With the car’s fuel guage registering three-quarters of a tank we took Caroline’s parents to the airport. Over ensuing days we took one trip to Sitia and two trips to Makrigialos, on the last of these my intention being to fill up the petrol tank. There was a queue into the garage we normally use (the cheapest) so I drove on past. No hurry, really. Big mistake. I soon learned why they were queuing.
During a further necessary trip to Sitia (Caroline uses a dentist here to have her teeth cleaned – one hour of teeth cleaning as opposed to the British NHS ten minutes then out the door). The car was getting near to sucking fumes so I thought it might be an idea to stick 10 Euros worth in from one of the more expensive Sitia garages. One I passed was open, but I would go in one of the next two. They were both closed. After the dental visit we headed back home then subsequently to Makrigialos. Our station was closed, little paper signs up on the pumps with the word Telos on them, which means end, ending, close, which in turn means here that the tanker drivers have gone on strike again.
So now we were in Makrigialos and not entirely sure we had enough petrol to get home, or rather, do a round trip to home and to a garage again. I took a walk up to another station there and thankfully found them to be selling something. I got the car and drove up there, putting in €20 worth of Super 100, the high octane stuff for older cars at a cost of €1.75 a litre.
I don’t know why the tanker drivers are on strike – I don’t have enough Greek to follow the news on TV. I’d like to think they’re objecting to the ridiculous business-killing tax on petrol here, but I doubt it. I do know that the the lefties have a lot of power here and that they’ve been kicking up a big stink about the government measures to try and get Greece out of debt. The dockers, who across the world seem controlled by Bolsheviks, have been butt-fucking the Greek tourist industry by stopping tourists getting to their ferries.
Most likely this is about the driver’s pay, the taxes they have to pay on it, their inflated pensions and early retirement. When things get tough the unionists take the opportunity to kick everyone else in the teeth. Here is a chance to strike a blow for the cause and push everyone further along the road to the socialist utopia.
All of this of course raises other spectres. Two days of strike and service stations are empty. How long before the shops start emptying? Which lefties are going to get the knife in next, maybe the power workers, water workers, the post, other truck drivers, water? And will I receive the Peter Lavery edits of The Departure anytime soon, since the typescript is coming via DHL?
Here on Crete, as well demonstrated by Caroline’s recent trip down into the village and subsequent return with a gift of a big bag of potatoes and a melon, people aren’t going to starve in any great hurry, but I have to wonder how similar scenarios would pan-out in Britain, with its 60 million supermarket dependents. I have to think too about things like the Hubbert Peak, all the problems in those areas of the world where most of the oil comes from. Our civilization is like a car: take out the fuel and it ceases to be any use at all.
I’ve just been apprised of the reason for the strike and it is this: Greece is full of closed shops. The problems we had with the electricians here was due to one such closed shop; the registered electricians in Greece have to pay something in the region of €750 every two months for the privilege. The truck drivers, it turns out, have to pay a ridiculous amount for their life-time license – I’m told its €250,000 – and they are understandably pissed off that under EU rules such closed shops are not allowed, and must themselves be closed down. So, how was the strike ended? Under Greek law the drivers can be conscripted into the army in times of emergency with the result that if they strike they can be imprisoned and have their trucks confiscated. This is what is happening, slowly, because some of the councils that are supposed to issue the paperwork are not complying, and many of the truck drivers are in hiding, so the papers can’t be served on them. I rather think this is going to get ugly.