Athens Learns To Have Fun Despite The Embers Of Crisis

Athens Learns To Have Fun Despite The Embers Of Crisis

A decade ago, one could see mostly turmoil in Athens: Protestors and clouds of tear gas. The European financial crisis had plunged Greece into the edge of financial collapse.

Today, one can see a livelier spirit. The city's cafes are full of noisy and cheerful people having a lively conversation, and its art and culture scene is happening, and people seem happy.

All this exuberance doesn’t mean the Greek financial crisis is over. It’s just that the country has learned to cope: it has shown a great spirit of resilience.

"Greeks lately are enjoying life a lot because they see that we're going down the drain, and the only way to survive is just to have fun," a Pantelis Melissinos, a local craftsman, told CNN.

Melissinos is known as the Poet Sandal Maker because of his twin talents of footwear-making and writing verse.

Melissinos and his family have seen crises, including the recent financial upheaval – "i krisi" (the crisis) as the locals call it – which sent Greece hurtling to the edge of bankruptcy due to years of overspending. The European Union and the IMF came to Greece’s rescue with bailout loans of $300 billion.

Greeks have seen so many crises they have become inured to them; and they have learned to grin and bear them, or, rather, to have fun instead.

"You know this is a very Greek way of dealing with a problem. If you cannot beat the problem, you just join the problem. And maybe you become part of the problem. And maybe you give a problem to the problem,” Melissinos says.