Sunday, June 17, 2012

In Greece, a Beachy Haven From Political Debate

Wall Street Journal
June 16, 2012

There may be a financial catastrophe brewing here, an existential threat to Europe's common currency and a harbinger of doom for the world economy.

But for some, Saturday looked like just another day at the beach.

"It is the best place on earth," says Nikos Lymperis. "The best climate, the best hospitality." Mr. Lymperis is at a private beach. He has a plate of sliced fruit, and a bottle of white wine in an ice bucket. He is wearing a bathing suit and a Rolex.

Athens broils under an unforgiving sun. There are few trees, much asphalt. There is not a cloud in the sky, and there has not been one all day. It is 95 degrees.

So Mr. Lymperis and many other Athenians have left for the beach. On the sand, it's not clear whether life is proceeding as usual or the band is playing on as the Titanic begins to sink.

In central Athens, the TV crews have rolled in, ready for a Sunday election they rarely fail to describe as crucial or climactic. But 20 minutes' drive south of Syntagma Square is Vouliagmeni, a pleasant suburb with a ritzy marina. Along a promontory that juts from the coast is Astir Beach.


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