I’m in Greece. First, let me say I wish I’d pledged a sorority while at Stanford. At least, back in my mother’s day, the sisters had to memorize the Greek alphabet, and any sort of clue would be helpful at this moment. I didn’t learn anything about the language or the country before coming here (as I was graduating/looking for jobs/moving out of the dorms for the last two weeks).
Over the next several days, I’ll be going from Athens to Istanbul and seeing the islands of the Mediterranean/Aegean along the way. So far, this seems like a (way too) good way to recover from a Stanford education, and for those other currently-unemployed recent graduates who have a mother willing to take them, I highly recommend it.
For the past day I have been 1) in Athens and 2) without luggage. Supposedly the bags are coming soon, but as I write this, I’m still in the hotel robe.
I wore the hotel robe like a toga around Athens today. I put an olive wreath around my head to go with the daily theme—“Greek.”
You must know I’m kidding because, of course, it’s over 100 degrees here and too hot for the robe. I just wore the wreath.
Two days ago when I left Texas, I dressed for a cold airplane (pants, winter sweater, warm loafers). I did not dress for a country in the middle of a heat wave. In fact, I didn’t even wear proper foundation garments because, hey, I was sleeping on a plane. That’s its own story.
My afore-mentioned mother and I each bought a clean shirt and some flip-flops and hit the town this morning. By town, I mean the Acropolis, which is home to the Parthenon but apparently (according to our guide), that’s just there to show off, and the real hullabaloo is the other temples on top of the hill (the ones you mostly can’t see anymore).
The scaffolding (see picture) is from the project trying to figure out how to protect ancient ruins from sudden and permanent destruction in the modern world. The guide said that pollution has done more damage in five years than natural disasters did in a few thousand years (maybe an exaggeration…I don’t get sarcasm, either, in other languages…darn, I bet it’s not really going to snow tomorrow). Scientists have taken out some of the original marble to figure out how to protect it.
In general, I’m not sure I quite understood everything the guide said. Well, when she yelled at a big French family for being rowdy in the museum, I understood the response she got. In fact, I’ve spent the last two days wishing everyone around me could switch from Greek to French. I finally figured out how to say “thank you” but think I’m probably pronouncing it wrong. Dommage.
On the whole, and not to make any gross generalizations, people in Athens aren’t that friendly. I’m hoping the rest of Greece is to Athens like the rest of France is to Paris—friendlier, that is. Analogies: I’ve decided to blog and prepare for the GRE’s concurrently. I’ll start throwing in some vocab for anyone else gearing up out there. What a palaver!
Final thought—I had baklava today. My first that wasn’t from Olive’s. I really like Olive’s baklava, but this was also excellent and with ten times more honey on it. They gave me a fork and knife for it. It was an event. I wish I’d taken a picture. The honey on top was so dark it looked like a pool of chocolate in the shape of a dried fig (but was neither).
Tomorrow, we’re going to the Archaeological Museum. The tour guide kept saying the Ecological Museum, but my afore-mentioned mother assures me that the guide meant Archaeological. I’m still holding out for Architectural.