Thursday, 15 May 2008
Since last week, when petrol tanker drivers called a nationwide strike and stopped delivering petrol to retail outlets, Greek drivers became overtaken by panic. "Have you got the car filled up?" my husband kept asking me. I kept telling him that I had enough petrol for my needs to last me until the end of this week. "Is the tank full?" he inquired. I told him it wasn't, but I didn't need to fill it up; as I said, I had enough for my needs to last me right through to the following Monday. In any case, all the service stations in proximity to where I do business were closed - at the entrance, they all had little hand-written signs with "KAYSIMA TELOS" (no more fuel).
On Wednesday morning, as I was taking the children to school, I noticed 10 cars queuing up to fill their petrol tanks at the Silk Oil service station on the main road which leads to mainly rural suburbs out of Hania. I was tempted to stop myself; it wouldn't take long, I thought, but I may as well drop off the children and return to join the queue on my own. When I returned, the cars had become 30 in number. Not a very long queue; the service station was in sight (on the right behind the truck coming in the opposite direction). But I wish I'd bought a book along; I stayed motionless in this queue from 8.30am to 10am. The petrol tanker arrived at 9.30am to fill up the service station's reservoir, we had to wait for half an hour as a safety precaution for the petrol to settle, and I left the service station with a full tank at 10.40am. And just for the record, There's the price I paid (the first one listed, in EUROS).
I wasted 2 hours of my morning waiting to buy petrol that I didn't need until next week (the strike ended on Thursday night - I still had enough to last me three days). I also saw some of the worst examples of my fellow countrypeople - queue jumpers like this one (there were dozens of them), who decided to wait outside the service station (causing the most incredible traffic jams) and fill up plastic canisters with petrol to pour into their car's reservoir in order to avoid queuing.