Browsing All Posts filed under »athens«

Athens: Planning a Vacation?

May 31, 2006

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milos.jpgby melinda elliott 

It's only May but already people are talking to me about diakopes (vacations) for the summer. As always in these conversations, it seems mandatory that everyone will share at least one vacation horror story in the effort to dissuade another person from visiting a particular location to prevent them from wasting their money and time while another person who claims to be an authority on the locale will refute that person's claims of bad service, overpriced lodging and substandard substandard local cuisine. It's a rare thing when everyone in the discussion will agree on a particular place as worthy of a visit.

Athens: A Muslim Woman Shakes up Greek Politics

May 25, 2006

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karaxasan.jpgby melinda elliott 

Because of Greece's 400 year occupation by the Turks, some Greeks still harbour distrust and/or resentment towards the Turkish muslim population inside Greece today.

So, when Gulbeyaz Karahasan, a 28 year-old lawyer from northern Greece was chosen as PASOK's candidate for the upcoming prefect elections to represent Drama-Kavala-Xanthi, the decision sparked criticism from both the Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki and the Macedonia-Thrace minister, Giorgos Kalantzis.

Athens: What No One Told You About Greece

May 16, 2006

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125004-338448-thumbnail.jpg by melissa elliott

If you want to hail a cab, you must first know where you're going since you have to stand on the side of the road in the direction you intend to go. Cabs don't stop for you on opposite sides of the street.

The gesture that most westerners use for "Stop" (open palm facing outwards) is a supreme insult when used in Greece. It's called the moutza and if you don't want to hear obscenities shouted at you, then you best figure out a better gesture for it.

Athens: Greek Police Outlaws Women

May 8, 2006

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125004-332461-thumbnail.jpg by melinda elliott

On April 28, Greece's highest court (Council of State) told the Greek Police Force NOT to hire any more women after ruling "that men were better at fulfilling the force's tasks."

Are they? Are men better equipped to handle female victims of sexual assaults and sex trafficking, or wife abuse? I sincerely doubt it. I'm sure most women will agree that female victims would much rather to have their cases dealt with by a female police officer. Considering that the majority of all the disgraceful charges brought against the Greek police force recently (rape, torture, corruption, gambling and prostitution), the perpetrators were male, not female.

Athens: Deb(t)acle

April 27, 2006

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warplane.jpg by melinda elliott 

It's no secret that Greece is up to its neck in debt and Finance Minister, has been trying for the past two years to scrape enough money together from tax revenues, privatization of public companies, slashing (or so I thought) public expenditures and attempting some creative accounting to get the debt under control and under the EUs 3% Growth & Stability Pact limit.

So why then, is Greece planning to spend € 22 billion on new weapons? Are we planning a war and no one told me? How can this kind of expenditure be justified considering Greece's dire fiscal straits? Elefterotipia daily in Greece wrote that the Greek government plans to purchase a new weapons system worth €22 billion as part of its 10 year armament program.

Athens: Les Greeks Miserables

April 20, 2006

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oedipus.jpg

by melinda elliott 

Ti kaneis?/How are you?

I remember the time I could ask that question and hear a simple "kala/fine" response or 'mia hara/great". Lately, I noticed it's been quite awhile since I heard anyone tell me they're doing great. So much so that I've become wary of even asking the question in case I don't have enough time to hear the litany of complaints from people.

Parents bemoan the fact that their sons and daughters can't find jobs. It's the rare person who tells me that their kids are doing just fine in the job market. Business people tell me that they're thinking of closing their businesses unless they've closed them already, which means I will hear how much money they lost last year and the effect it had on their families.

Athens: How to Be a Long-term Resident

April 14, 2006

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athenspeople.jpg 

photo via people in pixels 

by melinda elliott

For once, I think the Greek government has gotten it right.

Almost a year ago to the day, I blogged about the need for culture immersion courses for all new immigrants in their new country. I felt (and still feel) that courses teaching immigrants the law, language and culture of their host country will benefit not only them but their new country as well. In order to get the coveted long-term resident status, the interior ministry has issued a presidential decree requiring immigrants to complete 125 hours of formal instruction in the Greek language and culture.