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Quirky things in Greece these days - a politically incorrect diary on austerity, yachts and immigrants

Neighbours squabbling over the back fence. The english language NYT newspaper reports sham dogfights daily between Greek Mirage fighters and Turkish F-15s. A NATO wargame and cyber-wargame around Lesbos was cancelled due to a Greek-Turkey squabble. Turkey still claims all the Aegean islands slap-bang up against their coast. No-one remarks on the irony of 50,000 muslim economic migrants camped up on Lesbos and Samos. "Inhuman racist treatment" scream the UN & liberal left cosmopolitans. But there is silence on the million or more criminal invaders, aka undocumented aliens, camped up in Turkey, in far worse conditions. My. Refugees in Turkey don't even have access to a lawyer! The shame of it!


EU statistics

A lot of people like Europe, but I feel uncomfortable as a grey tourist. Long haul Muslim airlines. How to enjoy yourself with dreadful coffee, the country bankrupt, and everyone spending all day & night, sitting around in cafes. Kalamata.

DESPERATE for a newspaper fix I found the only shop in this city to sell foreign language papers -(including Charlie Hebdo). I bought a paper New York Times with Greece supplement. I like the NYT long format thoughtful articles. The richest city on earth can afford to have progressive liberal feelings towards refugees and the downtrodden.

Unemployment in Greece officially 28.5%, youth rate way higher. Local people want to go back to their own Drachma, but liberal cosmopolitan elites and left politicians are resisting. The next ECB, IMF bailout coming up. Basic wage to be reduced to 680 eu per mth, in reality local people here say 200 lower.

NYT reports USA unemployment rate lower at 4.7%. Unemployment claims near 44-year low.

"At the same time, a broader measure of unemployment - which includes the millions of Americans who have given up looking for work or who are working part-time but would prefer full-time jobs - dropped to 9.2% last month but is still high given how tight the labor market looks otherwise."

So similar to Australia.

The old yacht (needs TLC) I came to see is lovely and thoughtfully designed. Not sure I want to restore, and spend, spend just to be a lazy expat cruising the islands. Although thats what I'm pretending to be.

Huge mountains ring Kalamata. The highest 7200 ft. Migration. Illegal migration. Seems equally impenetrable. Europe, The Med, the Middle East so vast, complex, historic. How can a little putt-putt engine yacht tow the refugees back to Libya?. Or patrol the narrow 10km straits between Samos and Lesbos and Turkey? ? ? I am a dimwit to think an old Forrest Gump can have the slightest effect.


Illegal entrants and illegal red lead paint in Zakynthos

I'm on a ferry fetish from the tiny mainland port of Kilini.
One Ionian Island one day.
Another the next. Yo-yoing back and forward on daffodil yellow, blue, and black ferries.
Eating pistichios. Happy as larry.

Reading the Greek edition of the NYT on the aft deck.
In Athens, Eu Central Bank and the IMF want the Lignite (brown coal) power stations privatised. And company tax rates reduced. How original.
NYT Rich cosmopolitans still dummy spitting over Trump.
NYT Wailing that Greece is not looking after refugees, (when Greece can't pay nurses and doctors, and the schools are falling down).
Mendicant Greece was given Eu750 for every refugee that "passed through", by a cartel of international donors. Surely they couldn't make a profit at that. Now the fences have gone up.

With 90 mins to kill in Zakynthos (maybe Xantra in english ?) I wandered amongst the fishing boats.
Two browner blokes were using power tools on a tradional shaped wooden boat. No boots, gloves, safety glasses, or earmuffs.
They told me they were from Egypt. Probably illegals I guess. Painting the hull with red lead - a great marine paint, but banned as too poisonous in most of the first world.

Kefalonia


Kefalonia Island rip-off at E40 for one night. That island deserted. No other tourists. No open B&Bs. My private, all-too-friendly hostel now back in Kalamata costs E17 per night. I paid Stavros lump sum for 7 nights (I was away for 4 of those nights). Just to have somewhere to leave wheelie suitcase, and on blink laptop. Back on charger Acer charge light is blinking, when usually it glows continually. Base is almost sealed. Not that easy to take out and replace battery like earlier laptops.

Landlord "has friend with computer shop" of course. Has friends with young girl for jiggy-jig probably too. No thats not fair. With 60% plus youth unemployment, I was expecting girls & boys for rent on every corner. Expect we have the conservative grip of the Greek Orthodox church to thank for that.

I think making cars smaller is the way of the future. Sorry Commodore owner!

99% of cars here are small to tiny. Lots of SMART from Mercedes. Toyota has a Smart-size AVGO that seems pretty new. Kia has PICCANTOs, and earlier models than the new one in Aus. That tiny Daewoo MATIZ we used to have in Aus is branded CHEVROLET. Hyundai here has a i10, smaller than the i20 that didnt sell very well, or had too small a profit margin in Aus. FIAT utes, SKODA utes, GOLF utes. Nearly everything needs a wash at a minimum. Repairs and panel beating at worst.

Except the BUSES. Spotless, shining and new. Bus drivers are highly skilled saints - navigating narrow streets, and chaotic parking with calm aplomb. They leave exactly on time, but arrive late. nb Mussolini.

Millions of cafes everywhere, islands, villages, towns, cities. Full of young, middle and old men doing nothing. But all with SPOTLESS toilets. Five stars for that.

Tomorrow is NATIONAL FREEDOM CELEBRATION day. The armed Revolution that eventually kicked out the Muslim Ottomans, started here in Kalamata, 23 March, 1821. As they say, one person's terrorist, is another person's freedom fighter. Council workers, previously invisible, have appeared today, planting flowers in all the pots. No glarey sunshine today. There is a damp, cold wind flowing down from the giant mountains - adiabetic - like political correctness.

Neighbours squabbling over the back fence. The english language NYT newspaper reports sham dogfights daily between Greek Mirage fighters and Turkish F-15s. A NATO wargame and cyber-wargame around Lesbos was cancelled due to a Greek-Turkey squabble. Turkey still claims all the Aegean islands slap-bang up against their coast. No-one remarks on the irony of 50,000 muslim economic migrants camped up on Lesbos and Samos. "Inhuman racist treatment" scream the UN & liberal left cosmopolitans. But there is silence on the million or more criminal invaders, aka undocumented aliens, camped up in Turkey, in far worse conditions. My. Refugees in Turkey don't even have access to a lawyer! The shame of it!

If I was a posturing, testosteronish, nationalist, islamist, dictatorish prime minister I might be tempted to push new waves of the human plague across to Greece. And blackmail Europe (again) for more billions of Euros to stop it. More. Much more birth control for muslim failed states everywhere would be a fraction of the cost of Erdogan blackmail. But it seems to be such a 1970s kind of idea. Global Human Rights says that all women can have as many children as they like. All children can have a smart phone. And all brown teenagers can freely enter any country they like. Except white christians who have to pay for their colonial past sins, by needing passports, visas, and return tickets.

David Z H
Kalamata Mall, in a computer games shop,
beside H&M, Zara, Nike, Columbia, etc.