Hello from the home of Aristotle and Plato ... I think. I am sitting in the partial darkness typing on a keyboard without letters. Pretty damn good if you ask me.
I came to spend a few days with my mother and my sister. After a week with my mother, my sister needs a break so I guess you could call it a bit of a rescue mission. My mother has spent many years traveling with my father and they had their own travel groove. Since he is gone, my sister has graciously picked up the travel gauntlet because she travels so much. Of course, she is the only adult professional schlepping around the world with her mother in tow. My mother is now friends with film people all around the globe. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but when I think about it, it gives me the willies. I think my father is having a good laugh at all of this from his lofty, removed position.
Since it is dark and I am guessing about which key is which, I will just write a few observations about Athens.
- The shopping streets are so much like those in London that I had to do a double-take. While this is very sad on one hand because Greece seems to be losing some of its Greekness, on the other hand, I was able to pick up some Marks and Spencer undies without flying to London.
- There are a lot of overweight Greek women which I find strange considering that the Greek Middle Eastern diet is considered the ultimate in healthy eating. This is the home of feta cheese and tomatoes in olive oil. How many calories can you rack up from that sort of eating? I guess that there is also the baqlava so maybe that is the key to the weight issue. Oh, and then there is the gelato. Okay, the whole picture is coming together for me now.
- While Israel is certainly a living museum, so is Greece. The Acropolis is remarkable and once you learn the history, it is even more so. What I find hardest to adjust to is that there is no religion behind it -- or very little. Just a lot of people in togas who must have spent days on end, pondering. I have come to the realization that it is much more interesting to live in a country with a lot of history rather than Canada and it's New World "Wow, that church was built in 1878".
- The people are very nice and I should know because I got lost trying to find the hotel. I decided to take a bus from the airport since I had no real bags so to speak and I arrived so many hours ahead of my sister and mother. The bus driver was great and so were the 20 other people who had to guide me in the most circuitous route to my hotel. The funny thing was that once I figured out where I was, I could have made it to the hotel in about five minutes after I got off the bus. But I would have missed out on some nice people, including The Man Who Knows Everything (he's a guy that owns a kiosk near the Acropolis, in the Plaka, who runs an ad hoc info centre) and he really does seem to know everything of importance to a lost person.
- The food is out of this world. At least the fish and the veggies are. I could stay here for three weeks just eating my way through the city. Actually the thought is making me hungry so I am off in search of yet another meal.
Good bye from Greece.