I am often thinking of Greece and their situations in trying to take their country back. While there are big troubles in the US and Canada, the salaries are sometimes quite good and you still have a lot of mobility in labor and other choices. American wages, when considering inflation, are presently at 1996 levels again (1)(2), but in Greece, due to cutbacks enforced through receiving bailouts, public sector workers have endured multiple paycuts, notably a 30% cut that put police in Athens down to €800 per month, and countless other payroll cutting initiatives (3).
When I returned to North America and after a couple of months, I saw in the New York Times an image and the story of people who had waited on me in a Pakistani restaurant in Athens being rounded up for a detention center – it is so jarring to see someone who has served food to you in the New York Times being rounded up. This restaurant workers were very pleased when I “discovered” the place, as it seems like western people never went there. There is a lot of anti-immigration sentiment in Greece as the resources are limited and everyone is having to pay off the banks in the UK, Netherlands, and Germany.
Still, as you will see in the following clips, Greece is absolutely beautiful and when people asked me which country I enjoyed the most in the Spring-Summer 2012 tarotworldtour travel period, I have to say it was Greece!
I recommend if it possible for you to see Greece and Turkey in the same trip and to spend lengthy periods in each place. This really opens one’s eyes into basic ideas as to how Western and Eastern people think. These two cultures have similar food and a mode of life, but what struck me the most is that in Turkey you have a more collectivist mentality where there is less freedom in terms of norms, but conversely more stability and security (do see clips “Athens and Istanbul – Differences of Note” Part I, II, and III). In Greece, social freedoms and the crisis combined have brought in drugs, people are often multilingual and philosophical with very strong opinions, beer and other alcohol is less than half the price of alcoholic beverages in Turkey, and people work shorter hours (in Turkey you generally see lots of people working together very long hours and for little pay, and thus more competition in the markets). In other words, Western “do whatever you like” results in a greater range of products and often brings the prices of taboo things down, which is good for people that are tempered with responsibility but also brings more potential for bad things to happen if unchecked.
I had no profound, specific supernatural experiences in Greece except that one generally gets a sense of well-being and survival if you concentrate on landscapes, architecture, and monuments. The diet, if you stay away from too much meat, is very fresh and enlivens your senses and truly nourishes you in its greenness and the miraculous properties of the olive oil.
At any rate, there is no quick fix to the situation of Greece, but I do highly recommend going there in order to get a sense of longevity of civilization and introspection.
“Athens Airport Ghosttown”
“Athens and Istanbul – Differences of Note”
“Torch-bearing Greek Protest”
“View over Athens”
“Trying to Tell Something About the Acropolis”
“Athens Street Scene (Plaka)”
“Resistance Material Near the Acropolis and Agora”
“Ruins/Oracle at Delphi”
“View from Delphi Terrace”
“Outta Greece, Unfortunately – Airline Breakthrough: Montreal Bound (I)”
“Outta Greece, Unfortunately – Airline Breakthrough: Montreal Bound (II)”