Sunday 2 September 2018

Greek Series: Vehicular Taxonomy

Home-made agricultural vehicle
Fun with Leftovers
As may be deduced by my utter disinterest in the Automobile as a Genus, I neither drive nor indeed own a driver's license, so ordinarily pay little attention to the choices people make with their vehicles. However, there were a few notable sub-species that I felt were worthy of inclusion into my ongoing Greek Series. First up is this dapper gent, above, who has crafted his own ingenious work horse out of bits and pieces from about the traps. I am sure it has excellent off-road capabilities and it falls squarely into the Variety of Agrarian-DIY. In Australia he may be referred to as a Bush Mechanic.

Fiat 500 is a popular Greek choice for an economy vehicle
Ciao Gino!

 Even I could not fail to notice how expensive petrol was in Greece, (around twice that in Australia) so was heartened to see the very sensible and economical Fiat 500, a.k.a. the "Gino", absolutely everywhere. It is possibly the most popular car there right now (according to my unscientific observations) and the one and only car that holds any interest for moi as for many years and many kilometres this was Mr. Pipistrello's car, too*. This is a fine example of the Variety Eco-Sensible.

Three-wheeled utility vehicle in Greece
Three-wheeled Ute
These three-wheeler utility vehicles, or Tradesman's Trike, need no introduction to anyone familiar with labourers around Southern Europe. They are probably a modified Scooter as they sound exactly the same, but can accommodate up to two burly passengers and a tray-load of Masculine Miscellany and travel at the giddy speed of around a Brisk Walking Pace. I would suggest that all the three vehicles above are Varieties of the same same Species, the Modified Lawnmower.

Death Trap Scooter-Chic
Summertime Scooter-Chic
This duo are astride the zippy Mediterranean staple, Genus Death Trap, Species Scooter, which comes with a host of levels of road-worthiness and noisiness (the Italian Vespa, or Wasp, is such an appropriate name). As may be noted, the absence of socks on the pillion passenger is the only indication of the weather at the time - it was well over 30 degrees that day! - but they were otherwise stylish and comfortable. The helmet on the driver did surprise me as my recollection of the Grecian laxity toward road safety was embodied in my own experience as an eventually competent scooter rider on Patmos 23 years ago. (... Hey, T, remember when we actually wore helmets in those early days? What were we thinking??)

Fisherman's Runabout in Greek Harbour
From the Sublime ...

And so to the maritime Genus of private vessels, Mucking About With Boats: In addition to the Pleasure Craft sheltering in the harbour, we have these little examples of the variety Fishermen's Runabouts, with a strong flavour of the DIY-modification about them, too. Amazing what you can do with a row boat and a couple of wooden boxes. Just add an outboard motor and you could be a sea-going scooter rider!

Luxury cruiser in Greek islands
 ... To the Ridiculous

If your eyes are good enough, you may see that this example of the variety Maritime Luxe bears the name "Christina O." Yes, that Christina O. (Pipistrello and the Lovely L did not get an invitation to drinks aboard this, ahem, Billionairess' Runabout but did get to spy upon it while relaxing on a beach after working as navvies on the Despotiko dig one day). Looks like she may be in possession of all the mod-cons.

Port Chaos on Paros at night

Finally, just a fun shot to see what it looks like when man, beast, car, scooter, articulated lorry and roll-on-roll-off ferry get together at a port. Lovely L and I wove our wheely-bags between this tooting and honking chaos as we disembarked the Blue Star ferry, the Patmos, on Paros. Of the 6,000 Greek islands, what was the chance that our ferry for this trip was named after the last island I visited, so long ago?

* I did enjoy being chauffeured about in Gino, with his cream paintwork and red leather seats, but we have gone even more eco-sensible these days and are now car-free, and Gino was put out to pasture.


  1. So enjoyed this post, thank you. I had entirely forgotten about some of these modes of transportation which I'd witnessed on my trips to Greece and her beautiful islands long ago. The Greek moped also reminded me of it's relative, the Mexican moped where, would you believe it, entire families (and sometimes their luggage and shopping) all cram aboard, babies, children and all! Quite a sight I can tell you!

  2. Oh, yes! A very common sight in south-east Asia, too - motorized beasts of burden driven by circus performers!

    Very nice to see you again, CD.


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