A for Athlete
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==Recap from Jan Raether in November 2010==

I spent almost a week in Greece and found little time to
write there. It was an amazing trip, but it was confusing as well.
Everyone talks about the problems Greece is having economically but it
seemed that most people were extremely happy and did not seem to be
struggling. This may just be the sample of people that we saw but I
also feel that just as in America, the people suppress any distress
they are in. The Greek people may be feeling that they are cash
strapped but they would rather keep that to themselves, which means
that they are still spending what money they do have. For a while it
looked like Greece would go bankrupt until the EU supported them with
loans. Germany along with the other nations were very hesitant to
give them money, and it's very understandable. The greek financial
crisis is self created and handled poorly. Many greeks are able to
retire at the age of 55. That must be nice in a city as beautiful and
close to the mediterranean as Greece, where at 55 the ocean and the
beaches become your front lawn. Just walking to the marina was a
reminder of this. Parts of the ocean front were gated off, for
upscale restaurants where some of the biggest yachts I have ever seen
are moored. The best part of the trip was also the biggest
dissapointment. Seeing the acropolis, parthenon, temple of zeus, and
other ruins of ancient Greek culture were very high on my list. But
after seeing them, and the way they are handled made me realize, they
are just ruins. Especially the parthenon. The Parthenon, seated on
top of the Acropolis is like a 3D puzzle. The pieces are scattered
across the table of the Acropolis, and has been being rebuilt since
the early 1900s. It looks just like you would imagine, a construction
site. Cranes, and scaffolding litter the pictures making it hard to
take pictures that are much better than keepsakes. The best place for
being photographically artistic was the center of attention in 2004.
The Athens Olympic complex, is a desert today. The huge complex just
outside the center of town, lays empty with the occasional large
event, and several small teams using the huge stadiums and arenas for
practice. The deserted feel was depressing but also an eye opener.
Billions of dollars were spent on a two week spectacle. I'm a fan of
the Olympics but not the way they waste money, destroy infrastructure,
and displace people. The Olympic Comittee should not only look at
what host is best suited to host the olympics, but what city is best
suited to use the constructions after the olympic games.

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