The Greeks are renowned for their hospitality. Or so they keep telling people. They are very proud of their friendliness and their openness in helping out foreigners. For them the notion that 'there is no such thing as a stranger, just a person you haven't yet' is less of a cliche and more of a life mantra. And yet. In spite of that reputation, it is difficult to know how some nations will be received by the crowds at the Games. The Americans are among the most unpopular. This is partly because of the war in Iraq which is deeply unpopular in a country that prides itself on its good relations with the Arab world, and partly because they usually win everything. As a country that has been trampled underfoot by Romans, Turks and Nazis - to name just three invading empires over the centuries - the Greeks like a plucky underdog. The British have also dipped in the public affection of late. Since the days of Lord Byron - who died in Greece in 1823 during the War of Independence and is remembered in street names, districts and statues all around the country - the Greeks have been quite partial to the Brits. But this has waned over the last six months as story after story has appeared in the UK media knocking Greece and its efforts to organise the Games. There was a moment when Greek crooner Sakis Rouvas picked up a maximum 12 points from the British jury at the Eurovision Song Contest when relations warmed once more but another story spilling the beans on the programme for the opening ceremony in last week's Sunday Mirror, was the final nail. 'Why don't you like us?' comes the refrain. To paraphrase one ATHOC worker, the Aussies have been a right royal pain in the arse. First it was the Premier of New South Wales, then there was a government directive advising Australians on the dangers of travelling to Greece for the Games, and now the Prime Minister John Howard has been at it, casting doubts on the safety of the 482-strong team and describing it as 'a very awkward situation'. Don't be surprised to hear the crowd cheering the American Michael Phelps when it comes to his showdown with the Thorpedo in the pool. A letter from a Mr Nic Beredimas from Moonee Ponds in Australia in this week's Athens News offers another sight not just of Greek-Australian relations but also of some of the less hospitable elements of Athens life. 'I was amazed at the lack of service provided in shops and businesses,' he wrote. 'In many cases there are different prices for Greeks and foreigners. Taxi drivers simply won't pick you up because you are not going their way, they smoke in their taxis and drive around asking pedestrians directions as they don't believe in maps. Bank tellers, butchers and food service staff smoke while working - even a petrol station attendant smoked with filling up our car and then argued with me and called me names when I said that smoking and pumping gas don't really mix.' It is hard not to sympathise with Mr Beredimas, as an Australian of Hellenic origin, he should know better than to try and separate a Greek and his cigarette. Okay so we have read about the detention centre for stray dogs that will be in operation during the Games and there was the case of the nutter poisoning the pigeons in Syntagma Square. Now we have the idea of removing all of the mosquitoes from Olympic venues for the duration. Sounds daft but apparently it is possible with a spray that destroys the mosquito larvae. This is especially important around the equestrian centre where horses could be in danger of contracting the West Nile virus carried by mozzies. Personally, as someone who has spent a small fortune on protective creams and smelly electrical deterents that go buzz in the night, I love the idea. I am just not quite sure why this process is only in operation for the Olympics. Can't we eradicate mosquitoes for all time?