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Greece, Cyclades Islands, a day like any other (after “the famous one” Sunday)

The “day after”, after the most important Sunday for the Greece in this 2015. Cyclades Islands. We are arriving, finally. The email comes from the Antonis. He manages the Panorama Apartments (the name has been has been once more changedFiraSantoriniCycladesIslandsGreece, yes, here it’ usual ;-)) of Folegandros: twenty studios, with swimming pool, all painted in white lime typically greek and a breathtaking view over Chora, the old town overlooking the cliffs, the island of the Cyclades.

Without preambles, in few words and even before we arrived at the reception, Antonis asks to be paid in cash. What? The booking was made through Booking.com, one of the largest sites worldwide to find hotels and accommodations. And it was confirmed with a credit card, which, in theory, should be charged for payment (the sum exceeds easily 500 EUR). But Antonis wants cash. Especially if they are rustling Euro. They are untraceable, not be frozen by the government. And, above all, really tax-free!

From the ferry on Saturday evening, with two hours late because the Meltemi afflicts from days the Cyclades, the harbor of Folegandros downtown are about 150 people. Many. Many to be an island out of the loop the great tourist destinations such as Rhodes, Crete or Mykonos and the latest overcrowded, Santorini.

Fira Santorini, Cyclades Islands, GreeceIt seems like a week of great fear. And if many agencies complain the collapse of tourists trend, judging by crowding the ferry the season now it seems to start normally.
But living on the islands, and thrive, only to tourism after the closure of banks, falling another tile: between the sacrificial lambs that Alexis Tsipras has offered the EU to the third rescue there is also the abolition of tax privileges for islands. Immediately they have started protests for daring to touch a sacred right. The first was Mykonos, where the powerful lobby of hotels and restaurants (ehi, pls, don’t forget, the last Sunday in this island, won, in contrast, the Si) has raised his voice.

The Greece of the taxes revolt is also that of the black payment.
Antonis’s not the only one to prefer the cash in Folegandros. This is just one of hundreds of islands where swarms of tourists descend from Northern Europe. Normally they used credit card and any cash. Here, if they wish to survive, they must pay cash.

Except the “Rent a scooter”, which regularly beat a ticket for 60 Euros to hire, and a tavern at the port on the island, here anyone emits receipts or invoices. At the beach of Angali, the Marinakis corner, many Cruises are back and forth all day from the cove of paradise Livadaki. Cost: € 9 return. Not cheap just for a country laid low by the crisis. It is always full and there is no trace of half-receipt, except a little piece of carton written in pen, to be delivered to the return.

houses_greece_santorini_sea_20131003_1589151201When you will arrive in Marinakis, however, please remember to do not the name of Tsipras: all become like a rage. “It’s a stupid, it wants to spoil all. He wants to return with this country to the agriculture time. But today we work with tourists and we have to give them what they want. ” In what they want there is also a bus service from Chora to the beach: 10-minute ride you pay the absurdity of 2 euro (more than a metro ticket to Milan or Rome, but it’s worth 75 minutes). It is an anonymous bus driver, it is not clear whether it is a public or private we earn. Of course, no business other than pieces of paper without even written the price. Tourists pay their mite. On the other hand, the locals do not pay but leaves few euro cents like a kind of “welcome on board” on a tray full of nickels.

And so on for everything, every day and every night: all do black. Restaurants, bakers and ice cream makers. Make black also the souvenir shops and even supermarkets that also have the cash register (by law), but then they do the bill on a little calculator apart. Naturally.

Multiply this throughout the holiday season to Folegandros and to all the islands. There are tens of millions of euro of submerged summer; probably hundreds of millions of black. Every year. Probably all of that explain the level of common sense between istitutions and people.

Antonis has eventually achieved his goal: his guests have payed cash. But he has also offered a small discount. His goodness.


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