Why we love/hate Greece in equal measures

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I had written a post back in November 2011, looking at the juxtaposition/bipolarness of Greece.  We all love and hate her in equal measures.  My friend today had a frustrating example of why we hate not GREECE, but the GREEKS sometimes:

She has had to move back to the States (she’d MUCH rather be living in Greece though). To send her children to school in the States, she needs the ORIGINAL  record of their school marks from their school (a private English school, I might add) in Athens.  They had sent a copy in the summer, but with no name of the school, no school stamp and not even with her child’s name on the piece of paper (i.e. this could be ANYONE!).  In frustration, my friend says the following (I quote from her).

” I said to her angrily that they would laugh at me if I do this, especially coming from Greece! She goes on saying that she takes offence to this and that I better not talk SHIT about Greece. Yes, she actually said SHIT!!”

My friend has a point: if you sent any office in Greece just a blank piece of paper with a list of grades on it with no headed paper, no stamp of the school and above all, no name of the actual student – they WOULD laugh at you.

This lady got defensive about my friend seemingly talking SHIT about Greece.

Herein lies the problem:  GREECE is not the problem, it’s (some – I hasten to add before I am lynched) Greeks.

Peter Economides gave a very insightful talk on Sunday 15th Jan about ‘Rebranding Greece’ – here is the version he gave in Thessaloniki in November 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chhn5oEmITs&feature=related
The crux of it is – Greece already HAS everything…the sunsets, the view of the Acropolis (I never tire of walking to catch my bus on the way to work, lifting my eyes just fractionally and seeing the Parthenon at the bottom of the main road), the warmth and hospitality of her people – but it is people AS A WHOLE, the SYSTEM that needs to change.

HOW though?  Let’s see if we can bring Greece out of her slumber and her people to the forefront of Europe – not talked about for the wrong reasons.


2 COMMENTS

  1. just back from Greece. Couldn’t understand why the Peloponnese was so empty of foreign visitors (what a change from the 80s). But I think the Greeks need to change their thinking with regards to the tourists who visit their country. We were ripped off in Athens with the manager coming up with the most ridiculous reasons for over charging us – “We’ve put our prices up but they’re not on the menu yet” What?!
    I believe we were charged different prices from Greeks – and that the prices on menus were not what Greeks were paying. We must have spent hundreds of pounds on drinks. Fourteen euros for coffees in one place.
    If the Greeks want tourists to visit their beautiful country, they need to be transparent about their prices – display prices clearly and not try to rip off foreigners. I’m not sure I will be returning to Greece any day soon as a result.

    • Sorry to hear of your experiences Helen. Not heard of any other people (at least who I’ve come across) say the same thing. And things work differently in different countries…that’s the whole point of travel, we go with the flow.
      And as always, there is always more to a story of what goes on in a country than a tourist merely visiting for a couple of weeks or so can see (and judges).

      It’s a shame you allow this one experience to narrow your vision of a beautiful country (and its people). If you allow your mind to be open to new experiences and possibilities, maybe you’d see the beauty in a situation, instead of a negative.

      I wish you well with your future travels, wherever they may be.

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