Sunday, 26 January 2014

Holy Smoke

On Friday night, we decided to break routine and do as the Greek’s do, go out with our children after 7 pm.

This town is the Greek version of Home and Away’s, Summer Bay – only it’s not that sleepy. Greece’s Summer Bay is really Mykonos with children.

We walked to our local Paidotopo, a café that is also a children’s play centre. Its opening hours are 10 a.m to 2 p.m, then 5.30 p.m. to 12.00 a.m! 

Our local Paidotopo is like walking onto set for an episode of Cheers for Children, where everybody knows your name. It’s warm, friendly and fun.

Our local has a thousand activities, an indoor slippery dip, jumping castle, a dedicated supervisor who takes the children gently by the hand and plays with them for as long as you are there. She is not frightened to return naughty children to their parents, and will not tolerate bullying.  Best of all, 
Paidotopo has a bar, (of course for the parents).

The owner (his name is Archilea, not Sam), was pleased to see that I broke routine and decided to have a life after 7 pm, lined up free shots to celebrate.  I couldn’t help but accept.  A shot for me, him, and Mr. Right, and any other parent willing to celebrate my breaking routine. 

I ordered a drink (not coffee or a herbal tea) and made my way to a table, navigating the pushchair like L plater without her glasses.  Sadly I have become a one drink wonder.

My Baily’s on ice arrived shortly after.  It was a juice glass filled to the brim. There was more Bailey’s than ice. This is not uncommon in Greece. You get value for money here. Funnily enough, you rarely see anyone drunk.   I knew I would have to sit on it for about five hours to ensure I didn't join the baby in the pushchair for the ride home.

We sat chatting to other parents; we were having a great time as was Little Miss.  

There were two sections in the café. Smoking and non smoking. It didn't really make a difference where we sat, the smell of nicotine slowly made its way over to where we sat.  

I worried about Baby sleeping in her pushchair and the effects of second hand smoke. I worried about Little Miss, thinking she was lining her lungs with tar each time she ran through the smoking section to get to me, to tell me she was having a good time.

The music wasn't pumping but it got everybody’s toe tapping.  Some got up and started to dance and sing.  Children, too young to get embarrassed joined their parents, others sat at the tables watching.  

Everyone was having a good time, but me.

I wasn't sure whether it was the strength of the smell of nicotine, or my paranoia that spoilt my mood. I just wasn't comfortable with children (and importantly my children) being exposed to cigarette smoke.

We got home and for the first time in a long time Little Miss went to bed without a struggle.  When I put the Baby and Little Miss to bed, I couldn't help but smell the scent of nicotine on their hair.  I don’t often need an excuse not to sleep, but the smell and the worry kept me wide eyed.

Greece has made multiple attempts to introduce anti-smoking laws. They've largely been ignored.  
Smoking in Greece was at the highest rate of tobacco consumption (more than 40%) in the European Union in 2010. There are smokers everywhere. You just can’t avoid it.

I know it is way too early to create a connection between anti-smoking laws and life expectancy, other factors such as stress and lifestyle need to factored in but…

The overall life expectancy in Australia is 83 years.  In the United Kingdom it’s 81. In Greece, where caution is thrown to the wind, rules are broken all the time, people are told to relax, and of course they do, life expectancy is 81 years.

I can’t help but think, who is really living?

This blog forms part of Lisa Lintern’s blog a day challenge.  Visit Melodramatic Me for more.


  1. Awesome post Elle. From someone who panics when her kids are out past 7pm, but the odd time we do it, it feels like it does us all good. But the smoking thing? Yeah, that would freak me out too.

  2. : ) Thanks Lisa. When we arrange to meet up with friends, and they say 'let's catch up in the afternoon, they mean 7 - 8 pm!!! The smoking thing I can't get used to, and don't think I will. x Elle