I drive. On the opposite side of the road. In Greece. Note that the last factor is crazy. And I wondered if my brain could process the opposite of what I had taught it way back in the day in Australia. Left was the right thing but now right is right. Am I right?
Thessaloniki is congested with one way roads and no left hand turns. The rule is that to make a left you must first make a right. It’s a classic right-left turn. You’ll be alright. I am. My brain has adjusted just fine. It makes judgements before I have time to think and so far they’ve been right. Well thank goodness for that when the job I am here to do involves a lot of driving. Greek driving on the other hand is predictable in its unpredictability; Someone pulling out just as you come close, double or triple parking on the side of the road, beeping as soon as the light turns green or not even paying attention to light changes and driving straight through a red-stop.
I’ve realised hand signals are important. The bigger the hand swipe the larger their frustration is. So you’re in the wrong if a Greek driver is madly waving his hands in the air (like he just don’t care). Also road kill is everywhere. It just wasn’t the household pets I expected to be squashed into the gravel. Like rabbits on the road in Australia, so are cats on the road in Greece.
Despite its hectic qualities, I get a thrill every time I’m on Greek roads with the steering wheel in hand and the gear stick on the right (not the left). For right is right. It’s like Greece has let me in on a little secret and I feel a bit included in its ways. Like I’m a step closer to being immersed in the Greek culture. Like I’m a local, but a foreigner all at the same time.