Friday, January 27, 2012

O Xeros Potamos -- 'The Dry River'?

This morning when I went to make breakfast at six, I saw that we were out of milk so I set out in the car for the nearest place that would be open, the Market at Mandria Junction.  Crossing the bridge over the river below the dam, I realised that something had changed.  Instead of the usual dark chasm of earth and rock, the space below the span was white and swirling, and even though there was not light enough to see, I knew that the dam had overflowed and that the river was coming down.

A few hours later, I set out under (relatively) clear skies to have a look... Along with, it seemed, the rest of Paphos and his donkey.

First stop was the river side, where I joined an elderly gent who was videoing from his phone.

"O Xeros Potamos?"  I asked him.  "The 'Dry River'?  That's its name, right?" I asked him in Greek.  He snorted.  "That's what they say!"  Then shook his head in wonder... "Πολύ νερό, πολύ νερό..." A lot of water, yes indeedy!

Atop the dam, the populace and the press was out in force.  Even when the hail began.  The Highway Department has blocked ingress from one side of the dam, but a steady stream of cars, icecream vans, fruit sellers, and donut and snack vans kept arriving from the other side, parking, leaving, hooting...  The buying, selling, photographing, laughing, continued unabated.

"Κοίτα! Ξανά χαλάζει! (Look!  Its hailing again!) yelled one man, grinning, and turned his face to the sky.  Lightning flashed, thunder cracked, and hailstones gathered in the folds of my jacket.

By this time my shoes were wet and my jeans soaked to the knee.  I decided that I had had enough and ran for the car.

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