Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Greek Food

Monday, November 06, 2006

Europe starts at Greece

Its more than two months now and we have started enjoying Greece. We are passing through Attiki Metro station and seen this Caption in one of the pictures in a Shop “Europe starts at Greece”.

How can I validate this one? Here go some of my explanations.

1) Location - Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa. South is Africa, East being Asia and North West is Europe. So location wise it’s the gateway to Europe.
2) Weather – Whether is not like typical European, but in winter it snows in some places and but in summer it is hot, almost like Asia, perhaps not like Africa.
Sometime it rains heavily and remembers me Indian Monsoon. So we can say its not truly European, but the typical Eu weather starts here.

3) Cuisine - Typical combination of Continental and Asian Cuisine. We have tested Souvaliki. Souvlaki is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. Gyros is similar to souvlaki pita. The souvlaki is replaced by gyros (kebab usually made of pork- But we have taken Chiken). Some Greek foods are specie though some foods are quite slimier to European Burgers.
4) Immigrants – The immigrant pool is quite big here as it is close to Asia, Africa and developing east European nations. It’s considered the gateway to EU, thus getting visa is strict and my practical experience is horrible, simply nightmare. It’s mainly because Europe starts here.
5) People – look wise and behavior wise they are quite similar to typical Europeans but not quite formal, methodical like proper Europeans. Common Greek people are broad minded, not raciest and are open to different culture, but sometime they are impatient and behave harshly and talk loudly. Still I like them.
6) Civilization - Ancient Greece is the period in Greek history which lasted for around one thousand years and ended with the rise of Christianity. The first sign of civilization in Greece was on the island of Crete from around 2600 BC, and by 1600 BC, it had risen to become a larger civilization across much of Greece. So, European civilization started here thousands year back.
7) EU- The European Union (EU) is a supranational and intergovernmental union of 25(will be 27 as Romania and Bulgaria is going to join in 2007) independent, democratic member states. Greece is south most one and also detached from the major cluster. So to neighboring countries it’s the beginning of EU.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Daylight Saving Time

I always forget daylight saving time in Europe and this is happened this time also. I have knocked the door of my colleague one hour before the scheduled time today for going to office and he remembered me that we have one more hour to sleep, so relax.

Its normal for an Indian to forget this kind of funny things, changing time by one hour and apparently it seems ridiculous. But it happens in many countries in Europe and America. Someone who do not know about it, can refer to this link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time :Daylight saving time (DST), also known as summer time, is a widely used system of adjusting the official local time forward, usually by one hour from its official standard time, for the spring, summer, and early autumn periods. The term Daylight savings time, although commonly used, is technically incorrect.
DST is most commonly used in temperate regions, due to the considerable variation in the amount of daylight versus darkness across the seasons in those regions.
Governments often tout it as an energy conservation measure, on the grounds that it allows more effective use of natural sunlight resource in summer time. Since there is less darkness in the "waking day", there is less use of electric lights. Some opponents reject this argument also.
Well, coming back to my own experience.
First time I have heard about it once I was in UK and I was utterly surprised to see that the Public Store, TESCO was closed one hour before the scheduled time in London, and I could not make some shopping in the last Sunday of March. We loose one hour in March end and gain that hour in October end.
Next year in March I was in Denmark and listening music in midnight. I had a danish lapi and it automatically updated its time with the CET Daylight Saving Time change. Initially I thought that my clock was wrong. In October, I was in Denmark again and could not remember what happened.
Last year it was shocking . We missed our train from Bergen to Voss for Daylight Saving Time change. Fortunately the ticket was flexible and we went to Myrdal, instead of clockwise, we completed our tour anti clockwise in an innovative way. But our friends in Italy missed Express train for this reason on the same day, and its obvious for the Indians to miss something, specially in March last Sunday when time goes forward by an hour.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Comparative analysis of European cities – I have seen so far

This is my perception of the cities I have seen. The parameters of measuring these cities can vary and also can be rated in different way depending on the choice of the evaluator, opportunity of seeing all places and personal experiences he has. But to me this is the rating as of now. It never means that Malmo or Bergen is not my favorite place; I like all these cities, but wile measuring with big Cities they got less point. So there is nothing against nationality or people or place. For an example, if we consider the Natural Beauty, Norway is the best place to me I have seen so far. But the Cities are rated in different parameters and came down the list.

The Parameters I have considered here is Cultural Heritage, General Appearance, Place for Living, Touristy Attraction, People and Language. Paris and Athens are best in Cultural Heritage close to London, but as a mega city London is much better to me (personal conception). As a place for living I am much more comfortable with Copenhagen and London. But as a place Copenhagen came in 6th position, rather Stockholm is the best city in Scandinavia, so far I feel.

Click in the following Picture to see the detailed list.

City Country Rank Total point

London UK 1st 42
Paris France 2nd 37
Stockholm Sweden 3rd 35
Berlin Germany 4th 34
Athens Greece 5th 32
Amsterdam Netherlands 5th 32
Copenhagen Denmark 6th 30
Oslo Norway 7th 28
Arhus Denmark 8th 25
Birmingham UK 9th 21
Bergen Norway 9th 21
Munich Germany 9th 21
Malmo Sweden 10th 19

This is the comparative analysis of 13 cities of 8 countries I have been so far. I have not included some small cities of places like Skayen, Randers, Roskilde etc in Denmark, and Fusen, Potsdam in Germany, or Britan in UK or Aegina in Greece. This is the comparison between relatively bigger towns and cities.

