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The scariest ride to Athens airport - c/o a seasoned tax dodger

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 20 February 2017

I arrived in good time at Athens bus station, aka the biggest shit hole this side of Mosul. and grabbed a cab for the airport. Within 100 yards the car was stuttering as if it was out of gas. The driver seemed unphased and just played with the gear stick as` if this was par for the course. On a dusty side street I was not too bothered but then we went onto the 4 lane motorway to the airport. He sensed my unease and asked "are you scared?" I lied and said no.

But as we kept losing speed as he tried to pull out to overtake even slower rust buckets and then stuttered as huge lorries found themselves heading up our tail my unease grew. I peered over at his fuel gauge and pointed out that it was showing empty. He said "no no its a mechanical problem" pointing to a flashing yellow light on his dashboard. That was not exactly reassuring. As I closed my eyes and held on tight to the door he asked again, several times, if I was afraid. I kept on lying.

After about thirty minutes of this hell he said "right we will get some gas" as if this would reassure me given the stated mechanical problem. So we pulled in, he got 20 Euro of gas and guess what? The gauge still showed empty.

After what seemed like a lifetime we approached the airport. There is a fixed fare for this ride which is 43 Euro. The driver asked if he could ask me a favour? Sure. He pointed at an Ikea and said "can we agree that this journey was from the Ikea to the airport?" I am aware that tax evasion is wrong but I was just so glad to arrive safely at the airport that I agreed meekly. I now discover that my flight is so late that I might as well have saved 43 Euro and a near breakdown and walked.

If the EU and IMF think they will get Greeks to give up a lifetime of tax dodging they are fooling only themselves.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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