Well, perhaps living in Crete may not exactly be Paradise, but, according to most local residents, it is as close as we are going to come for a while, especially in this day and age of world-wide violence and constant threat of terrorist attacks. An unofficial survey shows that in all respects, save one, Crete is the safest place to reside – violent crime is almost non-existent, terrorist threats are nil and the illegal immigrant situation is totally under control. Being reasonably safe, coupled with low cost of living (you can rent a house for about the price of a couple of steaks at Peter Luger’s) and almost 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, it is kind of a great place to live.
THE DARKER SHADE: For some reason, Cretans become totally insane when they get behind the wheel of a car or grab the handlebars of a motorcycle. In this usually laid-back land, where most tasks are done avrio (tomorrow), the drivers are constantly testing the top end of their vehicles. The number one truism I learned upon moving to this island, came from a Cretan friend who told me: “A Cretan is never in a hurry until he gets behind the wheel of a car.” The result: Greece is constantly number one in Europe in road accident deaths per capita, and Crete is number one in Greece. So far, no one has been able to explain this deadly phenomenon. There is a tradition in Crete for a family to erect a roadside monument at the spot where a loved one was killed in an accident. There are so many of these shrines along the National highway, that it now resembles a single-file mortuary. I know what some of you are saying at this point, about drivers in your own countries. I used to say the same thing when I was on the LIE or Cross Bronx Expressway. However, when I now drive in New York when on holiday, it is a welcomed relief.
Of course, the good greatly outweigh the bad on my island, and, when you think about it, it’s pretty cool to call home a place that a couple of million people save all year just to visit for a week or two.