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ANTIQUITY IN OUR BACK YARD

Ancient ruins are literally everywhere in Greece. Every where you walk you are treading on the ruins of an  older civilization, probably rom...

Thursday, 2 July 2015

MELTDOWN

FRIDAY- Payments of wages and pensions in doubt.  Rumours once again that they will not be paid in full, or not paid at all



SATURDAY.   A rumour circulating that  pensions have been paid in early. I was sent urgently to go and draw it all out. Incredibly this rumour is true, Long lines at the atm. Poros ATM  empty  by 12.00 midday.  Parliaments ATM emptied and refilled immediately. 

This rush to withdraw is due to a rumour that banks will close.   We've heard that before but this time it seems to have some basis in truth.  The news early this morning is that there will be referendum.  Now we're really frightened.

 

WHY a referendum?.  Is the Prime Minister, as  a german newspaper says, a coward and unable to lead the country and make decisions. 
Is he only going back to the people who voted him in to STOP austerity measures - because Europe wants to make measures even worse.  If the result of the referendum is 'yes' does he then sign the new agreement, however harsh, and then say 'that's what the people wanted'.  But if they vote 'no'?  WHAT THEN
Or is it all part of some cunning political plan to take us back to the drachma.

1.3 billion withdrawn in 24 hrs from ATMs

SUNDAY.  ATM still empty.  Tourist who couldn't get money says 'fuck greece'.

People frightened.  Will they chose Europe and even worse austerity or take the risk and rid themselves of the fear and blackmail from Europe, go back to the drachma and suffer years  of destitution.  And is that what the referendum is all about?


Lines at petrol stations

Demonstration in the centre of Athens- pro-Europe.  Very peaceful.  No Molotov cocktails or throwing of marble paving stones.  Other demonstrations for a 'NO' vote.  Also peaceful.
.

MONDAY.

Banks closed for one week, maybe longer. ATMs not operating today

24 hour analysis and debate on almost every TV channel .  Waiting.  atms still not working here.    Everyone scared and no one really knows what the referendum is about and what the consequences of voting yes or no will be
.

No panic shopping  . supermarkets quiet.  Everyone just spending to get the bare essentials for this day, or so I thought.  Danae saw a different story.
 - shelves were emptied of macaroni, flour and whole heads of cheese. Then refilled.

 Greek saying -' a time of poverty should be a pleasant time'  first the cheese was bought and then the macaroni

TUESDAY
ATMs operating but limit of 60 euros a day - or 50 euros if they run out of 20 euro notes

New offer on the table from Jean-Claude Junker. 

Tsipras puts forward their own proposal.  Lower VAT for the tourist industry and islands, no more wage or pension cuts.

Every one and their dog on tv spouting their opinion.  Bombarded by conflicting information.


MIDNIGHT - DEFAULT ON IMF loan, end of current EU programme of aid to Greece.  European bank stops supporting greek banks.

WEDNESDAY.
Chaos outside banks as elderly without bankcards line up to be given 120 euros from their pensions.

Greek credit cards no longer work overseas, stranding hundreds of students and travellers.

Ferries are being cancelled because people are not moving around and empty ferries mean loss of money, waste of fuel.

Trucks carrying supplies and produce to and from the islands are also stopping because of lack of cash.

The island of Ikaria has run out of petrol. 

A speech by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.  Says whatever the referendum's result we will stay in the Eurozone.  But rumours are getting stronger that the drachma is already being printed.

Tsipras did not mention the latest proposal he sent to the EU.  Merkel says there will be no more negotiations till after the referendum.

THURSDAY.  When I passed the national bank there was a line of wobbly elderly people who have no bank cards and no idea about bank cards.  These old age pensioners can withdraw 120 euros this week from a bank teller.  Some of them come from villages miles away.  They have to get on the early morning bus to Galatas on the mainland, come across on the water taxi, hobble along the waterfront to the bank, wait in line for probably about an hour and then do the return journey a few hours later.  Of course they meet a few friends and learn some new gossip but this is an incredible inconvenience.  And they will have to do it again  next week and so on until the banks open again which I doubt will be Monday after the referendum.

It is the beginning of the new month and we all have a pile of bills to pay.  120 euros will pay for their medicine, a little food and the journey to and from the bank.

I paid our tax bill this morning at the Post Office, which is still open, but all other bills are on hold.  Food comes first. 

All payments, tax, phone, electricity, insurance are officially on hold till banks reopen but the anxiety is still there. 

Put some petrol in our car even though we rarely use it in the summer.  It is there in case of an emergency, touch wood.  Now at least we can get to the nearest hospital. It is parked under the olive tree.  Hope the mice don't chew up the wires again.





OBSERVATIONS -

FULL MOON -   Is this the reason for all the present insanity?  My son-in-law Kyriakos (and his son, my dear grandson Jamie) have a certain madness at this time.  He assures me it is only as the moon is growing.   The moon is full tonight. Sunday is a waning moon. Maybe reason will reign.


RAIN -  July, normally a time of heat waves and tonight it is raining.  One of our neighbours has just turned up for a chat (intense discussion) and a few glasses of wine.  He watches the the clouds, the plants, the birds and the bees, the fishes in the seas and says that summer this year will be very short and not very hot. 


 Ex PM of Greece, George Papandreou visited Poros last week.  A small crowd gathered at the taverna where he was eating.  They booed him off to his hotel room.  This is the PM who took Greece to the International Monetary Fund in 2010.   This is NOT  a good time for him to appear in public.  He is blamed for most of Greece's woes.

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF , overheard at a Eurogroup meeting saying to another official about Greece's Minister of Finance "I don't want to talk to that arch-criminal"


Thank goodness for the TV game ' Wheel of Fortune' - in Greek.  I can turn the sound off and enjoy it in silence, with a glass of wine

to be continued.......................

The lads toast to better times, KOSTAS, friend Georgio, KYRIAKOS




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