Well, I am entering my 3rd week in Athens and I am learning how to operate in this city! Not an easy place, but beautiful in many ways. As I said everyone smokes and has a dog, they love to scream about anything; but I have found a way to handle that, I put my hand up and say STOP in a stern voice and they stop! It Could be a taxi, bus driver or a shop keeper (part of culture).
The traffic is chaos and there is never any warning about road closures, (yesterday I was meeting a friend to go to the beach), I had to walk 50 minutes because everything was stopped, buses, trolleys and taxis to get there! For 6 hours, they were having a marathon!
The center of the city is my reference point and I will have a chat with the doorman and or Concierge of a 5 star hotel and he will always give me good advice and the truth, or the Canadian Embassy!
The flat has settled down and is not perfect but livable and I am working around issues. The main problem for me is that the flat is full of the owners stuff! I enjoy the food but have eaten so many Greek salads, I may never eat tomatoes again! (But they are very sweet here).
I should also say on most days, you see police in riot gear, big navy blue police buses and some roads blocked off. But if you are on foot, it is okay to walk through barriers??
So on to my activities,
May Day, major demonstration in the center of the city. All kinds of speakers against President Obama, people against Russia, the Ukraine, you name it and someone was trying to speak, but all very peaceful! I again was trying to get somewhere, thank goodness my legs still work.
I have met neat people as usual! I spent a day with friend Susan and 2Fullbright students from the US, they taught me a lot about relationships today, boy oh boy. They still believe in the white picket fence life but understand it is impossible, because everyone is out for themselves and caring for another person is rare.
Spent a day hiking on a mountain with a wonderful picnic, champagne, with strawberries and wine (now, that’s a picnic). Took a tour of 3 islands near Athens, Hydra (no cars, donkey’s take your groceries home), Poros and Aegina. Now about 25 years ago I was on the same trip with friends from Canada and ended up playing Chess with an older gentlemen on land near the ship, who kept giving me Ouzo and I had to be carried back on ship!!!
The National Museum of Archaeology, an excellent Museum and what was so impressive was that none of the priceless items were surrounded in glass.But there were lots of guards around to keep everything safe.
I am also spending time at the BK Centre, Anthony Strano is based here and one of the best Spiritual Teachers I have ever heard. I enjoy his classes and view of the world, plus our chats. Anthony has also written a number of books. Last evening I was invited to the British Institute to hear a lecture about archaeology sites in Macedonia, discovered a whole community of culture built around countries, academia, and archaeology (makes sense , this is Athens)!
Last note the unemployment rate is very high. Salaries have been cut usually by a third and many people have lost jobs, no welfare safety net here. If families don’t help, they end up on the street!!! Canadian’s on the whole are very fortunate! and yes , I am still enjoying my nomadic adventure!!