Strike one

No bus, no metro, no tram, trolley-bus, no nothing. Another lovely day in Athens. I was sitting in a taxi trapped in hellish traffic, so I decided to do the only thing I could to pass the time – and keep my thinning patience under control. I started reading the dictionary.

Let me explain. I bought a English-Greek (and vice versa) dictionary of banking and financial terms to keep me up to speed with work. It’s really big. Exactly 1699 pages. It’s also pretty heavy. I had it on my lap the whole time, flipping through the pages and by the time I reached home the creases on my trousers had been ironed out (also my leg was numb).

Troubled bank: A bank with an increased percentage of nonperfoming loans.

Today, a small Greek bank called Proton Bank became the first one to be nationalised. Strangely enough, this had nothing to do with Greece’s current debt crisis. Apparently it had to do with a money-laundering scandal that was made known by the bank itself a few months earlier.

Still, media and analysts are speculating on who might be next.

The problem with the city’s centre is, it has no proper roads. You have one main avenue going in, one going out. Side streets lead nowhere and are best avoided in case you run into a garbage truck and then you’re really f***.

Employees in public transport are protesting against wage cuts, layoffs and mergers of their segmented administrations. They know they’re not going to have their way but they strike anyway, making our lives even more difficult than they already are.

I don’t think I can recall a single month in the past few years that there hasn’t been at least one strike in public transport. In a chaotic city like Athens, where there are no parking spaces and everyone owns at least one car, a strike like this one today is a test of our nerves. Any breathing or relaxation technique you might have picked up from yoga classes will be put in good use here.

Aski systemExchange control system in postwar Western Germany for the payment of imported goods from special accounts (capital) with special marks.

I got home tired, but wiser.  Thank you strikers.


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