On the decline of central Athens, immigrant rights and the ill-fated smoking ban

Voluntary compliance?

My wife and I have, over the years, visited Greece on many occasions and love the place, but I would like to know how seriously the new smoking bans are likely to be enforced.

From past experience, we know that motorcyclists are supposed to wear crash helmets, but only do so if it happens to suit them.

Pedestrian zones in towns and villages only have vehicles driven into them when the driver really needs to get there.

Laws are, at least to the outsider, optional.

The reason I ask is that my wife and I have recently experienced a holiday in the far north of Queensland, and, frankly, we didn’t appreciate the various places, eager to take our money, but treating us like lepers because we like to smoke cigarettes.

So, if the smoking ban is likely to be enforced with any enthusiasm, we can forget about another trip to Greece.


Athens hotels may rebound

Central Athens has an image problem that will take years to repair. It is seen as a Third World dumping ground with all its nasty trappings. I know of many people who have canceled trips to Athens for this reason. The disturbing images of migrants camped out throughout central Athens and the resulting degradation of the area have been shown worldwide. These images have become as iconic to Athens as the Parthenon. Beauty surrounded by squalor. Unless the authorities begin removing these migrants back to their country of origin, or to reception centers away from tourist hot-spots, Athens, as well as all of Greece will continue to be shunned by tourists.


Taxes but no voting rights?

As I understand it, the court rules that it’s perfectly OK to raise taxes from non-Greek citizens but it’s unconstitutional to let those taxpayers have any sort of influence on what’s being done with the money they «donate« to the Greek state.


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