Sunshine, or Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

@thea09 (18327)
Greece
September 12, 2009 12:26pm CST
Some people like to enjoy the habit of train spotting, watching trains go by and making notes about them. They are often referred to as 'anoraks'. This is a kind of waterproof coat which protects them from the weather as they watch trains in bad weather. Some people also like to watch planes, or cars, and take notes and photographs. Back in 2001 fourteen people,mostly English, were arrested as spies for taking photographs of planes at a military airbase where signs clearly prohibited the taking of photographs. This is my local airport. Some were imprisoned for 37 days in Greek prisons. They were not spies but plane enthusiasts, or 'anoraks', but they broke the Greek law. They were cleared as spies and the lawyer summarised by saying that the Greeks have the sunshine so have no need to have hobbies such as plane spotting. Any thoughts on this type of hobby, other hobbies which cause problems, or on this case?
4 people like this
14 responses
@Hatley (164507)
• Garden Grove, California
12 Sep 09
hi thea myhusband and i used to go to the phoenix airport sky harbor and watch the planes take off and leave.we didnt take any pictures however. we did drive outside phoenix and found an underground facility with armed guards and a bunchof warning signs and what not so we just viewed it from a distance. it was some type of military project but we couldnt get close enough to know what it was.photographs were also strictly forbidden.We would never go to' a military installation and take forbidden photos.
2 people like this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
Hi Hatley, I know you never did it but I wonder what the consequences would be for an American taking prohibited photographs at a military place as they wouldn't be able to arrest you as a foreign spy. Just a thought. When this did happen over here it was a huge story in the UK press but not at all over here as the Greeks just weren't interested and had no concept of people watching and photographing planes as a hobby,
• United States
15 Sep 09
I have never heard of the term that you use for this hobby, but I do know a lot of people that like to watch the various forms of transportation, so I guess it is the same thing. I know that being accused of being a spy is a serious matter, but they obviously wouldn't have made very good spies if they were openly taking pictures of planes. I love exploring old, abandoned buildings. They always seem interesting to me, especially the ones that look like they could be a backdrop in a horror film. I think it is fun to see what is inside them, the layout of the house, and look for any clues as to why the house might have been abandoned. Unfortunately, the police might view this as "trespassing", so I have to be careful not to get caught. So what about you? Do you have any hobbies that might cause problems? 'Fess up.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
16 Sep 09
Hi purplealabaster, well that certainly sounds unusual traipsing round abandoned buildings, hopefully in the dark to add a little more atmosphere. You can tell the police you were looking for a body rumoured to be secreted on the premises but your source wasn't perfectly reliable. Spies in large groups wearing conspicous anoraks whilst openly breaking the law I agree was always an unlikely scenario, but a most amusing one, and certainly gave a little fame to our local airport. Hobbies myself. We don't go in for that kind of nonsense in Greece and if I did it would sully my reputation no end as being completely non conformist.
• United States
16 Sep 09
LOL - I might consider that suggestion, Thea, but I'm afraid that they would find a body and think I put it there!
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Sep 09
There's always the chance of a new hobby though, inspecting the insides of police stations. Don't worry, Thea, they will never find the bodies that I've hidden. Urm, I'm mean I'd NEVER do anything of the sort. Really.
1 person likes this
@dbutheking (2347)
• India
15 Sep 09
Thinking what to respond....... - thinking smiley
I am thinking about what to respond... Hmm..May be pranking the friends.. heheh..
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
15 Sep 09
dbu, as you have nothing to say I can only presume you are following Mike around whilst wearing an anorak There were two of you a minute ago, the other one was eating souvlaki.
1 person likes this
• India
16 Sep 09
What is souvlaki? Your Question was about the hobbies which will trouble others isn't it? If not like that Explain me in a simple English.. I thought pranking with friends is one kind of hobby which is trouble to others isn't it? Have a great day..
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
16 Sep 09
Whoopee just noticed the signed up members reached 50. dbu, pranking friends is a nice hobby and not likely to get arrested. You won't like souvlaki as you don't eat meat, it is skewered pork on a stick. You can give your bit to Mike
@malpoa (1218)
• India
13 Sep 09
I used to have this hobby of counting bikes in school. The motorbikes which I counted were of Honda and were all red in colour. Two of my friends did this too and by evening we used to compare our numbers...it was a weird hobby, I do not know why we did it!!! I gave it up after a few years, got fed up of it hi hi...I usually get bored of doing the same thing for over a period of time...Now I live somewhat 12km from the airport and when I hear airoplanes, I see out of he window and try to make out which country's plane it is. If it is domestic plane, I try to figure out which company it belongs to...but this one isnt a hobby, I do it only occassionally. Also I had this habit of counting everything countable...While in a bus, I used to count the number of seats, number of people wearing same colour...it was fun and a good time pass too..I still do it sometimes..
