Look at that folks. Let's be honest, with all that's been going on of late, the scene above, which is the Il Porto Café/bar/restaurant in Kiotari by the way, is still looking the same. Good eh? A few more people might be nice though.
Just read some news this morning about Mr. Varifocal, sorry, Varoufakis, and his views about the deal they're putting together. Now, as you'll know if you visit this blog with any regularity, I tend to steer clear of politics and stuff. But this time I'm going to make a few observations.
But first let me establish some ground rules. 1. I dont' do politics and 2. I don't pretend to understand the workings of the international banking and political systems, except to say that they're all probably riddled with - let's just say "irregularites" shall we?
Right, good. That said, I'll make a few observations as a layman living and working in Greece.
I have read with interest and some bemusement hundreds of comments from folk who don't live in Greece yet seem to know what should be done here. I've lived here for ten years and so can claim to have a fairly good idea about daily life on an island in Greece under the current crisis.
It seems to me that loads of people didn't want Mr. Tsipras to do this deal. All kinds of expressions like "betrayal", "blackmail" and the like are being bandied about. Now, I'm no expert, but one thing that's patently clear to me is that politics is about compromise. All those folk clashing with police in Athens, or spouting on Facebook, expressing their view that Mr. Tsipras shouldn't have done this deal, what alternatives would they suggest? It's always been easy to protest.
I have been championing the message for months that the situation on the ground on the islands is such that tourists can still come here and probably spend a couple of weeks having as good a Greek holiday as ever without even noticing that there is a crisis going on.
But that was about to change. If this deal hadn't been struck then we most certainly would have been facing a lack of literal cash circulating among the populace, a shortage of fuel and a virtual halt in imports, all of which would have had catastrophic effects on tourism, which is of course Greece's main industry bar none. Now as someone living and working among Greek people I talk to them all the time about how they're reacting to all that's going on. You know what? At grass roots level it seems to me that most people just want the uncertainty to end. It has been affecting tourism, since people believing all the media hype in the UK, Germany, Lithuania (I talked to some Lithuanian friends just this week) and elsewhere have been cancelling their holidays, however misguidedly.
But if this deal hadn't been struck, then in very short order tourism here, not to mention normal life, would have been hit with a brickbat within weeks. I have no idea how many people work in tourism on the Greek islands, but it's got to be hundreds of thousands. Before very long there would have been massive lay-offs, meaning no more wages, meaning rents not being paid, shops not taking as much over the counter ...the domino effect would be huge and incalculable.
I know people who own tavernas, excursion boats, apartment blocks and cafés personally and by and large they are sick of months of arguing and ever increasing worry and anxiety. Now they just want to know that the banks can open and the tourists can still come, knowing that their holiday is still going to be a good one.
It's reached a point where many Greek folk don't care any more about how it's done, as long as a degree of normality can be resumed in their daily lives. This deal which - as I understand it - Mr. Tsipras himself has said he doesn't like, but is pragmatic enough to know had to be struck for the reasons I've referred to above, will at least restore some immediate equilibrium here, which is vital to the income and wellbeing of most of the populace.
All around me here on Rhodes I hear audible sighs of relief. So, where are we now? We're awaiting the arrival of you Mr. and Mrs. Grecophile, or simply Tourist, to come and enjoy your Greek holiday, which once again I can say with a degree of confidence, will be brill!!
(No I am not a supporter of Mr. Tsipras, or anyone else for that matter. I don't pretend to understand a lot of things. But when something or someone looks reasonable to me, I say it!)