This was the coolest and the scariest part of the new museum. We were walking on a very heavy glass floor that had black dots all over it. We could look down below at archaelogical excavations under the museum. This is fascinating floor was a little daunting to Laurie. We think the black dots were sprinkled on the floor to let us know that glass was actually there.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Jesse, you would have enjoyed attending the concert I just came from. It was sponsored through the Cultural Arts Office and was a group of 20 plus string players from Kronberg, Germany, a town of 20,000. It was similar to a civic orchestra in the US. The performers ranged in ages from 25 to 70. Most seemed to be at least 50. The performance was for the high school and jr. high students that are associated with the ACG. (They are separate schools that are affiliated with the ACG. We all share the swimming pool, soccer field, and parking lot.) Most of the orchestra members only spoke German and the audience mostly spoke Greek. I noticed a big difference between Greek women and the Germans. The Germans dressed much more casually, wore little or no makeup, and had a minimal amount of jewelry on. Seems like 90 percent of Greek women have dark hair. Suddenly I was watching mostly dirty brown or gray haired people. The Germans had very simple, yet attractive haircuts. These are all just observations that struck me as I sat, watching the performance. Debbie arrives tomorrow. I went downtown this am and purchased tour tickets to Sounion for Monday afternoon and Mycenae, Epidarious, Nafplio, and the Corinth Canal for all day Thursday. Expect to see plenty of photos next week.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Spent most of the day helping design and put up two bulletin boards for Ted that had to do with the Sports Festival. Cut and tape stuff. Reminded me of all the posters we tape up for March Madness at NPS. Speaking of March Madness, there is hardly any mention of it on CNN Worldwide. I`ll bet there are some of you who are in a frenzy about now. (Matt and Dallin) Had the missionaries over for dinner, our usual Wednesday evening entertainment. Every week their meals get more bizarre. Last night it was a toasted pita bread with garlicy spinach heaped on top, parmesan cheese melted on that and tzaki blobbed on top. ( I invented this dish) Also had artichokes, which neither one of the boys had ever eaten.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Last night we went to some friends house about 10 minutes away by bus. When the activity ended at 9:30 pm we walked to the bus stop and waited and waited. At about 9:50 someone told us that a tree had fallen on our route and the bus would not be coming. So we began walking home, in the dark on the uneven sidewalks. It was actually pretty well lit and lots of people were also out tromping home. We arrived home at 10:25 and went right to bed. We passed the fallen tree and the crew cleaning up the mess.
Ted and I thought there was a parade in our part of town. Turns out the parade was in downtown Athens at Syntagma Square. We were advised that public busses were running on a holiday schedule and that there would be hundreds of thousands of people down there. We stayed home. No stores are open. It is a quiet day. Very windy.
Ted had a gorgeous flower sitting on the coffee table the day I arrived. I thought the pink plastic looking thing in the middle was something the florist had stuck in the pot. No, it was the flower. Note tiny purple looking things clinging to the sides of the pink flower. Those were flowers, too or part of the bigger flower! We have no idea what the plant is... do you, Jesse?
I put the bag next to the stove top to give you an idea of what a bargain I really got. Don't get too jealous. Food at grocery stores is very high priced. Boxes of fruit juice (quart sized) are reasonably priced as is yogurt. But meat is ridiculous and most other items are high. I looked for a jar of natural crunchy peanut butter. There was only one size jar of peanut butter and it was smooth and highly processed. Lots of nutella (sp?) items, though.
Pictures taken at the street market right outside my apartment building. The farmers and vendors begin unloading and setting up at 4:30 am. Shoppers begin arriving at 8 am. Both men and women shop, mostly older people. I guess the younger ones are at work. Ninety percent of the shoppers walk, dragging foldable carts that they fill with produce. The woman selling honey spoke English. Her husband was Austrailian and she had lived there for a while. The rest of the vendors do not speak English. This past Monday I also bought 2 dishtowels and a black synthetic skirt with an elastic waistband. (So I can look more Greek!) It goes well with your black vest, Jeanne.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The three day Sports Festival is over. It was very hectic at times, but the kids were enthusiastic, polite, and appreciative of everything. I had the opportunity to speak to the woman's athletic director from the American University of Sharjah in Dubai on two occassions. It was great to hear so many languages being spoken, and everyone getting along so well. After the awards ceremony everyone went to another gym where they were fed and watched the girls from the ACG near eastern dance class perform. They had chains of shimmering coins hung on their hips and when they shook they coins danced. Their dances included a lot of hip movements, scarf waving and smiles. The crowd of athletes loved it. Then the teacher of the class performed. She obviously enjoyed being in the limelight. At the end, some boys from Cairo got up and danced one on one with the performers, to the delight of everyone else. It was a great way to end three days of competitions. When the crowd had dispersed, I found myself sitting at a table with all the people Ted works with. They are a great group of hard working professionals. Ted and I walked home at 9:15, exhausted. Tomorrow is Street Market Day, Yeah.
