Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sun is shining, restaurants are full and Athens is far from panic

by Tony Barber

Financial Times

April 15, 2015

Immersed in thoughts about whether Greece will strike a last-minute deal with its foreign creditors to avoid a debt default, I found myself on Tuesday evening outside an Athens souvenir shop selling a T-shirt with this slogan:

To be is to do – Plato
To do is to be – Aristotle
Do be do be do – Sinatra

Shop owners at Pompeii must have sold items like this in the summer of AD79, just before the eruption of Vesuvius.

What is striking about the mood in Athens is its extraordinary calm. The sun is out, and everyone has returned from a refreshing Easter break. One acquaintance tells me the restaurants are so full – with Greeks, not just foreign tourists – that he couldn’t make a reservation anywhere the other night.

All in all, this does not seem like a society that knows, or fears, that it is two steps from the precipice.


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