Sunday, November 20, 2011

Impulse shopping: Greek style

So, if you’ve been following along with this blog, you know that I have been trying to buy a little scrap of land in Greece. And you’ve patiently followed along on all the bureaucratic hoops I’ve had to jump through to foolishly spend my money.

Let’s review: a few years ago I found a tiny, but small patch of dirt on the island of Crete. Ever the impulse shopper, I took one look at the views from the land and said “SOLD!” Or the rough equivalent in my really atrocious Greek.

My sales agent, the ever helpful, endlessly patient Andreas, outlined the paperwork needed that I, as a non-EU citizen, would need to assemble to buy my patch of heaven. Mounds of it, piles of it, heaps actually. All duly stamped, notarized, authorized, certified, and stamped again. Paperwork is key – apparently actually handing over my dough is a minor detail - twiddling with more paperwork and stamps is ever so much more fun.

For the last two years I have been getting criminal record checks, arguing with the Greek Minister of Defense, whilst meekly begging for the opportunity to hand over my entire retirement savings to a country that is going bankrupt. I’ve been processed and cleared by the Greek departments of heritage, agriculture, environment, rural development and several other minor provincial offices. I still don’t have my land.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, Greece is in a financial crisis of epic proportions. Not only is the country teetering on the abyss of bankruptcy, its profligate spending the last decade is now threatening to bring down the entire Eurozone.

I’ve been desperately trying to give Greece my money – buy some land, build a house, employ some locals to build and maintain it, and settle in. Apparently impulse shopping is not a danger in Greece as it’s now going on two years and I still have no land and no house.

I’m told that I am now mere days away from the right stamp being applied to the right piece of paper, duly notarized, authorized and certified and solemnly witnessed by everyone in the village from the mayor to the village barber. Mere days. The pace of land purchasing in Greece makes one dizzy.

I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I’m going to go check on that bottle of champagne I put in the fridge to chill for the day I get my deed. I think it may have evaporated by now.

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