Amsterdam and Berlin is also very interesting cities in terms of Touristy Attraction. I enjoyed these trips because of their different tests and culture. Some of the Museums in Amsterdam are wonderful like Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank Museum, Rembrandt House, and Rijksmuseum.
Berlin has its own significance for controversial historical place, especially from Second World War.

The best way to see a city is either take a canal cruse (if possible, like I took in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen) or go as high as possible like in a telephone tower or top of sky rise building (In UK- London Eye, In Stockholm, Berlin – TV tower, In Copenhagen City Church). A conducted tour can also help to know the places better.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Europeans think of India

Well, it’s almost two months here and in this month I have not been to many placed in Greece. Mainly work and life balance. While talking to some of my colleagues here, I tried to find out what they think about India and I was surprised to know some interesting points, especially Kama sutra. I had no idea that it could have been one of the major points that can come in one’s mind. If I have been asked to tell about India, I could have never told about this as it is quite common and trivial. But its not in deed and one can never know what people is going to like, what they are pondering or taking into consideration. Here is a small list; I have not given the names as some of my colleagues may not like it.

This concept came in my mind from one of my Bulgarian friend, who asked to guess me what he can think about India. I thought about the following ten points.

Huge population, Big Country
Ancient Civilization
IT and outsourcing
Religion and Secularism
Poverty and pollution
British Rule and Mahatma Gandhi
Himalayas, Thor Desert, River Ganges, Rain Forests, Wild life
Age old Temples and majestic sculptures
Kashmir and conflict with Pakistan
Cricket and Veda, Sanskrit language

But I was wrong. Totally wrong. We were in car with my Russian and Bulgarian Friend and both of them have told Kama sutra comes in their mind first while thinking about India. Then comes the Gandhi family and assassination of Rajeev Gandhi and Ancient Civilization. My Russian colleague told two different points. The river Ganges and burning dead bodies besides it, communicating through boat in the rivers and his wife thinks about the traditional dresses, Sharee and Bindis of Indian women.

After having this conversation, I though to discuss this topic with some other colleagues and here go the short version of it. I am not distinguishing persons by their nationality; rather it’s just for having a conception about what different people from different countries in Europe things about it.

Greek friend in Project: Colour of Textile, dresses, Elephant, Population, Religion
Greek friend in our team: Cow, Rail Network
Polish manager of project: IT, Kamasutra, Big population, Mahatma Gandhi and Kashmir – Conflicts with Pakistan, Cast and religion, poverty
One colleague told about Bollywood Movies and Gandhi family in addition

So there are some common things like domestic and wild animals. They think we all have lot of siblings and the tradition of having many children is still going in India. Sometime they ask about the security and whether of India, but its so big that I can not summarise in any particular topics. When they know that we have more than 50 languages in 29 States they feel lost. Sometime surprise to know that English is official language of India and Arrange Marriage still the major method of marriage in India.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

After one month in Greece

After staying here for one month, I came to know lot about Greece. Specially I recollect my memories. So I thought its better to Jot down them before I forget again.

Some famous Historical figures.. that I can remember

1. Herodotus - The father of History, had written lot about Greek History BC
2. Homer - was a legendary early Greek poet and rhapsode traditionally credited with the composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey, commonly assumed to have lived in the 8th century BC
3. Archimedes - (c. 287 BC212 BC) was an ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher

Church in front of our apartment in Aharnon Street, Attika , Athens

But the following things was not known to me..

  • It was not known to me that Greece is so good in Basketball, they are the runners one in the Basketball World cup recently concluded

  • From 14th to 18th Century Greece was under Turkish Rule and got independence on 1821

  • So after the foreign inveigler's, Greece did not have major cultural development

  • The first civilization of Europe was in Greece, but The Mesopotamia and Indian Civilization is much older than ancient Greek civilization

  • Lot of immigrants came to Greece in last few decades, specially from Albania, East-Europe, Middle-East, Pakistan, Africa, Bangladesh etc and most of them are unemployed. So as the unemployment rate is growing higher, the crime rate has also increased here

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits are available in every market, and cultivation is one of the major occupation for the inhabitants

  • This is a list of some of the 1400 islands of Greece, of which 227 are inhabited. Only 78 islands have more than 100 inhabitants

  • The modern Greek language is quite similar with the ancient Greek and very different from any other language in Europe, so average people in Greece can not speak in English

  • The total population of Greece is 11.3 million which is less than greater Kolkata population of 13 million, Athens has a population of 3.7 million

  • Athens is very congested, dense and traffic congestion is very high here, so in every major square we can see traffic police controlling traffics

  • Unemployment is a big issue here and thats why getting visa (specially work visa) is nightmare

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Before coming in Athens what I knew about Greece

What I Know about Greece ?

Let me jot down the points I know about Greece before coming here.

1. An ancient civilization was grown up here thousands of year back and its a old country with good culture.
2. Letters of Greek Language are used in physics - means it has a significant base of science

3. Olympic games started here in 1896 and last one was also held here in 2004

4. Alexander was a great fighter and was an emperor of a big kingdom

5. The Country is in the south of the Europe and surrounded by the sea, hot and beautiful tourist place

6. 2004 Euro Champion but failed to qualify in 2006 Football World Cup

7. Near to Middle East - means must be populated by people from different community

8. Iliad and Oddisi was written based on the historic movements and battles here