My fifth day in Spetses and I’ve been able to glean a little of how the Greeks, at least on this island, feel about the election and their future. Until Friday night, the island seemed deserted. During the week, all the typical stores were open: the trinket shops with all forms of the “evil eye,” the expensive clothing shops for women and “yachtsmen,” the stores with all forms of worrybeads. However, no one was buying, and I’ve not seen one man fingering those beads for solace. Worried they must be, though. An International Herald Tribune editorial stated that of the 11 million eligible Greek workers, 1 million are unemployed. The writer spoke of a lawyer friend who is considering giving up his practice as his client list drops and returning to the land where he can feed his family.
My friends and I have mostly used taxis to get to some of the exquisite beaches of this island. Today, Saturday, June 16, the day before the election, we went to a beach on the other side of the island. Our driver is a graduate in electrical engineering. He drives a cab because he was making only 800 Euros a month in Athens, the equivalent of $1200. He couldn’t manage living on such a meager amount, so he came back to Spetses.
Last night as I sat in a cafe facing the harbor, Septses came alive. Most restaurants had a decent number of visitors instead of the hundreds of empty tables I had seen all week. People seemed excited, happy, like Friday nights in most countries.
By Saturday, the crowd had grown and even at ten in the evening, many children were playing together in front of the pastry shops. Every day, when I read The International Herald Tribune, the news has not been good. In fact, disaster seems to loom ahead no matter what the outcome of the election. But tonight, football dominated conversations, an escape from matters such as returning to the drachma or having a job.
However, the vultures are circling. Hungry Greeks are raiding ancient sites, hoping to find valuable antiquities. While some companies such as France’s Carrefour pull out of Greece, others are prepared to buy up vacation houses for cheap.