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April 14, 2006

More form filling - opening our Greek electricity account

An early start on Thursday, as my landlord had arranged to pick me up at 8:10am to go and transfer the electricity account for the flat from his name to mine. It wasn't too much of a hardship, currently the alarm goes off at 6:45am so one of us can get up and put the boiler on, and we are usually up by 7:30am. We might currently be unemployed, but there are no idle lay-abouts here.

Yet again I was so glad our landlord took me, because I would never have found the electricity office. It is right on the outskirts of town - although admittedly closer than Athens where my research had led me to believe we had to go!

We got seen straight away, the landlord handed over his last bill, I gave my passport and shiny new Greek tax number, and then €59 lighter after paying a deposit on our account, we were done. So now we were officially paying for our own electricity. I immediately sent a text to Claire - "Switch the boiler off".

I managed to give the landlord a fright in the car. As we were getting nowhere with finding out how we get this damned residence permit that it seems nobody except the telephone company care about, whilst we were in the car I thought I'd ask him.

"We need to get a residence permit. So we can stay longer than three months. We have to go to the police. Can you tell me where the police station is, or where we have to go"

At the mention of the 'p' word he nearly pulled the car up with an emergency stop.

"Police? Police? Is problem?"

"No, no", I said, forgetting of course that a hurried cockney 'no, no' sounds like 'vαι, ναι', which is Greek for "Yes, yes", but eventually I (think) I reassured him.

The police station was near the electricity office, so he gave me directions to it. I didn't have the required papers with me to apply straight away, but I thought it would be useful to establish where it is. No joy though, I couldn't find it. Looking at the map later I must have walked by it, so obviously I just didn't recognise it as a police station.

It was about a half-hour walk to the old harbour from the electricity office, and I spent an hour-and-a-half in the internet cafe there until Claire met me at 11 to go on an exciting form-filling adventure together.

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