Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Greek Economics: Report from the Feet

Home-grown Greeks?

Alice Trego asked:
Were you able to meet home-grown Greeks? Did you manage to gain insight into their way of living?

Dear Alice,
This was the first package tour I've ever taken. It is darn hard to meet an ordinary Greek. Luckily, I carved out time for ramblings and small adventures amidst the tour structure.

The Greek people I met on my own and those helping us on our tour were uniformly warm, funny, and proud of their country. Besides the obvious benefit of welcoming tourists, Greeks are genuinely happy to host visitors for whatever time the meeting allows.

Greek Economy: fingers on the feet

Another friend--a world citizen with his finger on the pulse--asked:

I've followed Greek economics in the news and claims that Greece is nearly destroying the strength of the Euro financial union. How do the people there feel? Do they look at conservation and cutting back as okay? Or, do they blame corruption at the top?

I took the opportunity to ask this question during a reflexology appointment with Violeta. She said, "Definitely corruption." The people in power have the money and the people without money have no power. People with the menial service jobs making minimum wage are really in a bad way."

"This is shit," says Violetta daintily. "The only thing we can do is cut back and save as much money as we can."

Poor people are toys for the people in power. Who knows if those who caused the problem will remain in power? Corruption is rampant. There is a lot of dirty money being laundered here. Drugs and so forth. This is at the root of the problem. People in the government don't know how to do their jobs. Big mistakes have been made. Who knows how it will turn out?

Violetta is in a good position because she has a free-lance clientele. My reflexology appointment cost 36 Euros for 30 minutes. She works at several places, at her home, and at other people's homes. She has connections with people in other countries. Particularly with Scandinavians who are currently the biggest portion of the tourist market. She'll soon be opening a place of her own nearby.

We had a good conversation about what she calls "the tourist machine" and what I call "tourist world." She said, "You want to see the reality of ordinary lives. There are problems and hardship. It's all not just a postcard." I told her about my stay in Greece, and things that had impressed me. How I feel it is so sad that such good people are having such a hard time now. We chatted about the geography of the United States and the Midwest.

Violetta asked me if I'd come again. "If someone I loved wanted to come, then I'd come. These days I'm more interested in visiting places and people of my heart." She liked my outlook. Saturday at 6 p.m. if her schedule allows, we'll meet at the front of our hotel and take me to her house which is nearby.

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2 Responses »

  1. I'm glad you got to meet with local people. That's also what I look for when traveling.

    I'm skeptical, though, about what people say in regards to their government, or their work bosses, etc.

    I have found that people are quick to offer unsubstantiated, opinionated judgments about people who do work not at all understood by the complainants. If you listen to the "tea-party" complainants right here in the U.S., you can get an idea how vitriolic and incorrect an assessment of the President's efficacy can get!

    It is important to guage the attitudes, though.

  2. Yes, Karen, hard to tell without a cross-section. This woman did not seem at all vindictive. She was just giving a from the ground up perspective.

    Janet

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