Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Back in Greece after 4 months!

The car had gotten dirty during our 4-month absence, so I went to my favorite place to have it cleaned. The owner of the gas station, a cheerful 35-year old, seemed to be alone. I hesitated because I wanted the car cleaned well on the outside and inside and didn't know how he could get it done alone. He just signalled me that I shouldn't worry.

Then, as though they had received a secret signal, two or three people showed up out of nowhere and got busy around my car. The owner's sister showed up to run the cash register. The owner, the 'boss' so to speak, had time to sit down with me and chat. Every once in a while he got up to do some work on the car himself. It looked like there was an understanding with his people what kind of work only he, the boss, could do.

I spoke to the owner in my best (broken) Greek and he preferred to reply in his best (broken) German. Somehow we understood each other.

Without losing his cheerfulness, he told how this country was going down the drain. The only thing he had been doing last year was paying. Paying for this, paying for that and - of course - paying taxes. No money left for the family despite 12-hour working days. No perspective for the young generation. And those big shots still didn't pay any taxes.

He lit a cigarette and offered me one. I pointed to the sign above the fuel pumps which said 'no smoking'. He laughed, waiving his right hand in a spiral toward the sky. "This is Greece", he said, "you know, sun, sea, good food, bouzoukia, good life --- it's not about signs!" So I lit a cigarette, too.

A young, blonde lady drove up on a small motorcycle. Very cool appearance: tight jeans, fancy boots, cool jacket, sun glasses, etc. When it was filled up, she signalled with a move of her hand that she also wanted it washed. One of the people working on my car immediately got busy on her motorcycle. Meanwhile, the blonde was cheerfully talking on her mobile. I didn't hear the world 'Troika' once.

After about 1/2 hour my car was ready. I asked the owner what the cost was and he said 8 Euro. I hesitated for a moment because I thought that last year I had paid 15 Euro for that. Then I gave him 10 Euro and asked him to give the change to the fellows doing the work. He was happy.

And there it was. A 3-year old car looking brand new again, having just undergone the best cleaning treatment any car could dream of. And I had had a good half hour of cheerful conversation. And the sun came out after a rainy morning.

Well, back in Greece after 4 months, after all!


  1. I would do the same you did mr Kastner.
    Prices have fallen and many gas stations even if revenues fell significantly and hundreds closed if asked are giving receipts. Part of fallen demand for unleaded gas and diesel, replaced by LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas). Many gas stations builded in garages which specialised in setting up this kind of technology for this alternative fuel.

    Negative Inflation after 45 years wrote the Greek media! -0.2%


    And this


    Welcome and nice stay!


  2. http://www.cnbc.com/id/100626278

    Good or bad?


    1. Of course it is good when people who have seen double-digit cuts in their incomes see that perhaps their exepenses start going down a bit, too! However, I have no idea how Greeks see their expenses developing. The figure says -2%, but figures/statistics are figures/statistics.

      Having been back to Greece for a couple of days by now, I have run into quite a few prices which, finally!, seem to have come down (restaurants, gas station services, etc.). However, I hasten to add that the nearby Gran Masoutis continues to be an expensive, albeit it very good!, supermarket, certainly not any cheaper than a supermarket in Austria.

      I haven't been to the Cosmos Mediterranean mall yet. When I see the prices in their fast-food area coming down, I will start believing things. So far, McDonald's and KFC were at least as expensive as in Austria.

    2. It's the usual alchemy. The goods of first necessity have increased in price. What has decreased are the goods that one has less need of.

      You can translate the sad truth here:


  3. The expenses is the point, this is the truth.