Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Waking up in a Bankrupt Country

This is not a political blog, but it is a blog about my life, which has suddenly changed overnight! Yes, living in Greece the last 5 years, over this austerity period has meant big changes, a big loss of income and state services, but these last few days have seen a change that we only had nightmares about.

It started on Saturday morning, with the announcement of the referendum fresh and queues in banks at 7 in the morning. Tensions were high, but most people kept their cool: at least the banks were still pumping out cash. My husband went to the supermarket to stock up - we had done our big shop the day before, but decided that a few more cartons and tins won't do us harm. We stocked up on food and basic medicine, and now have enough nappies for about 2 months (with two kids in nappies at the moment, that is a lot)!

A few hours later posts started appearing on social media about which cashpoints in Athens still had money - and although the government was denying that it would have to impose capital controls a few hours later those too had been announced, along with a 'bank holiday'. An extended one...

We live away from the centre and away from people, but had to head down into our nearest town to try get some passport paperwork sorted. Monday was eerily quiet. Small shops were largely empty, some didn't even open, while supermarkets were full. The few people walking the streets in our nearby town looked a little aimless and shocked but I am pleased to see that in some places spirits remained high, with a few jokes and banter being exchanged, mostly about the situation.

Our search for a petrol station was lucky, we even found one that accepted cards and had petrol, though we ended up buying super racing car stuff... I joked that if we had to drive to the border quickly this should do the trick... Even so, most petrol stations had run dry, and a lot of the others demanded cash in hand. A difficult feat, as the by now open again ATMs have a daily withdrawal limit of 60 euro per person per day. That is if you can find one that still has money, or if you don't mind queuing up.

Wednesday morning finds us bankrupt, as a country. Greece has skipped its payment to the IMF. The fact that it paid salaries and pensions on Monday in full is quite the joke, as people are unable to access their money.
The referendum looms.
The rhetoric remains heated.
Tempers run high in both camps.
Shortages are not yet felt, but I'm sure are due to come soon.

We are lying low. In fact, I am not even sure what the situation is out there: my priority is to stay calm, spend time with the kids and await more news. We have several plans, we are currently still on plan A, which is to sit tight and see what happens. Wish us luck!


No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...