Monday, February 13, 2012
Sunday was truly a day of rest for us. We did absolutely nothing. I did make a trip to the bakery and I picked up a newspaper, but that was the sum of my outdoor adventures yesterday. Susan didn’t even leave the house. We ate lunch at home and, in the evening, Susan watched an episode of Downton Abbey and I continued studying Woody Aragon’s book. Susan spoke briefly with Brian about his trip to Florida and we then made plans to dine together on Tuesday evening to celebrate Valentine’s Day and on Sunday we will go to La Matandeta to celebrate Ofelia’s birthday. La Matandeta is a restaurant located in the Albufera just outside of Valencia proper and it is reputed to make one of the best paellas in all of Spain. It was featured on Mario Batali’s “Spain: On the Road Again.”
This morning’s paper announced that the Greek Parliament approved the conditions and cuts required by the European Union in order for them to receive yet another economic bailout so that they can repay some of their indebtedness and have their government continue to operate. Reports indicate that some 80,000 people took to the streets screaming, throwing rocks and firebombs and burning down a number of buildings in order to protest Parliament’s impending approval. As one European politician observed Greece is the birthplace of democracy and it is also the birthplace of drama. I imagine that much of the displeasure of the people in the streets comes from the realization that the party is over. The government will now have to look for ways to oblige the majority of the population who do not pay taxes to pay those taxes. It will now have to track down those people who continue to receive and cash pension checks of people who died ten or twenty years ago. It will have to pare the rolls of government workers many of whom do no work and just cash a check. They will have to justify why the workers in the public sector earn more money than those in similar jobs in the private sector. The only question that remains is will the Greek government actually put these reforms into force. In spite of past promises to do so, as of today they have done next to nothing.
It is back to the routine today. I will head back to the gym to do some cardio and some exercise and Susan will go to her Pilates class. I have a 4:30 conversation class with Melissa and then I will head to the CIVAC this evening.