Your soundtrack for today’s photo and video blog:
Electric Feel – MGMT
Although I was on three hours of sleep from the trip, we GTL’d and got ready for Eric and George’s cousin’s wedding.
After some searching we found the church!
The wedding was good fun. There was tons of group dancing where family and friends would hold hands and do a three-step move in a counterclock-wise direction. The dance looked very similar to the Arab dabkeh. At one point, I think there were three rings of people dancing.
Also, there was no plate throwing and breaking. I was asked by multiple people whether we broke plates at the wedding. We did not. I think Eric and George broke hearts, but no plates.
I spent a good deal of time at the wedding talking to a professor and politician about Greece’s economic woes. It was a fascinating conversation with contrasting viewpoints. The professor cited the following reasons for Greece’s economic pain: 1) lack of manufacturing; 2) inability to collect taxes; 3) government mishandling of public funds; and 4) a European economic system that purports to unite economically through the euro, but is not viable without a political union.
The politician told me primarily two things: 1) since the fall of the Soviet Union manufacturing companies in Greece have moved their operations to former communist countries where wages and expenses are lower; and 2) the powers that be wanted it to be this way.
Although the politician’s second reason shades towards the conspiracy theory end of reasons while at the same time seemingly absolving the government of any wrong doing, I found his first reason to be somewhat interesting and compelling. The professor seemed very insightful and informed, but as you might imagine, every time I tried peppering him with more questions, the politician interrupted to add his two cents. Eventually the two just started teasing each other and blaming the other for Greece’s problems, and we walked away half-laughing, half-wishing we could continue the policy discussion with the professor.
As Big Jon likes to say, we’re not just pretty faces. If life was a magazine, and we were planning to use this trip for some US Magazine moments, this was certainly not one of them. This discussion definitely hued more towards The Economist side of things. It was a great conversation that lasted a while and provided just a glimpse into what’s going on in Europe in these distressed times.
We’ll be back next time with our departure to Mykonos.
Hope you enjoyed.