>> Friday, July 10, 2015 – Athens July 2015, Greek crisis, Greek Minister of Finance, Greek referendum, Yanis Varoufakis
As you know from my blog of last Friday, I was heading to the mainland for a few days. We had originally booked to see 'Jesus Christ Superstar' at the Herodion, an ancient amphitheatre in Athens which would have been quite something but as things turned out, the capital controls meant that the Greek backer couldn't send the money to the British theatre company so the 2 performances were cancelled. So, instead of seeing a show we went for a stroll around the flea markets and the Plaka, finally settling on a simple pavement taverna for some supper. We chose it because although many tables were occupied, there was the happy sound of people eating rather than that of people yelling into smartphones and the only music was a pair of elderly gentlemen further up the lane, playing traditional songs to the accompaniment of their bozoukis.
After a most enjoyable meal we decided to have some more wine and sit a while longer. Nicholas struck up a conversation with an Argentinian woman who had just arrived at the next table - discussing capital controls, banking crises and other related topics that Argentina and Greece have in common. At this point I became aware of the party settling at the next table and gestured to Nicholas to to shush as Greece's then Minister of Finance, Yani Varoufakis, his wife and two Americans had just arrived. With the tables so close together it seemed only polite to greet the man. Mr Varoufakis was very polite and charming and insisted upon knowing more about us. He then explained to his companions that Symi is a beautiful but very remote and mountainous island and he seemed impressed that we live there all year round. There was no security in evidence which was remarkable considering that this is one of the most recognised and recognisable men in Europe at the moment and this was the night before the big Referendum.
A short while later a young boy came round the tables, selling red roses. This is an old tradition in Athens, as anyone who has ever watched the famous Finos films of the 1960s will be aware. The boy came to our table first and we bought two, one for me, one for the Argentinian woman. The boy then moved on to the 'big' table and started his sales patter. Suddenly he realised who he was talking to, squealed with joy and 'high fived' Varoufakis. Flowers and money were exchanged and the boy went excitedly on his way.
As we had a long day's driving ahead of us the following day we too decided to head for bed at our hotel around the corner. As we departed we wished Mr Varoufakis well and hoped that he would still be in a job on Monday...