@malpoa (1218)
• India
13 Sep 09
aeroplanes!! I have been misspelling a lot of words!!!
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
13 Sep 09
Hi Malpoa, you do realise that you've just confessed to being a secret anorak. It was indeed a weird thing to do as this kind of thing is most usually a boy thing to do. Counting things on buses sounds a harmless way to pass the journey and the way you observe planes now could hardly be considered too much, it's not as if you are travelling around to foreign places to photograph them. We have very few planes fly overhead, but I do watch the sea planes when they swoop locally to refill their water supplies to deal with a sudden fire, they often have to fly miles off course for water to a less windy area.
@malpoa (1218)
• India
14 Sep 09
Hi hi I know, it was long back and I wasnt a serious one at that...hmm i have seen planes filling water but only in movies. My hometown is near coastal area and cost guards helicopter used to hover around quite often, but those were grey in colour and i didnt used to mind it...
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
12 Sep 09
i haven't come across any tourist guide booklet that includes local laws.....i will make sure to take note of that. but yes the world has become a difficult place to live in. we recently had a case in which one of our popular actors was interrogated for two hours in some US airport, apparently because he belonged to a particular religion....a sad reality. good thing i quit all hobbies except for surfing the net.....i wonder if that can create a problem?
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
Hi Sunny, these were plane enthusiasts who probably read up about the airport and the planes there before they even arrived and also there were massive pictorial signs up forbidding the taking of photographs so it wasn't as if it was an obscure local law which they disobeyed, it was a long standing law at this airport. Regarding the interrogation at airports though this is clearly ridiculous, picking on someone because of their appearance, presumably his religion wouldn't have been shown on his passport. T his will have had a knock on bad publicity effect against the US in your country I would expect.Surfing the internet should be safe but best to remember that your hard drive stores all those dodgy sites you visit such as Mylot
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
13 Sep 09
mylot..? dodgy..??...i wonder why my anti-virus didn't beep on that one.....okay.... i have informed the intelligence agencies and they promised to keep an eye on this. (time to interrogate mylot..). and yes, about the actor, it certainly was a big issue here and he has said that he would not like to visit US again. and another actor canceled his trip to US, indefinitely, for no apparent reason..!
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
13 Sep 09
That's hardly suprising about the actor, bad news spreads much quicker than good and the Americans do themselves no favours by doing things like that. Can you imagine the news if India detained a top American actor for interregation?
@wolfie34 (26793)
• United Kingdom
13 Sep 09
Hi Thea, people always make jokes about anoraks and transport enthusiasts but I say each to their own, they are harmless and it's a hobby, there are much worst things to do with ones time. I can't see the fascination myself in taking numbers down which they seem to do. I don't like the sunshine anyhow so anything would be preferable than that, so I could be seen as weird by some! However recently at my art class I seem to have developed an interest in boats and ships and drawing them. Mind you I did go to the Titanic museum last month one of my favourite pieces of history and I have a fascination with boats so I could be classed as a shipophile or a boat anorak. So it would be Planes, Trains, Boats and Automobiles!
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
13 Sep 09
Hi Wolfie, it's a harmless enough hobby I agree and much preferable to football hooliganism or playing the drums, but it can lead to trouble if practiced over here where the whole idea of any sort of hobby is an unknown life style choice. You can't be described as a boat anorak unless you insist on keeping it on in the classroom whilst you draw. Oh you do. I didn't realise there was a Titanic museeum in the UK, where is it? We have tons of boats over here as you can imagine, ranging from small to large fishing boats, fancy yachts up at the marina in town, and a selection of ships. In fact we saw the largest cruise ship ever the other week parked up in town and my son declared it must be bigger than the Titanic, but it was certainly no where near as glamorous. The Greek navy often park up there to, many Greeks travel the world that way.
1 person likes this
@wolfie34 (26793)
• United Kingdom
13 Sep 09
Aye Aye sailor ;0) The Titanic Museum is in Southampton where of course the doomed liner set off from. It was a wonderful experience, hearing audio and accounts of the survivors as well as artefacts from the White Star company. I am actually going to be attempting to draw the Titanic at my next art class.
