Crime-free is Greek to South Africans bringing trouble to ...

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Crime-free is Greek to South Africans bringing trouble to paradise

A mystified, and sympathetic, local on Milos island relates the paranoid experience of SA visitors to his idyllic shores

I am on the small island of Milos at the moment and the chap who lives in the next house is named Christos. I met him when he brought around a gift of fine white grapes that he’d harvested from his own vines, dewy and wet and decorated with a sprig of three vine leaves. 

Christos has a nice villa with a good garden overlooking the periwinkle-blue bay of Adamas. The economy has been hard on him, as it has been hard on all Greeks, but he’s philosophical about it. He has a room on his property that he rents out to visitors, and that’s helped him through the lean years. Christos’s passion in life appears to be plotting and predicting the movement of the wind. Oh, he’s a fiend for the wind, but for a man of Christos’s precision and love of order, the wind is a cruel mistress. He produced a map and drew a flight of small arrows to mark for me the direction the wind usually comes from (the north), and then the direction it’s outrageously, inexplicably coming from now (the south). Then he sketched out different scenarios for possible variations in wind direction in the next few days, until the island was covered in a crosshatching of meteorological arrows. 

But the fact is, he said, shaking his head disapprovingly at the map, it’s very difficult to predict the wind. It’s like asking his eight-year-old son to choose what he wants for supper next week – even if he knows now, by the time the day comes he has changed his mind. ..

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