Friday, May 23, 2008

The World's Hardest-Working Countries

Forbes has a story about the world's hardest working countries. Supposedly, Koreans work ungodly hours, followed closely by the Greeks. I've never been to Korea, but I have been to Greece and all I can say from my limited experience there is "horse shit". Greeks may work a ton of hours, but I'll be damned if they work hard. Case in point; we were boarding a ferry in the Cyclades and there was a pile of luggage about the size of Ford Explorer sitting on the ramp. Six or seven uniformed ferry crew members stood around the pile with their hats in their hands, smoking, pointing to the pile and conversing as to the nature of the pile's existence and it's reluctance to move itself up the ramp. For at least thirty minutes the ferry and hundreds of passengers watched and waited as this kabuki show went on and on. Finally a senior guy came out and said, I assume being a barbarian, "Hey malakes, if each of you grab two bags and make two trips up the ramp so we can get the hell out of here." They did and we left.
Flash forward a month later arriving back in the USA at the zoo known as JFK international airport where gruff, young, primarily African American baggage smashers moved about with aplomb and efficiency. They didn't get to wear nifty naval uniforms or smoke or stand about conversing, but they sure as hell got their job done. It's weird, standing there with a bunch of foreigners watching these young American kids TCB, I was proud of them. There's nothing like travel to let you see your own country with new eyes.

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