Greek Island lifestyle — Content I have gathered from the wide internet world. Enjoy
Last year you were probably watching and reading about the Motion Picture Academy’s Oscars and missed the first ever Medical Travel Awards by the International Medical Travel Journal. Yes, medical tourism is big business and now has its own awards show. What country would you guess to win Destination of the Year? . . . Wrong! The winner was Jordan. You might stand a better chance at the Excellence in Customer Service category; the winner was Apollo Health City in India, the call center capital of the world.
Update Spoiler: This article is a reprint so facts and figures are out of date. I don’t think that matters because if you need medical help you have to do your own research anyway. Also, of course, the coronavirus travel restrictions have to be taken into account in your specific planning.
Medical tourism is truly a global growth industry. Thailand and Malaysia have been known for years to have world class hospitals and doctors for those with champagne taste and a beer budget. But did you know the major hospital in the Dominican Republic has bought a new Davinci robotic surgery system and is now the mecca for prostate treatments. By the way, if you don’t like my use of the lower case mecca, Iran has a growing medical tourism business from Muslim countries. It seems it not only has better facilities and doctors than many of its neighbors but it is more stable as well(after all everything is relative). Or if you prefer, Dubai is gaining a lot of medical business due to its position as a regional and intercontinental airlines hub.
For potential patients from developed countries cost is a major driving factor and enjoying the beaches, scenery and food is secondary. Nearly any procedure that can be scheduled is cheaper at these destinations. A knee replacement costs $35,000 in America, $20,000 in Singapore, $12,000 in Thailand and $10,000 in Costa Rica, according to medical consultants, Patients Beyond Borders. The European Union has been seeking uniformity for over fifty years yet a hip replacement cost $4,000 less in Spain than in England and I would bet the food is better as well.
Of course, there are drawbacks to flying coach when you are ill. Many people who can manage the price of local treatment prefer to stay close to home. They are close to family and friends and have known recourse if something goes wrong. Understanding the dialects of nurses and doctors can be a comfort as well, even if these days many western hospitals are staffed with foreign nationals.
Previously I wrote about the Russians visiting the spas of the Czech Republic. It turns out that an increasing number of Brits are taking the short hop to Prague for essential procedures such as breast implants. That enhancement in a modern Czech clinic with an English speaking doctor costs about half what it would in the U.K.
Malaysia has long been a popular medical tourism destination for the Chinese and now South Korea is gaining ground as well. Thailand is not content to let these upstarts take their business. The Tourism Authority there has launched a marketing campaign that invites people from all over the world to compete for places in a reality show, Thailand Extreme Makeover. Yes, your before and after pictures, as well as everything in between, can be on international television.
While this report has been somewhat tongue in cheek, our health or lack of it is serious business. As quality of care decreases, including the insidious practice of requiring specialists for even common procedures such as prostrate exam—my recent experience—and costs correspondingly increase; it behooves everyone to apply the same principles to purchasing medical care as to a new smart phone—shop around.
P.S. This post is a little off topic; I have more like it on my Travel Shepherd site.
One of the aspects of living on a Greek island is that each winter the island gets smaller and smaller. Which brings on the psychological disorder commonly known as island fever. Fortunately, the cure is readily at hand –travel.
One of our most memorable winter trips was to Turkey and included the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. Which by the way is predominately Roman in that the extensive and elaborate ruins that are seen today were all built by the Romans after they took charge in 129 B.C.
The nearest town is Selçuk with a history of its own so there is much to see including the tomb of John the Apostle and Mother Mary’s House. We arrived there from Istanbul by way of ferry, train and minibus. The latter from İzmir, the Turkish rendering of the original Greek name Smyrna, which is Turkey’s third largest city.
We stayed at the small Hotel Bella which was run like a personable B & B with roof-top dining and included a carpet shop. We really enjoyed having tea while listening to the proprietor tell us about his buying trips into the mountain villages, each with their own style of carpet. Too bad we can’t remember which one made our small rug that is now a family heirloom.
Our host also gave us a lift to and from the Ephesus site and recommended this place for lunch.
The Ephesus site itself is very intriguing because it is so much more intact and detailed than your typical ancient Greek ruins—Knossos excepted.
One way to tell an ancient Greek ruin from an ancient Roman one is the plumbing.
The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was one of the most important structures in the Roman Empire. There’s little left here but signs to help you can imagine the size and power of the temple.
The Ephesus Archaeological Museum has an extensive collection of well preserved artifacts that help one imagine when Ephesus was a large and vibrant city. Plus it’s all in the shade.
There are numerous statues from the Temple of Artemis as well as other artifacts found there such as rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets and the inevitable pottery. Also on display are furniture and room décor from the luxury Terrace Houses that you see at the site.
As I wrote earlier Selçuk and environs have many interesting sites, many within walking distance. If you are lucky, you may experience a local festival such as the one this school band was preparing for.
Finally we returned to Paros by way of Kuşadası, Samos, and Patmos. A journey worth another post . . .
Also available as original podcasts by the author: https://rob-johnson.org.uk/podcasts/a-kilo-of-string/
For some of ParosParadise adventures and mis-adventures on the Greek island of Paros check out our newsletters 😃
Now adays you can’t get much bigger than making a film for Netflix and Kilkenny, Ireland studio Cartoon Saloon is doing just that. It has also been nominated for an Academy Award and received many awards for its productions. The studio co-founder and CEO, Paul Young, is also an award-winning illustrator and cartoonist.
Paul says he received his first income from drawing on the streets and beaches of Paros. Here is his story from an article by Sean Pollock:
It was on the tiny Greek island that he learned there was money in animation. “I started working selling sandwiches outside the front of nightclubs to make money,” he laughs.
“I soon learned that I could make far more sitting next to these two Ukrainian guys on the beach doing caricatures of tourists, while they were doing longer portraits.
“I found I was making more money than my mates by just selling one caricature, that wouldn’t take so long, direct to tourists.
“You could say I learned my first bit of business on the streets of Paros; it was the first time I really earned money from drawing anything.”
This reminded me of the crack down on street performances in Parikia years ago. It used to be such fun to stroll along the harbour front watching the jugglers, dancers and musicians. Then suddenly they were gone as the police were requiring a license. No longer was there much joy or excitement along restaurant row.
Thankfully, however, either the license edict was relaxed or the police found something else to emphasize because the performers are back, though in smaller numbers it seems. Most seem to move on to other islands after a few days while the portrait and caricature artists become regulars, perhaps looking to become the next big thing in the entertainment world.
Check out the animation at Cartoon Saloon