9.4.08

Athens (cont.)

After trudging back to Damareos and avoiding the metro, tram and bus system, I proceeded to subject myself to a significant amount of rainfall. This came after I arrived back in Athens having taken the metro from Pireaus to Syntgma.

Once I arrived at the Pagration Youth Hostel, I took notice of how wet my pants and feet were. This would not bear well considering the fact that our rooms don't even have heat, let alone an instrument for drying "stuff." So I did the best I could and hung my pants on the end of the bed. It was at this time I met two lads, American's to which I would be sharing the room with that night. They were from Oregon and Los Angeles respectively and were on a 4 week holiday from school, which translated to a backpacking trip across Europe.

That night I did the usual, got on the internet, although it was being a bother, ate a Gyro and took a nap. I would never have thought of wasting time in Athens but, as my clothes were soaked and it was a constant downpour, I thought it OK to take a break and rest. After climbing into bed about midnight, another roommate appeared this one much older, reiching of cigarettes and Ouzo. I did my best to control my gag reflex and attempted to go to sleep, which didn't take an attempt at all, because I was out like the light that I switched off after said roommate climbed into his bed.

Suddenly and without restraint I awoke and jumped up at about 3:30 a.m. and didn't know why. Sooner than later I found out what had awakened me, as I also realized that my two American comrades were awake as well. At the time I realized the cause for my pause in the REM state, I was disgusted beyond belief, as were my American friends. Ouzo man had taken it upon himself to enter into the loudest and most inconsistent snoring performance I have ever heard. Louder than one Justin Heredia and twice as loud as one Robert Snyder (Uncle Bob).

By this time, I soon discovered my disgust as well as the other American's disgust as they began pounding the walls. At this time I figured I wasn't going to go to sleep, so, I rose and headed to the lobby, computer in hand. As I plugged the cord of my computer into the European adapter and then power strip that dangled from the wall, I heard one of my roommates yell, "HEY!" trying to awaken Ouzo man or just shutter him enough to make him stop. It didn't work, obviously because they (Americans) began a display of noise that surely awoke the rest of Damareos (street). One got up and slammed the door to our room, continued pounding the walls while the other began picking up his bed and slamming it on the floor. I was in tears, I was laughing so hard by that time. For whatever reason, he stopped snoring finally and I crept back into the room and went to bed after utilizing the internet for about an hour.

When I awoke, ear plugs pushed deep into my head, I dressed quickly and discovered my pants and shoes to be no drier than when I hung them up 10 hours earlier. However, I headed out, said goodbye to the American's who looked as if they had been up all night for some reason and made my way to the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

After I walked around the perimeter of the temple, which is merely 16 columns left of an original 140, with no roof and plenty of empty space, I headed toward the Roman Forum/ Acropolis. On the way toward the Acropolis I bought a postcard, stamps and wrote some corny stuff on the card that I will surely beat home. I took a dirt path once, I circled the entire Acropolis and found my self in the Plaka and then at the Roman forum. It was more remains, though intense considering the fact they had been sitting there since Emperor Augustus moved the forum from the Agora to this piece of land in 150 B.C. or something.

After walking around the area, I picked up a rock and headed to find something to eat, which translated into: Gyro stand. After eating a Gyro for the 4234840349th time I walked down toward some markets, I had read about and found that like at part of the Portobello road market, people just throw junk on the ground and stand by it. For example: old Nokia cell phones, trumpets, underwear, beach balls, curtain rods, driving manuals, porno tapes, etc. Once I realized that this is all there was I turned back and headed toward Plateia Omonia, a square close to the central market.

After hiking up the road, which I've found is a common occurrence in Athens; always climbing, never going downhill unless it’s raining which causes a person to slip on the marble sidewalk, which I've done, twice. I made it to Plateia Omonia, bought an ice cream cone and basked in the 70 degree sun for about an hour. I noted at this time that I was a minority in this square along with the whole of Athens. Nothing but brown skinned Greeks and middle easterners around enjoying the sun the same way I was. However, it does do a lesson on how minorities feel in the USA and has taught me a bit more than I ever could get at home. I think everyone should experience what I did at Plateia Omonia someday; it would go a long way to help the outlook of so many Americans who looked at minorities as bothers.

But, after I arose I made my way down Athinas street heading toward the Central Market, having added to my tan or rather burn. The central market was non-operational however, as it was Sunday I didn't think about that. But, I trudged on with the Acropolis in my sights and one more trip up the ancient hill in my ambitions.

I spent another hour at the Acropolis, attempting to get the nerves to ask someone to take my picture for me. After I succeeded the sun was pouring down, making me sweat and making me realize once again that I was in GREECE! How incredible!

Making my way down I headed toward the National Gardens, bought a drink and then headed through the green expanse prior to going to Sytgma and listening to a free concert, where I didn't understand the lyrics. At this time I took notes of my day, giving reason to the amount of text in this post. I sat for a while in the shade, giving my pasty white complexion a break before I headed toward Fillopapaus Hill, supposedly the hill offering the best view in all of Athens.

Once I wandered past the Acropolis and then up the hill I soon found out that the assessment of the hill was correct. There was free range on the top, allowing anyone the ability to walk anywhere without any real danger while offering some of the best views of a metro area in the entire world. Now, that is an editorial comment but if you were there, there would be no way that you could disagree unless you are severely biased for one reason or another.

I did the camera switch and then walked around until I found a spot where I camped out until the sunset.

As the sun set behind the mountain to the west right by the sea, I thought of how lucky I was to be there and that once again this was the view of a lifetime. As the sun fell slowly down behind the mountain I sat up, cold as the wind was picking up and headed back up the hill a bit, which I had descended slightly to get away from the other people that crowded the top of it for the same site. I headed for the opposite side of the rock, which offered the best view of the acropolis and there I sat and waited for the time to come when it would be illuminated. I took notes while I was waiting and then mid sentence I looked up as it was getting very dark and the entirety of the Acropolis stood illuminated. It was as if it was a dream. A postcard view for me alone with no one around. I sat for a while did the camera switch and then descended keeping my eyes transfixed on the site as I descended.

After having reached the base of the hill I headed back to Damareos, about a 30 minute walk, or 10 minute metro ride. I vowed for the walk, as I always do and arrived just in time as I my stomach began to rumble. And, I guess you know what followed. Yes, for the final time I attended the Kebab/Gyro shop, where the guy knew my face by then and knew my order, wishing a "Good Nat," as I left. I ate and headed back to the hostel, experiences in mind and heart and Gyro in hand.

2 Comments:

Anonymous said...

It all probably seems like a dream now that you are home...I'm glad your trip was everything you wanted it to be...I've enjoyed your blogs and am sad that they are now over...at least for anything I would be interested in...the Reds just don't do it for me..ha ha Heatheroo

Gillian said...

Wait.... YOU PICKED UP A ROCK?! I was told to not even tie my shoes suspiciously, so congratulations on not being arrested...?

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