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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, 9 July 2015

WEDNESDAY BEFORE SUNDAY

BLACK WEDENSDAY
The news today is depressing.  Εnough to make me swear in desperation.  What the hell do these politicians think they are doing.  Ηow can they play with the lives of 11 million people.  If Tsipras signs a new bailout agreement, why the  @#$%  didn't he do that 5 months ago.  Τhe economy is 5 times worse now and the strain on the ordinary greek will be so much heavier..   

Last year and for the last 3 years we have paid a 'special' property tax.  For us it came to about 50 euros every two months.  This was supposed to be continued in 2015.  Why wasn't it.  The tax brought in millions.  Yes, we complained.  Yes, we paid it.

Yes, we do all want to live the good life.  Yes, tax evasion used to be a national game .  Yes, early retirement was a norm.  K retired at age 48.  ( he had been in the Navy since age 13).  Men should not be allowed to retire till they can find a new occupation/diversion/hobby.    Yes, we can all see and agree that there MUST be a huge change in the old way of thinking.

There are so many obvious changes that should have been made.  Some are happening slowly, some should be initiated over night.  We have apparently 800,000 civil servants.  Thousands have left in the last few years but the EU want thousands more sacked.  You can see why.  300 members of parliament get around 6,000 euros a month, free cars  and innumerable perks.  Cut their damn salaries in half and halve the members of parliament.  Cut the Defence budget.  We're a member of NATO for goodness sake.  We don't need anymore lopsided German submarines for twice the true price.  The media moguls owe millions in back taxes.  The german company that built the 'new' Athens airport owe millions in taxes and social security.  The big fish tax evaders need to be prosecuted, jailed AND MADE TO PAY.

Money under the table is still being given to doctors although prosecutions  are becoming more common for accepting 'presents' of money to do a better job.  What about the Hippocratic oath? The older generation believe that without a little extra your surgeon will not do a good job or leave you for months to slowly die before you get on his surgery list.  I wouldn't want to be on that doctor's surgery table EVER.

The last time we went out to a tavern with a crowd of friends the bill was presented to us with a whisper of 'it's 130 euros just for you.'  What they meant was, that it was  only 130 euros (for 10 people) but don't ask for a receipt.  One of our crowd got angry and demanded a receipt and said he would pay the difference himself.  It should have been 160 euros.  Everyone else jumped on him.  That should not be happening anymore.  Yes, give a better price to your friends.  Just tell them the price and give them a receipt.

Tsipras spoke to the European parliament today and we had continuous coverage on most tv channels.  His speech was applauded by the left wing but there were many angry voices in reply.

One of his German colleagues asked him if he wanted to be remembered as the saviour of Greece or go down in history as the leader who brought Greece to ruin.

Yesterday the message was toe the line and sign the plan agreed on by the Troika - IMF, European bank and the European Commision  -or prepare for Grexit and maybe expulsion from the European Union.

THURSDAY
I heard the French national anthem being played on greek TV and turned around to see the headline GREEK/FRENCH ALLIANCE. French President Hollande has provided the greek finance team in Brussels with some of his best consultants so we can put forward a serious and FINAL bailout proposal. 

The revolutionary anthem La Marsalliese seemed the perfect accompaniment to this announcement.  The French Finance Minister sent a Tweet 'Greece, we are with you'.  France and Cyprus (obviously) have been Greece's only supporters in the last few weeks.

Some smiley faces on our tv screens today.  Even a few discussions on our future.  When the banks will open, if next months pensions will be paid.

Daughter Elli is going on to half days.  No-one is coming in to prepare their tax returns and the backlog has almost been caught up with.  She'll be happy to spend afternoons on the beach again.  This is the summer after all. 

WE are all learning a whole new vocabulary.  CAPITAL CONTROLS is the latest and one I would prefer not to know.  It means 'controlling the money of the people' and is why we can only get 60 euros a day from the ATM.

Greece needs to print a whole new dictionary.  'Technocrat' is another word which has come up in the last few years and the latest from American Lew is 'geopolitical'.  If anyone knows what that means then please let me know.  The current greek dictionary does not have any of these words.

Greece has been cut off from financial access to web services.  35 airlines including Emirates and Turkish airlines no longer sell tickets through greek sites.  How can we escape.

Kostas, sister in law Karen, grandson George, son-in-law Yiannis
 on our back verandah

Crisis countdown (Thank you BBC)

  • Thursday 9 July: deadline for Greece to submit proposals
  • Saturday 11 July: eurozone finance ministers meet
  • Sunday 12 July: all 28 members of the European Union meet to decide Greece's fate
  • Monday 20 July: €3bn payment due from Greece to the European Central Bank
REFUGEES - rioting on some of the islands.  Their papers are not coming through fast enough.  Food is being provided in a trickle.  Suppliers have stopped supplying because they have not been paid.
Imagine 3000 hungry souls, women with babes in arms, rushing the emergency kitchens for a loaf of bread.
 
More arriving every day.  A boat sank yesterday drowning almost all aboard. 
 
Today we started eating some of our emergency supplies.  Lentil soup . This is a beloved dish of the greeks.  We usually eat it once a week during the winter. Traditionally it is eaten with olives, feta cheese and salted sardines.  We have a little feta and jars of olives.  We didn't miss the sardines.  This dish has vinegar in it of which we have litres of 'homemade' and you dunk stale bread in the sauce.  Great way to get rid of that before it goes mouldy.
 
Tomorrow we may start on the macaroni/spaghetti.  Macaroni salad or spaghetti with a Mediterranean tomato sauce or even macaroni oven baked (the same tomato sauce and a bit of white sauce on top).
 
If Sunday brings an agreement and we pay the European bank on Monday and the Greek parliament agrees to the proposal and if the German parliament passes the bill as well...................then I shall have a macaroni party and give out free toilet rolls.
 
 


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