Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy celebrations to all our American friends and let us hope your next president turns out to be a great statesman and worthy of the position and not another George Bush. How is it that America seems to be in the habit of electing the worst candidates to be their leader and commander in chief? They’ve had Nixen, Clinton, Bush to name but a few! Mind you the British aren’t that far behind. From this distance it looks as though, is it ten years? of New Labour have sent the quality of life in the UK plummeting to an extraordinary degree, and these are supposed to be socialists!

Greece is a great place in which to live if you can put up with the interminable red tape, the litter, the graffiti, the topsy-turviness of it. Mind you all that can apply to so many places, especially the litter and the mindless graffiti which is sheer vandalism. The one thing it is difficult for a soft-hearted Anglo to live with is the careless, sometimes horrifying ill-treatment of animals and the fact that it would seem that for most Greeks laws are passed for people who don’t include themselves unless it’s to their personal advantage. Driving is a subject all on its own.

It would seem also that the Greeks to whom tourism and holiday making is a major contribution to the exchequer also go out their way to put prospective visitors off from the start. This is part of the bureaucracy mentioned above . My sister and her husband wish to visit us from South Africa in September. For their visa the Greeks require a letter of invitation stating they will be housed and looked after, medical insurance (that’s okay), forms stating mother’s and father’s full names (these intended visitors are in their late sixties/ seventies) plus a whole of other information and THREE MONTHS bank statements! Does any other country have such rigid requirements? This summer the big complaint has been the drop in tourism and it is not all down to the rising cost of oil or the weak exchange rate with the pound. There are other factors involved like putting up prices more than is necessary purely out of greed. There are cheaper destinations – Turkey for a start. And, of course, there’s all the red tape.

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