(From our man in Athens) ... Casablanca syndrome & rising tension.
The atmosphere is festive. Champagne corks pop. Sam plays the piano. It is as if nothing bad is really going to happen.
War? What war? Maybe it is all just a cruel trick?
But soon we hear the first rounds of the approaching artillery. "That’s the new German 77s," explains Rick, "and judging by the sound only 35 miles away". Suddenly it is real. Time to pack some bags and rush for the last train out of the city.
Now, let’s come back to the present day in Athens.
Last Friday I met a great guy named Georgios thru a new tourism scheme called This is my Athens. It allows travellers like me to explore lesser known places & hidden sights with a city insider.
Well, our 2 hour stroll turned into an all-night bender as we first watched Greece vs. Poland in an Exarchia cafe, visited an Anarchists roof-top bar nearby and finished up by dancing to fantastic traditional music till the early hours.
Everywhere we went people were having a great time. Lots of laughter accompanied by the crack-&-fsst of beer cans being opened.
Crisis? What crisis?
I said as much to Georgios. He agreed. Everything seems so normal. No panic, no worried looks, no packed suitcases.
But, it is not that people are carefree or reckless. It is just that the endgame is still so unknown. Will Syriza come to office & tear up the Memorandum? Will the fascists maintain their vote? Will the centrists cobble together a grand coalition? Only after the results of the election are revealed next Monday, will fate determine what really lies ahead.
Until then life goes on pretty much as normal.
Well, normal that is except for the tension I sense growing day-by-day in the run up to Sunday's poll, as news reports continue to reveal the price of political uncertainty.
Supplies of important medicines are being cutoff, major foreign suppliers are withdrawing from Greece and tourist numbers remain low. In addition, newspaper editorials are becoming more stark & frantic as opinion makers ram home their messages ahead of the coming vote.
In any event, we are coming close to the endgame.
The boom of the approaching guns is starting to be heard.
How will the people react? We will know on Monday 19th.