Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tuesday

Yesterday was a full day. I started the day with Ilyana, the wife of Jason's colleague, Cesar. She and I went to the Square in Plaka to see the International Gardens, which is a park very similar to Central Park in N.Y. We saw the changing of the guards afterwards which is a very elaborate 5 minutes. These poor men have to wear tights and I'm sure it gets very warm in the summertime. We then decided to see the President's house and the Parliament House. So after much walking in the wrong direction and retracing our steps, we found them both. There were reporters and cameras all over the street. They were waiting to talk to the Prime Minister for the evening news. We never saw anything happen so we went back to our sight seeing.


We decided to hit a totally different area of Athens by heading for the water. We rode the subway until the end of the line which put us in Piraeus. This area had HUGE ferries and cruiseliners parked in the water. The water was a beautiful deep blue, just what you would expect of the Aegean. We ate a very nice lunch near the water and in the 45 minutes we were there, we were approached at least 10 times by salesmen. They were selling stupid stuff, illegal DVD copies, worry beads, watches, jewelry, whatever they could carry. It was very annoying. These people are typically immigrants with a very low paying job so I feel badly for them but I didn't want any of that junk and just wanted a quiet lunch. The dog who was begging for food at our feet was far less annoying and definitely more genuine.

Speaking of dogs, there are wild dogs everywhere in this city. I've seen many cats as well but the dogs are a spectacle. They are at every major tourist area and are usually in packs. On one street corner near the Temple of Zeus, they wait by the bus stop and when people zoom by on motorcycles, they chase them and bark. It scares the motorcyclists but I thought it was funny. The dogs are pretty dirty and they fight a little but for the most part, they seemed harmless. There is very little animal control here.



After the trip to the Port, we went back to the hotel to meet with the worker bees for an outing. We went on a scavenger hunt with them in downtown Plaka (like Soho, in NY). It was crazy and we kept getting turned around and had a hard time finding answers but it was fun. A few of the checkpoints had fun activities for us, like bowling and an olive pit spitting contest. Our group spent alot of time trying to answer the obligatory sheet of riddles. For instance How do you lift an elephant with one hand?? We finally got the answer after hours of creative thinking. If you know the answer, then please post it. Also, Why didn't Noah go fishing? I don't think we got that one right so post away please.

We had a small cash allowance and directions to purchase small trinkets and souvenirs. Like we had to buy something that the Greeks use to ward off evil; something made from the olive tree; something uniquely Greek etc. That was fun and you get extra points for originality.

The night got really interesting when we went turned in our packets, souvenirs and answers at the restaurant we were to use as our final checkpoint. We sat down to tables full of hummus, tzaiki, bread and open bottles of red and white wine. So we drank and waited for everyone to arrive. They served lamb stew to the carnivores and the herbivores got spaghetti. Mine was pretty bad so I focused on enjoying the wonderful red wine. :)

A dancing troupe came out and performed traditional Greek dances in the old style clothing. It was so entertaining! They did many numbers and the men were particularly impressive. Next came out a belly dancer. Her skirt was so low that all I could think about is how it seemed inevitable that it would fall off. It didn't and she was very good. She pulled up many of the guys on the stage to give them a brief lesson in belly dancing. That was so funny. Jason was one of them and he was really cutting a rug. We laughed and laughed.

During the live band's break, a few of the guys from Jason's company got onstage and played a few songs. Jason got a chance to play drums which impressed everyone in the room. Many people asked me how long has he been playing because they thought he was so good. The owner of the restaurant wanted to know if he was a professional musician!! Very cool. My husband, the rocker.

The las hour of the evening was spent emptying a HUGE bottle of ouzo. There were many, many happy drunks in the room. Yours truly included. Many of the guys got onstage to dance. They did their impression of the traditional Greek Dances which was hilarious. Napkins were thrown in the air, people were carried onstage and the laughing was constant. It was a wonderful night!

3 Comments:

Blogger Memere Kitty said...

How do you raise an elephant with one hand? Why silly girl! You'll never find an elephant with one hand!

5:42 PM  
Blogger Memere Kitty said...

Why didn't Noah go fishing? He only had TWO worms!!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Memere Kitty said...

Jason belly dancing looks like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction!

5:46 PM  

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