Archive for October, 2009

Kenna is saved again and again

10-01 continued

On the way to Vasilis’s apartment I met his friends and they’re nice folks! Once there I packed all my stuff and Vasilis walked me to the port and my ferry. Poor thing, he carried my heavy bag, but he refused to let me switch. Chivalry = stubborn but cute. We hugged goodbye and I went onto the ferry, completely on my own for the first time in a while. But one of the last things Vasilis said to me was not to be afraid, so I wasn’t. Much. Nervous is a better word. I was having separation anxiety from my bag as well. People in steerage, er deck passage, have to leave their large bags below. So I just had my backpack and sleeping bag with me. I found the lounge and started nesting: I laid out my sleeping bag and arranged my stuff around me. I found things to occupy me until I thought I ould sleep then I laid down. Immediately a lady said I couldn’t do that. After a couple more sneaky, different approaches (lean back and close eyes, put legs in a chair…) a man told me if I wanted to sleep I should go to the exits upstairs. Well if you’d said that first thing…! I found an exit with a married couple and bedded down in my own space. If you’re ever in a similar situation, know that a sleeping bag, eye mask, pillow and iPod are essential. Especially if some boys enjoy running through the halls just to wake people up. Anywho, I woke up at 5 to use the internet and guess who I ran into on the way there? George, one of Vasilly’s friends! I’d been warned that I might see him, and talking to him (even though his English was limited) made me feel less alone. Try to explain ‘humid’ to a non English speaker some time and see if you get anywhere. “Water in the air” doesn’t cut it. I got online then got to the ground floor (ground floor is over the ground, so this is the water floor?) and collected my bags. Yay, they’re not stolen! Around 6:15 the big gate opened and I walked into a dark Athens. Umm, which way to the metro please? I started walking and lo and behold, there’s George! He showed me to the station and I thanked him again. He went in while I bought a day ticket. Then, umm, which bus to Syntagma Square? George to the rescue! He looked at my map and said we were going the same way for a while. Thank God! I mean, I COULD have figured it out… Turns out just one bus (train, actually) goes to the Pyraeus station. George and I switched lines then my stop came first. I thanked him for all of his help and told him to come visit MS (he’s never left Greece!) then I tried to exit. Unfortunately, nobody getting ON had any manners and I was too polite to shove my way out, so I stood there while new people flooded the cabin. George had to push me to make me rudely force my way through the crowd. I think George is the only Athenian I like…

Up until now, the Gods had been smiling on me. Then I was left alone with sketchy directions to a hostel and all of my luggage. Let’s just say that eventually I found the trolly stop, got on, got off, and got to the hostel. I stashed my stuff, gathered my wits and set out again! I tried to go back to Syntagma Square but missed the stop. Heh, woops! It’s been my only ‘mistake’ all day. I just got to the end and hopped on the next trolley going back. The only downside was I felt my lack of sleep and was having a hard time staying awake. At Syntagma Square I hopped off, drank an energy drink on an empty stomach (ok, second mistake) and navigated myself to the Numismatic Museum. Dork that I am, I spent over two hours looking at coins… >.< Coins are really interesting until people start insisting they want their face on them instead of pretty things like owls and horses. I enjoyed it even though I was jittery. After this I went back to the hostel to check in. The lady (didn’t catch her name but she’s from Kentucky) showed me my bed, the kitchen and bathroom. You have to pay for hot water. -.- Boooo! I had leftovers for lunch and my hands stopped shaking. Then a shower and off yet again! I navigated the metro (note: this is the first stime I used my day ticket – I inadvertently got a train, 2 metros, and 5 bus rides free!) to the Agora and eventually found that. The Greeks don’t mark their ruins well enough. And my camera died after the first picture. Gah! Oh well, that meant I had to appreciate the views more. Now I’m sitting overlooking the Acropolis and listening to jazzy street music. I looked down at my legs and brushed off Ancient Agora dust. The sun is going down and I smell Greek dinner. Life is good.

Later: There is an election on Sunday and Athens is pretty crowded. The trolley that runs all the time all day just stopped because there is a big rally in Syntagma Square. Luckily, I asked a lady with her adult daughter (who I’d figured were waiting for the same trolley) where she was going and we got on a bus and she helped me get to the right street. All is well! McKenna is wiley, and, failing that, she asks a nice person where to go. 🙂


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Short post (for once)

9-30 continued

Vasilis met us at the bus stop and we walked to his flat. On the way, Tanja tickled me and I responded with a well-known threat: you may not wake up in the morning. Then realizing that my meaning may get lost in translation I clarified: means I may kill you. Tanja, adorable Swisster that she is, says, “Oh! I thought you would steal my alarm clock.” Lol! Perhaps that’s a yhtbt but I laughed for blocks…

We got to Vasilis’ apartment and before going in he says, “I do not have a lift.” “What floor are you on?” says I. “The… third,” says he. Gah! I nearly died going up 3 flights of stairs with my bags, not because it was hard but because his stairs genuinely tried to take my life. I lost my flip flop and nearly fell trying to get it back on, (Vasilis: I forgot you are clumsy!) the turns were too sharp and I rammed my shoulder into the wall constantly, and I tripped over the threshold. Yes, Vasilly, I am clumsy! We had cereal for dinner, good company, real showers, English tv with Greek subtitles, electricity and best of all we didn’t sleep on the ground. Life is good!


Tanja left at 7:30. I hope she makes it home ok. Vasilis and I went back to sleep then I got up and finished laundry, organized my things and waited for the sleepy student to wake up. Today Vasilis is 18 and all he has is me to celebrate with. He treated me to fondue at a cafe and it was fantastic! We had a wonderful time talking. Apparently friends from uni (he’s only been there a week) kidnapped him from midnight to 6 in order to celebrate, and I had no idea! No wonder he slept so late. Anyway we walked to the Venetian Port together then he went for coffee with friends while I went to the Heraklion Archeological Museum. I listened to a tour guide and took a lot of pictures – Minoans were impressive! I take the ferry tonight at 9 to Pyraeus. Until then!

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