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
13 Sep 09
Of course, where else would it be It's good to hear you've found a class you feel comfortable in Wolfie, keep on enjoy it. Will you be wearing your anorak whilst drawing the Titanic?
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
12 Sep 09
That's very interesting I didn't know that there were people that enjoyed watching trains and planes. When I was younger we lived by a military base and the planes flew over us all the time and I found it rather annoying. I can sort of understand the law of not watching or taking pictures but, I think governments need to also realize that not everyone is a terrorist.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
Hi ZephyrSun and welcome to the new interest here of Greek life style. Planes flying overhead would indeed be terribly annoying, one of the good things about this airport is that it is only open to commercial flights six months of the year and then only a couple of days a week in the summer so we don't have the noise factor to contend with. The anoraks involved weren't actually suspected of being terrorists but spies come to steal military secrets and of course the Greeks were incapable of believing that any sane person would go around to foreign countries to photograph planes as a hobby, the idea of hobbies alone is not known to the Greeks. This was actually a huge news story at the time in the UK whilst Greek journalists were completely uninterested in the whole thing.
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
13 Sep 09
Thanks thea, I can't really add the interest since I've only lived in the US and well I'm not Greek LOL I was curious about your airport, why is it only opened full time 6 months out of the year? Is that tourist season or something? I've lived places that have a tourist season but, our airport was always opened. Oh, and why do Greeks not think it is a hobby to watch planes? Is it just to boring to comprehend that someone would want to do it?
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
13 Sep 09
Hi ZephyrSun, you don't need to add this interest, you have already achieved a rank in the top 40 of it (evil laugh). I little trick I learnt that even if one says 'no thank you' to adding an interest you still end up ranked in it by your participation alone. I suckered nearly 50 into Panaithinaikos and only two of them have any idea what it is. Yes our airport is only open to commercial flights during the tourist season, it was at one time open for domestic flights to Athens but no more. Not that many Greeks holiday abroad so it doesn't bother them and they would think nothing of popping along to Athens, four and a half hours away, for a hospital appointment anyway. Greeks just do not understand the concept of having hobbies, they aren't needed when the whole day can easily be filled drinking coffee in the cafenion and relaxing. Things such as walking for pleasure are viewed as nasty foreign habits and they were probably all so overworked and poor for so many centuries that the habit of hobbies never caught on. The twenties generation do enjoy beach games though and the men are obsessed with tavli (backgammon) but they wouldn't like it if they were told it was a hobby
@jb78000 (15173)
12 Sep 09
i remember that one. wasn't it suggested at the time that the greek authorities knew full well that they weren't spies but arrested them anyway because they were annoying? no idea if that's true or not though.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
Hi Judith, annoying anoraks. I don't think they were actually arrested because they were annoying as unfortunately that isn't against the law here yet, but I did hear that it was being considered in the UKalong with other barmey laws there. It could well be why they were moved to other prisons though outside of Kalamta. They did accuse the Kalamta police of turning the water off on them for several hours which is a ridiculous accusation to make. Hello this is Greece, the water is always being turned off, they don't just do it for the anoraks.
1 person likes this
@jb78000 (15173)
12 Sep 09
not completely sure that is a barmy law. i've got a massive list of people who are going to be reported to the police the minute it takes effect. will just have to decide how to avoid being arrested myself.
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
Is it all just silly laws now for the sake of employing people to make new laws plus how many people do they employ now to think up all those new job titles to replace the ones I used to know there, such as dustmen.
@GardenGerty (101611)
• United States
12 Sep 09
The world has become a sadder more suspicious place over the last few years. If the signs say do not take pictures, then they should not take pictures. On the other hand, taking pictures in unrestricted areas can be a lot of fun.
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
Hi Garden Gerty, I think the Greeks have always been a suspicious race due to their earlier confabs with Turkey and other countries but I do agree, when in a foreign land abide by their laws and don't take pictures of planes in a military airbase which prohibits it. Obviously they had no idea of the serious consequences of breaking such a law. Unrestricted areas fun, whatever can you mean Gerty?
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (101611)
• United States
12 Sep 09
You may not have them in Greece, but here we have air shows and I have lots of pictures of planes from those days. Locally we recently just had small planes, but I have been to those that have large military aircraft. On the other hand, even airports do not want pictures taken anymore.
