Category Archives: Greece

What Greek Debt Crisis?

The Greek god of wealth is Plutus. Zeus blinded Plutus so that he would disperse wealth without prejudice or favoritism. Despite these extreme measures, wealth distribution in Greece, accentuated by the economic crisis, is an issue that is shaking the country and reverberating around the world. We have seen one stark side of it in our new home of Vouliagmeni.

Vouliagmeni is a suburb of Athens and is the southernmost point of what is known as the Athenian Riviera. The small seaside town has one of the highest real estate prices in Greece and is where affluent Athenians have their second homes. What we didn’t realize is how affluent Athenians are and how a town that caters to the uppermost crust of society can be so isolated from a crisis that is impacting the rest of the nation.

The restaurants in Vouliagmeni were buzzing on the weekend, with groups of polo-shirt clad men and designer sunglass-clad women sipping drinks on white cushions overlooking the Mediterranean. The shabbiest car we have seen here is an Audi. It’s hard to take a picture of a luxury can without it being eclipsed by another one. Here is a red Ferrari turning a corner where a white Lamborghini was parked. I tried to get a clear shot but a group of policemen started yelling something about pictures not being allowed. It was all Greek to me, but I didn’t want to argue.

In the beach parking lot, it’s all Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes.

The only grocery store in town has prices that put Whole Foods to shame. The cheapest sit down meal is the souvlaki corner where lunch for the family came to 30 euros ($40).

The streets are lined with orange, olive and fig trees. All of them are ripe with fruit that we haven’t seen anyone daring to pick. Every time we leave the house, Ava and Kayan beg us to pick fruit. We keep telling them that it’s just for decoration. I suppose when one has so much money, why bother plucking fruit when you can buy it instead?

Vouliagmeni is an the ideal location for us. It has great beaches and a quiet vibe, but is easy access to Athens and a few other beach towns. However, we feel isolated from (what we had imagined to be) Greek culture and what is happening in the rest of the country. Then again, the town of Vouliagmeni has been very welcoming to us and giving us the opportunity to experience their side of the crisis.


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Supermoon Over Vouliagmeni Greece

Our arrival in Greece coincided with the biggest and brightest full moon of the year. I envisioned getting shot of a fat moon resting on the ocean, perhaps even with a sailboat’s silhouette piercing the white globe. Unfortunately, by the time we noticed the moon it was well into the night sky. It had also cheated us by making its appearance above the mountains, not the ocean where we were expectantly waiting. Here is our shot of the ‘supermoon’ over Vouliagmeni, Greece. It wasn’t the size that struck us as much as the brightness, even before the sun had finally set.

One of my goals in Greece is to learn enough about Greek mythology to tell the kids bedtime stories. Today seemed like an apt occasion to study Selene, the Greek moon goddess.

I’m till in the early learning process, but here are two things I learned quickly. The first is that Greek mythology reads like a soap opera. The only thing more complicated may be Hindu mythology, where the gods make the most of reincarnation and appear in many forms and lives. My second learning is that the Greek gods were a highly incestuous bunch. I’ll be leaving this part out of the bedtime stories.

Selene was the Titan goddess of the moon. The Titans, considered the elder gods, ruled the earth before being overthrown by the Olympians. Selene came from quite a bloodline. Her father, Hyperion, was god of light and her mother, Gaea, was goddess of sight. Selene was well coordinated with her siblings – Helios, the the god of the sun, and Eos, the goddess of dawn.

This video was taken this evening from our terrace as we enjoy Helios bringing down the sun to make way for his sister. It comes with running commentary from Ava and Kayan.


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