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ATHENS, Greece – Weaving through the traffic on the outskirts of steamy Athens, the cabbie told a story of spiraling unease, one shared by many in this historic seat of power in the Eastern Mediterranean. Come this fall, when the summer tourists have returned to Germany, the U.S. and points beyond, when the stifling heat that bakes this land of olives and ouzo mercifully retreats, the political temperature may reach a boiling point, our driver fears. He believes that his beloved Athens, the only city he has ever called home, may become the stage for world economic headlines, yet again.
Only this time it could be the final tipping point for Greece.
Unemployment hovers near 25 percent, and this nation of 11 million teeters on the edge of insolvency.
“It might not be good,” says Milton, an English name that the round-faced driver adopted to make it easier for his fares to pronounce. “Nobody knows what’s next, but this fall could be bad.”
Rosary beads hang from the rearview mirror of his late-model Mercedes. He talks of his two sons and their uncertain future as he stealthy slips past slower traffic, only to be passed by darting motorcyclists who seem unfazed by red lights and honking horns.