Monday, June 27, 2011
"Greeks Don't Work"
Whenever I read something like this Dan Mitchell post on a prospective second bailout of bankrupt Greece, I'm reminded of my honeymoon.
No, not because of that. Get your mind out of the gutter.
The wife and I spent a couple of weeks bumming around the Aegean after the wedding. Our favorite stop was the village of Oia on Santorini, where we spent a few too-short days in a beautiful, tiny boutique hotel built literally into the side of the island's volcanic caldera.
The hotel's manager was an American who had made his money in software and retired young to Greece. He was sufficiently acclimated to his new home to talk about "your elections," meaning the 2004 U.S. presidential contest, and to go on at length about hormones and such in American food (a European obsession, it seems).
This was in mid-March, a couple of weeks before the tourist-season-proper would begin that year, and as our host noted, the island was gearing up for the oncoming throng of visitors. Plumbers and carpenters were busily making repairs, and untold gallons (sorry--liters) of white and blue paint being applied to every exposed surface.
"There's not much time until the cruise ships start showing up," the hotel manager said as we looked out over the indescribably-gorgeous bay in the center of what had been a circular island before an ancient volcanic eruption. "So the Greeks are all very busy fixing their places up." He paused for a moment, and then corrected himself.
"Actually, the Albanians are all very busy." He gestured down the cliff towards a couple of apparently-foreign laborers putting in a new window. "Greeks," he finally sighed, "don't work."