Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The effects of Greece's economic crisis hit home

Greek flag - EU flag, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

You can see the current economic crisis in Greece start to nibble away at even the upscale neighbourhoods here in Thessaloniki. The symptoms are not as brutal or as obvious as the endless rows of For Sale/For Rent signs that have sprouted up in the poorer areas on the west side of the city. Yet like fissures in a supporting wall they are set to widen and become more visible as the stresses on it increase.

In the shopping malls on the east end of town such as Mediterranean Cosmos the paving stones are cracked, seemingly uncared for and the food court floor is strewn with rubbish. On the other hand security guards thread their way endlessly around the tables in their mock police outfits, like revellers on their way to a fancy dress party.

In the other malls even local fast food outlets such as Goodys have stopped displaying prices, perhaps in an attempt to delay sticker shock until after the unsuspecting customer has made their choice. The whole complex has an eerie Dawn of the Dead, Zombies in the Mall feel to it as the handful of shoppers listlessly wheel their trollies up and down the empty aisles.

What the wealthier sections of Thessaloniki, and Greek society in general are realising is that the financial downturn which has been hitting poorer Greeks for last two to three years is exonerably reaching out to their corner of the world as well.

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