I got fined today. I would normally accept the guilt, but today it wasn’t fair.
Maxim, Olga, her cousin Tania and I went to a caffe for some ice cream and coffee. The caffe is in the tourist area, where parking has always been a problem. Gladly, recently municipal parking meters has been installed all over the place and finding a parking place became easier. The sad thing about the parking meters is that they accept money for the maximum period of 30 minutes. That means that every 30 minutes you have to come out and pay some more. 30 minutes is way too short, I think. If they want people to move along it’s fine, but give them at least an hour do to their stuff.
Cyprus is well-known for its “sega-sega” (Greek for “slowly-slowly” or something like that) way of life. Noone is ever in a hurry, and noone is every getting late. If a Cypriot (or anyone else who lived in Cyprus for a few years) tells you that he will finish your job in an hour, it actually means tomorrow. If he says tomorrow, than it is probably a couple of days or even a week. If he says a week, than it is a month. If he says soon, than it is never. It might seem strange for the outsiders, but one gets used to it pretty soon. And it’s kind of nice too, when one understands the real timeframe instead of assuming that the words mean what they mean in other places.
Anyway, I parked the car at municipal parking and paid for the 30 minute stand. We were out of the caffe in 46 minutes. And I found a fine that said that I overstayed 13 minutes. 13 minutes!!! That’s in the country where culture allows for days go by without notice. WTF?!
At first I was very pissed about it. But than I tried to imagine the policemen who issued the fine and I understoot that there was no surprise at all. Just bad luck. You see, most of the government workers here, including the policemen, are very slow and unenthusiastic about their work. There are no policemen in this country who would inspect their region for unpaid parking meters every 30 minutes. The guy who issued the fine goes around probably every hour or even two. When he comes, he fines everyone who is unpaid, assuming that by the time the car owner will come, the unpaid time would be enough to not complain. Than he goes back to the office and has a cup of coffee and a game of backgammon.
So I guess this is what happenned. The police guy came, saw the 13 unpaid minutes, considered that I will come much later and wrote the fine. I arrived 3 minutes later and got pissed. Heh…
Now I calmed down. I am thinking if I should complain about the fine. Probably I won’t. At least in any serious matter. I will talk with the policemen in the Limassol municipality and explain the situation. I am not going to argue a lot. It’s just 5 CYP (about 10 US Dollars) anyway. It’s not worth it. Even if I will have to pay I know that my money will be used properly. This is the reason that I always pay for municipal parking even when I don’t have to. I am happy with Limassol municipality. They fix the roads, keep Limassol clean, and organize a bunch of cultural events annually. Good use for the money…