and Wind (maybe more)

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

χρειάζομαι κάποιο γρήγορο Διαδίκτυο για φτηνό.

show em that and tell em Vaude sent ya.

oriste said...

The Greek preposition (σε) is both spatial and temporal, and is of no use in determining the correct English preposition. Indeed, in Greek it is easier, as there is mostly just this one spatial preposition (that's why you see the Greeks struggling with this when they speak English, mixing up "in", "at", "on" in all sorts of comic ways). The rule of thumb I use myself is, when I want to stress that a location is an island, I use "on", when I refer to a location as a region or a place, I use "in".

As far as your broadband connection is concerned, go back to your OTE branch in Sitia and ask (demand) to speak to a μηχανικός (michanikos). It's what I did in Iraklio, and the guy there (once I got through to him) was most helpful. I got to see beautiful plans (σχέδια) with red, blue and green lines indicating the various bandwidths that were available all over the prefecture of Iraklio. They must have that for Lassithi as well. The guy I spoke to was extremely enthusiastic that I showed an interest in his work and went to great lengths to show me all future extensions to the network, WITH DATES! You know you have to take these dates with a grain of salt, but at least it will show you your options. Oh, and never, EVAH!, trust the online application of OTE where you type in a phone number to see what bandwidth is available for that number. That's the first thing this engineer told me. ;-)

Graeme said...

Vaude... I think you got told of for bad grammar.

Neal Asher said...

Steve, yes, satellite broadband is something I'll be checking out.

Graeme, they probably grow carrots here in the winter. I've managed to grow some in the summer, but they were poor weedy things. I do have a big drum to catch water, but it's only full once after the winter. Yes I use grey water, in fact I'm going to sink a barrel in the garden to utilize more of it. Compost is obtainable -- I covered my garden with the stuff left over from turning fermented grapes into raki and there's moer available.

daviesjohn, I'll find a solution. Broadband through a mobile, as someone near to our village has, costs 50 Euros a month and isn't very fast.

Vaude: Like around fast 'something' for cheap? Uh?

oriste, I suspect broadband will arrive in our village about the same time as the Makrigialos bypass and the extension to Sitia airport.