For all the hoo-hah about the European Union and it’s red-tape and bureaucracy, once you get there things are delightfully shambolic and no one seems to care about the law. (I’m not considering rapes and murders here people, just the small stuff)
I love it.
It’s against the rules, they say, shrugging casually, so we don’t have ashtrays any more.
That’s the concession.
Unlike the British, who the VERY FUCKING SECOND the smoking ban law came into place were rigidly enforcing it, like the goody-two shoes uptight nannying snitching tattle-tales they are.
Athens, looked remarkably like parts of Bombay. Eerily so in places, if you just imagined the hoardings in Hindi & English instead of Greek & English. These were the areas that had a lot of rapid growth, so lots of those standard blocks of residential buildings.
They had the same worn down, dusty, water-damaged 3rd world vibe of that sense of a city slowly decaying. Similarly built, tasteless concrete blocks of apartments with the backs of air cons and fans sticking out, and worn balconies with the occasional laundry hanging.
The central part of Athens, with the more regal older buildings retained the dusty shambolicness, reminding me of those old Bombay government buildings in town that perhaps used to be grand but over time the shoddiness of various failed governments have rubbed off on it. Not that this isn’t charming in its own way.
Or maybe that’s just my nostalgia talking.
The one big difference was the abundance of plants and trees on balconies and rooftops. Not just laid out in a neat rim, tepidly, but positively bursting out through the grills and flat roofs, like rooftop jungles. A trend Bombay could really use.
We spent 2.5 days in Athens and were shameless, utterly shameless, tourists. We were only there 2 days and just did the whole Acropolis thing. It seemed mandatory. Even in a 32 degree heat wave.
It was so hot that irritation levels soared almost immediately, the ex and I were alternatively sweating buckets and/or squabbling while deriding Hadrian’s arch. (It’s by the side of the road and looks kind of lame.)
We also, mistakenly bought tickets for those hop-on hop-off busses.
The purpose of which, at least in Athens, is lost on me. Everything is in walking distance, largely around the Acropolis, the hop-on busses only come every half hour, and for unexplainable reasons you had to change to another bus at stop 4. (which also took half and hour) They also had extended periods of stopping for no particular reason. Bus driver smoke break I imagine.
We did managed to hit most of the old junk.
Temple of Zeus,
Temple of Dionysus
The Ancient Agora
All tourists have these photos but I don’t care.
I’m posting anyway.
There is a part of me that loves the charm of ruins, (the Ancient Agora was particularly charming that way) on the other hand I really want them to just tidy it all up.
Come on – get a broom, couple of cranes, get some new stone blocks. Put it all back together. Just fix the damn thing. Organise a little. Tidy tidy tidy.
Some of the cafes around the Acropolis museum had these large glass floors – so you could see parts of ancient Athenian excavations right under your feet. The one right under the Acropolis museum was apparently a bath, with remains of an old mosaic showing through.
I thought of Anokhi, and how she would disapprove of our holiday.
I like to imagine her holidays like Bacardi adverts,
Everyone just hipstering around on local trains, wearing cool trendy hipster clothes and chunky ‘ethnic’ jewellery made by one-armed blind women in African villages, (organic, fair-trade, hand-made items only please)
They never wear the same clothes twice in any shot (because they magically have bottomless trunks and unlimited baggage allowances to lug all this shit around.)
Drinking and laughing, and the locals are all laughing also, because that’s just what happens in a Bacardi advert, unlike real life, where most locals at best can’t be bothered and at worst hate the Bacardi drinking backpacking hipsters.
Cut to shots of people, with at least one non white person (to seem inclusive) who are ‘quirky’, yet all still traditionally attractive, all with gleaming white teeth.
More drinking Bacardi.
Another clip of a local bus that is grungy but oh so cool and colourful,
because hipsters love that shit.
Then a twilight blue night-time shot of fairy lights outside a tent near the woods and more shots of beautiful air brushed hipsters laughing
More white, white teeth.
All in a 30 second clip with a tag line like “Love Life, Drink Bacardi” or “Discover your Dreams” or something vom-worthy like that,
Where everyone looks amazing and everything is amazing.
Because all holidays should be like that. That’s the projected ideal we all have to live up to.
We didn’t have any Bacardi.
I did have 2 iced milky coffees at the Museum of Archeology.
It sounds tame. I know.
(The ex suggested the Museum of Archeology. In fact, insisted. Who knew? The ex usually hates museums. Maybe the subscription to National Geographic is paying off. Although the Museum was air-conditioned and that played a large part in us visiting it. )
I subsequently learned some valuable things about Greek coffee:
- Their concept of ‘sweet’ puts my borderline diabetic sugar consumption well into the shade.
- They are delicious. Deceptively delicious. I had 2, one after the other like a glutton.
- Gluttony is one of the sins for good reason. NEVER HAVE TWO!!
- NEVER! I couldn’t sleep half the night. Literally. I was up till 4 and then woke up again at 6. It didn’t even register that this was because of the coffee. I thought maybe the bed was uncomfortable or that it was too hot.
They should fucking stick tossing and turning, on a hot bed, with caffeine coursing through your veins in the stupid Bacardi advert.
The next day I was drinking another very large iced coffee (I’m slow on the uptake) and I happened to ask the waitress how much coffee was in it.
Slightly confused, she said – a lot?
Would I be able to sleep that night?
She said yes, if I sleep maybe at midnight.
I told her I had 2 and couldn’t sleep the night before – She and the bartender laughed.
So I drank only half my iced coffee.
Happy to report I slept like a log.
Museum of Archeology
Cultural Crotch Shots
I spent all afternoon at the Museum taking crotch shots. I’m very cultural that way.