Well, the bus system finally has us so frustrated that we're thinking about possibly buying an old car. There are many downsides, however.
1. Greek drivers are crazy. There don't seem to be any rules. We've been told in all seriousness that they consider STOP signs suggestive only.
2. Obviously, cars are expensive. If we buy an older (i.e. cheaper) car, then we're risking significant, costly repairs down the road.
3. You can't trust anything anyone tells you about a used car. It's common -- no, routine -- for mechanics to roll back the odometer and just completely fabricate new service logs.
4. No one seems sure what bureaucracy we have to negotiate to legally own a car. It seems we need a Greek tax-ID number, which (as with all such government papers) will probably be a BIG hassle.
All that being said, it's proving nearly impossible to accomplish anything without a car, especially from out here in Panorama. As just one example, some days it has taken me 1.5 or 1.75 hours to get from Panorama to the University downtown on the bus. I spend at least 2 hours a day crammed into a bus (and I do mean crammed -- the idea of 'personal space' is QUITE foreign here), with all the windows sealed shut and someone's armpit in my face. By car, it would have been 30 minutes maximum, and I would be able to have fresh air.
All that being said, we've begun cautiously asking friends if they know someone selling a reliable old car. One of the priests at our church here in Panorama, Fr. Panoyioti, has a friend selling his old car and we arranged to meet this morning at the church and test drive it. (See the pictures.) It's a 1997 Fiat Punto 1.3 CC with 208,000 km (130,000 miles) on it. Fr. Alexei test drove it with us and he was impressed. The priests told us it was a good deal for only 2000 Euros ($2600), and that it was a big plus that the guy was honest. That's still A LOT of money, especially when you have no income! ( ;
After that test drive, Fr. Gregory took us to Hortiatis, a nearby village where he saw some used cars for sale. We've arranged to go back this evening and test drive a 1993 Opel Corsa with Fr. Gregory.
In other news, Fr. Alexei has arranged for Pelagia to meet a family that does what I call "Ecclesiastical Woodworking," such as icon stands, etc. If she is able to help them, she'll need a car to get to their place.
Meanwhile, Pelagia has been doing some odd jobs for a local woman, and -- again -- a car would be a big help in this kind of thing.
Well, we'll see...