Archimedes & Eureka:
So, what is the story of Eureka? King Hiero ordered a new Crown to be made for him so he gave a block of pure Gold to a goldsmith. When the new crown was presented to him, King became suspicious that goldsmith had mixed some cheaper metal in it and saved some gold for himself. He ordered Archimedes to find out if the crown was made with pure gold on not without harming its shape. Archimedes was puzzled but he started pondering on the issue. One day while taking bath he realised that while he lowered his body into tub full of water, some water spilled over. He realised when an object is lowered into water, equal amount of water is displaced. And so, if crown was pure gold, water displaced by crown must be the same as of same amount of pure gold. Archimedes was so thrilled on discovering this that he ran in streets naked shouting ‘Eureka’ (means ‘I found it’). By the way, water displaced by the Crown & pure Gold were not the same.. L. And history is silent about what happened to goldsmith afterwards.
Flight went smoothly and soon we were preparing to land at Athens International Airport. It is a relatively new built and started its operations in 2001. Arrival area is a bit of disappointment. Kids felt as they have arrived in Pakistan. To be fair it was better than Pakistan but definitely worse than Western Europe. Surprisingly Departures area is admirable – spic & span.
Hot air hit our faces as soon as we walked out of airport building. Oh my God, it was as hot as it would be in Pakistan in summer. It was not possible to walk outside especially if you are arriving from a cold country. My uncle had warned be beforehand but I didn’t take it seriously. L… We took a bus to Piraeus, a seaport town of Athens. An hour’s journey and we were there. Luckily the flat was fully air-conditioned! Rest of the day was spent relaxing.
Next day we headed to the centre of Athens to start sightseeing. Let me introduce you to recent Greece first.
Greece is situated in South of Europe and is a member of European Union. Currency used to be Drahma but was replaced by Euro in 2001. It has more than 2000 islands out of which 227 are inhabited. Greece’s population is approx. 11 Million. Almost all are Orthodx Christians. Majority of Greek land is mountainous.
Greece was conquered by Roman Empire and then remained so till mid fifteenth century when it was conquered by the Ottoman Khilafah. It emerged as an independent country in current shape around 1830s. Greece has parliamentary democratic government.
Economy – Then & Now:
Greece is a modern & developed country. It had quite strong economy based on tourism, shipping and manufacturing (predominantly garments) which Greece exported mainly to Europe. But emergence of China has completely eradicated the manufacturing industry, so much so that only 12% income is generated from this sector now.
Tourism was the biggest contributor to economy. Tourists from all over the world were attracted to Greece thanks to Sea, Sun, Superb Food, history and cheap prices. But introduction of Euro made everything too expensive for locals as well as tourists so many tourists prefer Turkey which is a lot cheaper. Rest of the destruction came via IMF & World Bank. Huge debts at very high interest rates have broken the Greek economy now. Country suffered great economic crisis around 2008 and it has deepened since. High unemployment, high taxes, high living prices, pension cuts, job cuts; unthinkable austerity measures has lead Greece society to brink of breakdown & bankruptcy – Thank you IMF, Thank you Capitalism, Thank you Greed – Select Rich enjoying at the cost Many Poor.
There was abundance of labour work in 80s. A huge number of Pakistanis mainly from Gujrat & surroundings (& other nationalities too) immigrated legally & illegally by road via Turkey. Greek law doesn’t grant nationality even one lives here for long. So virtually all the immigrants stayed here as bachelors; there are only handful of Pakistani (or any other migrant) families live here. Many of the migrants have gone back now since there are no jobs.
Many years ago my brother & I visited Greece. One day we were walking in a street in Piraeus. We met an Indian young man in 20s. We asked him what brought him here. He replied, to find some work. So what brought you here, he enquired? We came to visit Greece, we replied. Visit? He was surprised. Yes, visit, we smiled. But he didn’t believe us and responded, surely you came looking for work, or perhaps you will move on to Western Europe. He didn’t believe us.
To be continued…