Saturday, April 28, 2018

How Island Locals Survive a Tourist Summer


I was intending to write a piece on the many troubles confronting Greece at the moment, e.g., coping with this August's end to years of financial bailout loans, saddled with unmanageable debt; a strident Turkey rattling sabers daily; a neighbor to the north laying claim to the Greek name Macedonia; continuing Great Depression unemployment levels; crippling tax burdens; an unrelenting refugee crisis; and national elections within a year.  

But as tourists to Greece will not notice any of that, I thought I'd revisit how locals manage to survive tourist season.

The answer is simple...with straight faces.

Now, I’m not talking about the kind of face put on by TV talking heads pontificating on subjects of which they know little and care about even less, or politicians whenever their lips are moving, I mean the faces of everyday common folk doing what they must to make their living off of tourism.

Singer-Artist Ken Richards
Imagine the stress of dealing face-to-face, 24/7, six months a year, with the many ilk, shapes, and demands of international tourism when virtually 100% of your income is dependant on making people happy.  Add to that mix the occasional thorny visitors who act as if they walked on water to get to the island and insist on being venerated as such even when their fly (or gender equivalent) is down.  Make that especially so on such occasions.  It is enough to drive one mad.

As proof I submit the following two photographs, one of a Mykonian at the beginning of the season, another at the end.

I rest my case.  Sort of, for I have more exhibits to present.  I want to show you the variety of expressions relied upon by Mykonians to make it through nearly twenty-hour days, seven times each week.

Some are pretty good at hiding their thoughts.

Others are not.

Some see life through rosé-colored glasses.

Others chose to view it from another planet.

Some grin at it all.

Others do just the opposite.

There are those who tune out and those who tune in, both to the same end.

There are the sophisticated who seem to remain above it all.  And those who lose it to laughter.

There are some who can legitimately claim not to understand.

And others in blinders making them oblivious to what’s going on about them.

But of all the faces, the ones I enjoy the most are found on those who cope the best and remain above it all.

Yes, the young children of the island, for in their innocence they have no need for guile.  Or work.  Ahhhhhh, to memories of days long gone.


Jeff’s Upcoming Events

Friday, May 18 @ 12:30 PM

Bristol, UK
Moderating Panel titled, “Power, Corruption and Greed—Just Another Day at the Office,” with panelists Jeff Dowson, Thomas Enger, Abir Mukherjee, and Abi Silver.

Saturday, May 19 @ 2:50 PM
Bristol, UK
Participating in Panel moderated by our Michael Sears titled, “Getting Personal—Private Lives of Characters,” with co-panelists Kjell Ola Dahl, Mari Hannah, and Priscilla Masters.


  1. Isaac Asimov:

    In memory yet green, in joy still felt,
    The scenes of life rise sharply into view.
    We triumph; Life's disasters are undealt,
    And while all else is old, the world is new.

    1. Beautifully put, EvKa--I mean Isaac. Thought at times, I think I need add a bit of Scott's turf builder to get the process going.

  2. It's amazing the toll tourism can take on a place - and yet, the locals of Mykonos seem to maintain a good attitude, if your photos are any indication! (A place I'd like to visit, someday, indeed - and I promise to keep the fly up, virtually and otherwise.)

    1. With the way the island is headed, Susan, I think you'll be alone in observing such civilized behavior. But I'll let you know how things are going when I get back to Mykonos IN THREE WEEKS!!