Heat wave peaks, reaching 43 Celsius in Athens

Got a notice the Saturday night before we left Athens from Delta Airlines that our fight back to JFK had been delayed by 35 minutes.  Naturally, our taxi ride out to Athens international on Sunday was a breeze since there was very little traffic.  Our Welcome Pickups driver reiterated that because of the heat Athenians had left the city for the beaches on Friday.  (By they way, these Welcome Pickups folks are great.  A regular taxi from the airport to our Priamos Hotel cost us 50 Euros but the Welcome folks charged only 35 Euros.)   Athens airport seemed like a Walmart store on Black Friday with thousands of people clambering for that half price television.  Huge crowds of people although things did move along quite well.  Only glitch was trying to find where our electronic boarding passes had disappeared to at the Passport desk, but after a short panic attack I was able to locate them. 

As we were sitting awaiting our delayed flight I happened to notice that all the tarmac crew – the plane cleaners and baggage chuckers - weren’t immigrants (legal or otherwise) that you typically find at U.S. airports, but were blond haired, blue-eyed, Greek men and women.  I wasn’t all that surprised since many folks here commented about how difficult it’s been in Greece since the 2008 economic crash.  Jobs are in short supply, pensions have been cut, government positions have been eliminated, wages reduced and people are still waiting for a full, robust recovery.   And unlike in the U.S. where folks are whining about our “slow Obama recovery” with our unemployment rate at 4.3%, Greece still has an unemployment rate of 22.3% percent, so that would be five times the rate in the U.S.  

I couldn’t help but think about how all the Rust Belt Trump Voters had been crying about how all those illegals have been taking jobs away from them and they were thrilled that Trump was going to deport them all to finally allow red blooded Americans to scoop up their jobs as they were escorted out of the country.    The reality, of course, you know the one we all live in and not the one the Rust Belt Trump voters and Trump himself imagine is the reality of living in the U.S. of A., apparently all the jobs freed by the deportation of those horrible criminal, drug dealing, whoring illegals from Mexico and elsewhere, are going begging.  That’s right.  Crops in California drying up because there is no one to pick them and in construction where immigrants (illegals or otherwise) are also vital, there is a huge labor shortage.  So what’s up Rust Belters?  Don’t like agriculture or construction jobs?

Now of course, to Trump supporters, Obama did a terrible job recovering from the world wide economic crash of 2008 unlike businessman and legendary wealthy job creator Trump has added jobs at a far lower rate than the eight years of the Obama Administration.  But don’t tell the Trumpettes this since they won’t believe it anyway.  You know, Fake News and all that crap.    

Here in Greece, however, folks really are willing to do the jobs that immigrants – illegal or otherwise – had previously held even though the pay is for shit, hours are long and working conditions suck.   Huh!  Sounds to me just like the kind of jobs immigrants in the United States used to have but are no longer able to since they’ve been deported.  So why then aren’t all the job complainers taking up the slack?  Easy Peasy Answer.  Rust Belters would NEVER take on such shitty jobs.  It would be beneath them.  Bending over under a broiling sun picking lettuce for 10 hours a day?  Not on your life.  Talk about White Entitlement. 

But so it goes.  I’m pleased to have been out of the United States for a couple of weeks and even more pleased not to have been subjected to ubiquitous “Trump Breaking News Headlines” every day from some stupid tweet or another.   Athens has been hotter than hell the past couple of days – over 100 degrees.  And there’s a garbage strike so there are mounds of trash piled up on the sidewalks all over the place.  Still, so many people here commented on just how tough it’s been for the country since the crash of 2008.   These folks really have suffered yet they carry on doing the best that they can.  And demonstrating.  Quite a lot.  But protests in Greece are just a part of life here unlike in the U.S. where protests are considered un-American.

Take Care Folks! 



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