I find it hard to hit the streets and post photographs of sunsets, buildings and the like these days. I'm sure you understand why... So, in this evolving post I will give you snapshots of daily life in Athens as the latest episode in "the Greek financial crisis" unfolds.
Also, following my previous post ten days ago (that seem like an age the way things are running) I will post here (and update when necessary) articles that are worth reading in order to get a full and concise grasp of the situation in Greece. I have done it in the past and always provided a clear picture for visitors and all people interested in the situation in Greece. In recent days, a great number of Greeks living abroad, mostly Greek-Americans or Greek-Australians, have been talking out of their @ss about the situation in Greece and the need to be "heroic" and the like. Sure, when you have your big, safe house in New Jersey to go back to every night, it's easy to ask people 5,000 miles away to satisfy your morbid fantasies of traditional Greek "heroism".
But I like Americans as a whole, so I won't stick to that. I just had to get it out of my system!
So, here's the one insightful political analysis that you need to read about the current Greek government: "The referendum was one of the biggest frauds in Greece’s modern political history" (posted in GR Reporter).
The other big news of the day (Wed., 8 July 2015) was the pulverizing speech of Liberal MP Guy Verhofstadt in the European Parliament today, in a plenary session with Greek Prime-Minister Alexis Tsipras, which has been watched and re-watched by millions of people throughout Europe. You need to watch this 7min50sec video, especially if you're a Greek expat and you think you know what's happening in the country! Finally, here's a good attempt for a balanced perspective from a Greek professor working in the UK: Half-truths in the Greek crisis conceal the big picture (by Haridimos Tsoukas).
Now, concerning your vacations, CNN put on a really good and concise article this week with the latest travel advice for tourists heading to Greece: Do as it says; it's really good. Just one detail: Bring small change with you as well (in Euros or dollars), because people are practically left with 50 and 20 Euro bills (and debit cards) with few other banknotes or coins in circulation. Also, if you follow the advice and bring cash with you remember to keep it safe when moving around such as in a safety pouch a.k.a. waist pouch or wallet.
Thu., 9 July 2015: A much smaller rally of the "We Stay in Europe" camp in the evening, at Syntagma Square. Summer heat, pessimism, optimism or exhaustion?
Rays of light and hope towards the evening, as news emerged that French and EU officials have taken the Greek govt. by the hand, to help it draft a decent bailout / reform package / expense slashing proposal.
Fri., 10 July 2015: Too hot and a lethargic day at work today. Air-condition in bad condition (for the nth straight year).
On my way home I passed from the drugstore. A 50-year old man came in, holding two plastic bags. He was trying to sell(?) 250Euros worth of coins in 1 and 2 Euro-coins. He was asked to return on Monday, when the boss would be there.
Sat., 11 July 2015: I bought my first beers after more than a month. Cheap domestic lagers. No final deal yet on the bailout...
Tue, 14 July 2015: I have become quite ruthless in passing out my 50 Euro banknotes in order to get change... "No madam, I have no change. Nothing!"
Wed, 15 July 2015: This morning, for the first time ever, I came across 2 broken buses on my way to work. Running short of supplies?
Wed, 22 July 2015: A hot summer day, following another hot summer day. During our -unofficial- lunch break I had a craving for an ice-cream. I ventured out into the heat towards a nearby kiosk to get an ice-cream of my favorite brand. As I approached I saw an ambulance and people gathered around a bench behind the kiosk. I heard the paramedic saying something about a body bag. It was then that I noticed the body of a homeless(?) man laying still, sideways, on the bench. I went back to work.
Fri., 25 July 2015: Almost impossible to find "Lucozade Lemon" in supermarkets. Only the crappy "Lucozade Orange" available. I was told by a manager that as neither of them is a very big seller they are not prioritized in the supermarket's procurement policy in light of capital controls. "Necessities" first. I get furious thinking of the pretentious idiot who will find it appropriate to say something ironic about this. On related news, I read a Facebook post by a farmer saying tomato seeds imports are not prioritized either, by the special government committee set up to oversee the regulation of imports (and exportation of cash).