I've been in Greece for the past week teaching a short course on experimental methods used in consumer research. Given all the news about the financial crisis in Greece, I thought I'd share a few personal observations.
By and large, it's been hard to see much effect of the crisis (but not having been here before, I admit to not having a good reference point). Restaurants, beaches, and historical sites are full (of Greeks and tourists). Banks are closed, but I haven't noticed lines outside of ATMs more than a couple people deep, and typically there is no wait at all. I've been in a couple grocery stores and they were fully stocked. A common remark I've heard in crowded areas is "Crisis? What crisis?"
None of that is to say things are great for the average Greek citizen. There are capital controls, so Greeks can only pull out 60 euros (now 50 since banks have run out of 20s) daily from domestic accounts (withdraws from international accounts are not limited). And, there is a lot of uncertainty and concern about what will happen. But, a lot of Greeks have been moving their money out of the country in the months and years before capital controls were instituted. I've been impressed by the knowledge waiters and cab drivers have about the financial situation of the country, and by and large, they seem to be taking it all in stride. Things don't look too bright for public sector employees - which include all University professors in the country.
Of course, I've largely been in tourist spots in Athens and Crete, which may well be affected differently than other areas (although I did have a layover in Athens on the same day the "no" vote came out and got to witness the party in Syntagma square; hours before the vote came out there were far more journalists and TV cameras than "real people" in the square). International credit cards still work and are generally accepted, though there is a definite preference for cash.
My overall impression? Beautiful scenery, great people, and scrumptious food. I just hope they can find a way to pay off their bills.