It's easy to fall in love with Greece. The ultimate Mediterranean culture, stunning, old, spiritual, fairly well-organized, with traditions in tourism and hospitality and it shows. Easy to have a blast there, easy to not want to leave. It's also easy to understand why the Greek don't seem to work too hard. Why? There is so much to enjoy: spending time with the large familia, good weather, food, ouzo, the sea, you name it, they have it. "Manual labor" is name of Spanish football player according to the Greek, as our skipper cheekly informed us.
Protests were going every day at the main square in Athens while we were there. I thought it was a joke that people used to be able to retire at 50. It's true. In contrast, they just increased the retirement age in the Netherlands and is now 68! Grrrr. Guess who is paying for the Greeks lifestyle, the Dutch, the Germans and few other frequent visitors of the Greek Riviera. I would suggest a free Greek salad and a beach chair next time...
I truly believe in the EU, just sometimes it strikes me as an oddly managed enterprise. A bit of a modern day Robin Hood, good concept in theory, but prone to make uneducated choices with unexpected damaging consequences.
Bulgaria also proved to be a resources drainer. Couple of years ago the EU stopped the subsidies that was pouring towards the Balkan after discovering major faults it their appropriation. Some people got very rich on the EU expenses.
And there is Spain, and Ireland and Portugal. I am getting worried. Between that, the DSK scandal and the latest Berlusconi fiasco, the European news lately remind me of a Latin soap opera which leaves you with a very bad taste.
On the other side of the ocean, one of my favorite cartoon character, Sarah Palin appeared again with the latest mind-blowing display of ignorance. The Daily Show gave it a good go, which I surreally watched while high in the Caucuses in Georgia using wifi was far better than the one in our downtown Moscow pad. This word is changing by the minute.
Georgia was breathtaking. Started pretty bad with arriving at 3am together with, what it seemed, a group of rough gastarbeiders high on alcohol and machismo which flies pretty bad with me, especially when sleep deprivation is involved. But once the sleep hours were recovered, generous breakfast consumed and Tbilisi old town discovered, I was in awe. TBC...