Ritsona, Greece — To show how cremation has always been part of the Greek way of life and death, Antonis Alakiotis proudly shows off the range of the funerary urns modelled on ancient Greek designs, available to house the ashes of your loved one for eternity. Prices start at 109 euros ($121).
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Chris Topalov’s family have navigated the choppy waters of Europe’s embattled economies for decades. His parents left their homeland of Bulgaria to escape financial chaos in 1997; chaos caught up to them in Greece where Chris was born. In 2016 the family left for better prospects in the U.S.
The odyssey has prompted Chris to study economics to make some sense of Europe’s economic travails when he heads to college this year. But though he feels Bulgarian, the question of whether he would ever move to Bulgaria is academic.
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On a whiteboard, Vassilis Papadopoulos has written the word “late” and circled it. Fifty minutes into the class, Sekou Kamara walks in, but Papadopoulos gently pushes him back out the door.
“You wanted to know what late is?” Papadopoulos says to the laughter of the men and women in the classroom. “This is late. My friend,” he says to Kamara. “I will see you tomorrow.”
Kamara smiles, unperturbed, and backs out of the classroom. He may have missed his English class today but he is on time – early, in fact -– for his Greek class just down the hall. For Kamara, learning English, the language spoken by 1.5 billion people, is important; but it’s Greek, a language spoken by 11 million people, that is making a difference to his life.
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If tourist arrivals match last year’s numbers, some 30 million people will visit Greece this year, buying Greek coffees and Greek salads, renting cars and beach umbrellas, and boosting the country’s shrunken economy with €16 billion in spending. George Pitsilis, Greece’s chief tax collector, is determined to make sure the tax due is collected on those transactions.
Read more here at the IMF’s F&D magazine.
Locals call it “the pagoda” – a concrete edifice in the Greek port of Piraeus that resembles a temple in the East. In the parking lot of the derelict building, tourists from cruise ships board buses that whisk them to the archaeological sites of Athens.
If Chinese State-owned giant COSCO Shipping has its way, it will make the pagoda into a five-star hotel and conference center, breathing more life into a port that the company has made the spearhead of its European operations.
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