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I Just Got A Ride To My Hotel In Athens, And BOY Was It Depressing

•, Joe Weisenthal

Sure, it's a cliché to get the pulse of the city from a cab driver, but when you're in a cab, and the driver is eager to talk about the election (coming this Sunday), the economy, and the future of the Eurozone, why not?

First of all, something about the ride itself. It was a beautiful drive near the airport. According to George—the driver—a year or two ago the ride would have taken an hour. Now, with the economic collapse, and the attendant drop in traffic, it only took 25 or 30 minutes.
George's situation seemed particularly dire. At age 40 he's been forced to move back in with his parents, after seeing his wages collapse 75 percent during the crisis. His brother is divorced, has two kids, and has been unemployed for a year.

Just hearing about all that is depressing enough, but his assessment of things was terrible.

Athens, he said, is now like a 'ghost city.'

"You don't see anyone smile ... only the crazy people"

"The good days are over," he said, and it sounded like he thought they were over for good.

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