RHODES - the Sunshine Isle

WARWICK GREEK ISLAND GUIDES

  THE GOOD TOURIST

 
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If you are passing a local, even if you do not know them, always say hello in Greek - paying attention to the time of day.

 

Some of this might seem like teaching you to suck eggs, but here goes...
 
  • DEPORTMENT
Wearing smart and clean clothes - even when you are going to the beach - is highly recommended. Shorts and T shirts, for example, are absolutely fine - if they are clean and freshly ironed.  Looking clean and tidy will show the Greeks you respect them and their country.  It is a simple sentiment but one we should all pay heed to.  Doing so will give them a good impression. They will then show more respect towards you.
 
Important:   Never enter any Greek church or even  a tiny chapel partially uncovered.  Long trousers and long sleeved shirts are essential.  Women must cover their heads with something like a scarf and should wear a skirt that covers most of their legs and cover their arms - a thin shawl is easy to use and carry for temporary compliance.  Sounds silly?  It's not optional - you either cover-up or don't bother visiting churches.  Anyway it's easy to stash your reserve garb in a small bag and take it with you - just nip behind something and pull/put on your gear. Voilà! 
 
  • SAY SOMETHING IN GREEK!

If you are passing a local, even if you do not know them, always say hello in Greek - paying attention to the time of day.  This should normally elicit a friendly response and make them and yourself feel good and allow the Greek person to see that you are a well-mannered and respectful visitor - they will love that. Obviously a street full of Greeks would be impractical and not expected unless you know someone.

Tourists have a dreadful habit of turning Greek people into the background props to their self-serving pleasure trip rather than acknowledge them as human beings with feelings, and use their trip as a sociological pleasure as well as a chance to chill out.  It's simple expediency and makes a stay in Greece so much more enjoyable when we stick to good ambassadorial etiquette. 

Additionally, speaking a few words of Greek in the restaurant, shop or bar will instantly proffer respect of some sort upon you.  Greeks really do warm to people who are at least trying to speak their mother tongue. At the risk of stating the obvious the lingua franca might well be English but the Greek language is still alive and well and spoken fluently by Greeks - think about that!

 

  • RUDE GESTURES

Never stick your thumb up to any Greek - it's like telling them to stick a finger somewhere personal - if you get my drift. It won't mean good luck or 'good one' - most likely it will offend in some way or illicit nervous laughter. It's a no-no.

 

  • THE EVIL EYE

Never stare into the face of a Greek unless you are wearing dark glasses. Eye contact should be approximate, indirect and not full-on - don't stair into their eyes as it is considered very rude - unless you are in love with someone. Those meltingly lovely brown Greek eyes may seem like heaven, I know, but resist the urge. The belief in the mythical 'evil eye' whilst an ancient one is still prevalent in modern Greece - believe me. They see the evil eye as a genuine power to cause harm or even kill, just through the ability of some people to cast the 'evil eye' and affect damage their victims.  Sounds like rubbish and myth but old beliefs still linger. Glancing is always best.

 

Sorry - but you can't go to a bar or eatery dressed like that!

  • DRESS CODE

Unless you are eating/drinking at a beach establishment, then swimming costumes or beachwear are not suitable for restaurants or bars and Greeks will be offended if you do not bother  to cover up.  This disrespects their sensibilities and tourists should always honour this aspect of Greek ethos.  Greeks have a formal side which is steeped in tradition and is an expedient to good relations and interaction between Greeks and visitors.

In the evening it is polite for men to wear long trousers and women to dress so that their breasts are fully covered (no décolleté faux pas!).

In addition, never go topless unless the beach you are on is a designated nudist beach - often locals share the beaches and they can be woefully offended by bare boobs or bare bodies.  Cover up or find a nudist beach area is always the best advice.  Finally, it is technically illegal unless the beach is nudist.
 
  • NOISE

The Greeks hate loud music and noise unless it is coming from a suitable bar or whatever local agreement has been made regarding noise levels.

Never play loud music anywhere unless you have permission from the owners of the place you are staying at. This is especially true of the quiet islands and resorts where islanders are used to peace and quiet - as are many of the guests who go there for that particular reason.  That's not to say raised voices are outlawed - the Greeks are generally gregarious, expressive and wear their hearts on their sleeves - and so quick to express consternation, anger or joy.  That is why Greeks are so very interesting and lovable.

©KMW2010

 

The dear old lady in black is probably a widow (hence the black) as well as a real person!  Why not make her day by saying hello in Greek?

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Warwick Greek Island Guides are a wholly independent series of travel websites owned and run by Keith M Warwick and giving objective advice, without the corporate, editorial or other interference of any other organization.  We cherish our independence and hope all visitors do too and hope you find your visit both useful and worthwhile.

KMWarwick

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