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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Austerity: Greek Style...

The first clue that all is not well comes as you step down onto the baking Tarmac at Kefillinia Airport. Its only when you stare up with your own two eyes and gaze for a while into that fathomless expanse of azure that the true magnitude of the Euro Crisis hits you with all its full and terrible force. For it seems that, despite the endless EU bailouts, notwithstanding every miserly and lecture-accompanied doling out of ECB aid, for all the harshly apportioned austerity measures and talk of European Armageddon, the simple fact remains as clear and as stark as that infinity of blue up there. The bankers and the technocrats have all had their say, but now, it seems, you're stood staring up at Greece's very own bottom line. It breaks down like this: Greece is broke - so broke, in fact, that they can't even scrape together enough to afford to put a single cloud in the sky.

And then there's the unemployment - particularly bad among tourists and holidaymakers. In fact, there seems very little useful activity whatsoever for these poor battered souls to undertake at all beyond the odd desultory length of breast stroke in the gently rippling Man City blue of the pool, perhaps straining occasionally to pat a lethargic mitt at a luridly hued beach ball, or summoning the effort to mutter a muted 'on me 'ead son' at their despairing offspring before returning to the default activity of the indignado; an unproductive backfloat circuit of the pool. they stare up forlornly at that pitiless pauperised sky then head back down the cypress lined terraces to the shade for a long, cool drink; the time-honoured solace of society's demoralised and unwanted souls.

We were warned before we came out that we'd need to be careful using ATMs as the recent election result might lead to a run on the banks, and that turns out to have been wise counsel indeed. In fact the situation is so bad that the town has even had to install an additional cash machine merely to cope with the hordes of people attempting to withdraw their life savings in order to spend it on two weeks worth of very reasonably priced fish platters, ouzo and ridiculously disproportioned measures of gin and (apparently optional) tonic.

Some of the better off among the jobless have had enough already and, fed up with the torpor of poolside idleness, decided to strike out for a better life elsewhere, causing the forlorn multitudes unable or unwilling to severe ties with their former life to stand guard around the harbour. They wave tearful farewell to their former compadres as they head off to seek a better life for themselves and their families in their ostentatiously sized and extravagantly glistening power cruisers.

One such vessel - a sort of sea-faring, shining black and white equivalent of one of Usain Bolt's hi-tech running shoes is making its escape as I potter down to pick up some croissants for breakfast - well, one has to keep oneself active and apply some sort of routine, even if all sense of hope has gone. Two fighter planes roar overhead; a prophesy of imminent menace. The boat soars through the glass-calm waters leaving the rest of us here with nothing to do but float and drink and silently hate the Germans.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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