2 people like this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
You must be kidding Alice surely. I heard about the law of no cameras being taken into school but now you can't include another child in a picture. So now everyone is deemed to be a peadohphile before they are declared innocent
@PeacefulWmn9 (10424)
• United States
13 Sep 09
Hm, very interesting, Thea. I, myself, love to watch trains, ships, etc., and take photographs of them. It is a nice hobby. As to the people who were imprisoned, had I been them, I would have obeyed what the sign said! A military base with planes is far different than an average airport. Have a good day! Karen
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
13 Sep 09
Hi Karen, I can see I'm going to be in trouble here with the anorak remark as this seems to now be attracting some train and ship spotters.I'm actually interested as you are on the other side of the Pond, if this attracted huge publicity there at the time, or maybe it was just in the UK. Certainly always wise to obey the laws on these things though, especially on foreign soil.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Sep 09
I'd have to research that one :D But I imagine it did. It is a wonderful hobby, though!
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
14 Sep 09
Seems to me that is a very innocent hobby & don't think they should have gotten in trouble over it.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
14 Sep 09
Yassou Aunty, I don't think anyone actually looking at these fourteen people could ever have seriously imagined they were spies, they were all very ordinary looking and I believe that spies are often a little more discreet than to travel in large groups, but at the end of the day they did break the law here. Maybe a fine and a rap on the knuckles may have served better than a month in prison but it just shows how important it is to respect the law of foreign lands.
@mimpi1911 (25454)
• India
12 Sep 09
How can such romantic people with some beautiful hobby be imprisoned as spies! I am a nature lover and sure I will go out on the sun to enjoy it instead of train gazing but then on some other bizarre days i might end up doing that, who knows!
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@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
Hi mimpi, I really can't tell if you're joking or not, really. I have never once heard of plane spotters being described as having a beautiful hobby, a little eccentric would be nearer to the mark. But watching planes or trains wasn't the problem here as that is innocent in the right place, just not inside a Greek military air base. I rather see you as the sun loving nature type than the photographing planes type.
• United States
12 Sep 09
I've heard of the term, for a style of clothing I believe ;) Yeah since 9/11 they don't allow alot of things near airports, transportation, or structures that have alot of people in them. I understand why, but it's the innocent that get punished. We like to go to the one airport and watch the planes come in, they even have signs posted to what radio channel to turn to listen to the tower. Pretty cool, the kids like to stop there when we are by the IL's to watch & listen and maybe have an ice cream. But until the other year you could not park in the observation lot. I also have plenty of trains going thru my city constantly. Soooo many that sometimes one has to know alternative routes (if possible) to get where you are going w/o waiting on the train.
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
12 Sep 09
Hi snuggle bunnies, I wasn't sure if you had anoraks in the US or not, it's really an English thing, zip up waterproof quilted jacket completely lacking in any style at all with big pockets for the cameras and notebooks. School boys wear them too. So you're a plane spotter without an anorak but not on restricted military sites I'm glad to hear.
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24983)
• Australia
19 Sep 09
Trainspotting or plane spotting or car spotting are not determined by weather are they? What about bird watching? I wouldn't think it was affected by weather any more than the previous hobbies mentioned so I fail to see how Greek sunshine precludes this sort of hobby for Greeks. I'm sure these people, while breaking the law, were not acting in a covert manner so I cannot really understand why they were thought to be spies instead of hobbyists, sounds like overkill to me.
@thea09 (18327)
• Greece
20 Sep 09
Hi MsTickle, good and sensible points you make there, all of them, however you have not allowed for the Greek mentality I'm afraid. There are in fact two activities whick Greeks indulge in which other mentalities would perceive as hobbies, these being the game of tavli, indulged in by grown men in kafenions, and racket ball, indulged in by the young set on the beaches during summer. They would not consider these hobbies as indeed there is not even a Greek word for 'hobby' and the whole concept is beyond them. 'Walk for pleasure' Why? Ohene does quite enough walking between olive trees at picking time, is a good example of how the mind works. 'Spotting'of any nature cannot be conceived of in a land of sunshine, as it would detract from the main purpose of any free time, which is to sit in kafenions or tavernas and drink coffee and smoke, or eat and smoke. Thus their supsicion of anything of a hobbyish nature. These plane spotters were obviously suspicious as they did their hobby openly rather than hiding it, thus must have been spies. All very logical and of total disnterest to the Greeks at the time as the spotters were not providing any gossip.
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@MsTickle (24983)
• Australia
21 Sep 09
Ahhh, there was the germination of this idea even as I wrote my last discussion....I do understand....they were there, ergo, they are spies.