Saturday morning I went to Athens by myself to meet a friend who I have know for 13 years from school. It was great to see her and she helped me out by loaning me a black vest. Now I look a bit more Greek, dressed in darker colors. My hair is a dead giveaway that I am not a native. Very few Greek women are blond. Thanks, Jeanne for the cheese pie and for loaning me the vest. I wore it to the awards ceremony and to church the next day.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Swim meet was fun, but like none I have ever attended. Most events were held in heavy rain with no overhead protection. As a result, papers were wet and pencils and pens did not write well. Then the microphone stopped working and we could not use the computer to enter results. Some swimmers had never swam in a meet, while others were quite fast. Kids and coaches were most gracious and thanked us repeatedly after the rain soaked event was over. Luckily I did not get soaked thru my underwear, only the outer wear. Both Ted and I are relieved that the event is over.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
At 4:30 am I heard the unfamiliar sound of the garbage truck lifting the dumpster overhead, then shaking the trash out. Since the plastic bags were oveflowing in the street I also heard shovels or rakes scraping the concrete as they cleaned up. It is a slow process to get caught up after 10 days of no pick-ups.
Spent a large part of yesterday helping on the food line, while 600 students came thru to get their lunch. Schools I had never heard of before. Lebanese American College - Beirut, American College- Cairo, American College - Thessolaniki, University of Balamand, and a few more. For three days the athletes are competing in a series of tournaments, including basketball, table tennis, swimming, tennis, volleyball and the big one, soccer. Activity everywhere. I ended up speaking to a girl who goes to school in Cairo who is from Washington DC. Many of the swim coaches are Americans who are working like Ted. In fact the athletic director at the Cairo school was at Emory while Ted was at Georgia State and they had friends in common.
Today I am dressed in my officiating uniform and will serve as the Clerk of the Course for the swim meet. That should be interesting. Ted is the announcer, the starter, and the stroke and turn judge. Once the swim event ends then he will assist at some other venue. My understanding is that they do not need any more food servers today! Luckily there are only a total of 34 swimmers in the meet. Of course, each one can swim in 3 events. The meet should take 3 hours.
Every Wednesday night from 7:00 - 9:00, for the past two weeks, we´ve had Elder Okazaki(from Nevada) and Elder Strobot (can`t remember where he`s from) over for dinner. Once dinner is complete we clear the dishes and Ted gets private Greek lessons, tutoring for his class. They told us last night that they were the envy of the mission, because they actually had a dinner appointment with a member. Elder Strobot said that he has been out a year and has had dinner at a member´s house a total of 5 times, before our weekly invitation. Neither one of them had had cooked beet greens before last night. One had two helpings, the other took one bite.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Spent all day yesterday helping in Ted`s office, typing, folding, proofreading.... getting ready for the Sports Festival. A side benefit was that I got to eat lunch in the faculty cafeteria. Workers at the school buy 100 lunch tickets for about $5.00. We had a Greek dish with 3 chunks of beef, and lots of tiny onions in tomatoe juice, a roll, and a green salad with onions and dill. Oranges were available, too. Simple fare, but it was good.
I have just changed a setting on the blog, so that times and dates are correct on postings. It was a bit frustrating to know that I was writing on a Wednesday, but because of the 7 hour time difference, it showed up as a posting on Tuesday.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
After initial greetings by the taverna owner in Nafplio, where we ate, he initiated an interesting conversation:
"So," he began, "Who will you vote for, Clinton or Obama?"
"Obama," I said. Ted just smiled. (You have to pry who he votes for out of him.)
"Why you vote for him?" he asked.
"He gives me hope," I said. "He represents change."
"Yes," he said. "Good change. Perhaps he helps the whole world."
People all over the world are interested and watching the race. Sitting in that simple taverna, hundreds of years old, so far from the US, I was a bit surprised that this mustachioed man hoped for change, too.
Altho the trash has not been picked up for 9 days and is creating overflowing colorful piles of plastic bags, there are no rats or gnawings by such creatures. Greece has no flies at this time of year, so that is not a problem, either. Dogs do sometimes get into bags. Then it is strewn about. We cannot get a local TV channel, only an internation CNN channel, so we have no idea when things will return to normal. Ted has a co-worker who rides public transportation to work. Normally it takes her one hour to get here. Yesterday it took three hours each way... and she only works five hours a day!! Last night the electricity was off for two hours again. Luckily I had just finished cooking dinner. The airport is on strike today for three hours, too!! Already one team that is supposed to attend the Sports Festival at ACG has cancelled, due to the unrest. I am coming to appreciate the things we take for granted in the US.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Everywhere we go there is a Constitution Square. This one was surrounded by colorful buildings, some from the Venetian Era. It was a beautiful day, with blue sky, sunlight, people sitting sipping coffee, and kids chasing each other. I could have sat in the square for longer, but there was a lot to see in our short visit.
Ted and I had a long, but fun day on Saturrday. Out the door at 8 am to catch local bus, which took us to the Metro. After a transfer a, and a short walk to bus 51 we were on our way to Bus Terminal B, about a 10 minute ride through downtown Athens. The Terminal houses regional buses. They go to the farthest corners of Greece on a daily basis. The bathroom was the worst, but there were no stops on the 2 hour ride to Nafplio... so I walked past a woman who handed me a wad of toilet paper. The toilet was a hole in the floor. Squat and pee. What do I expect at a big dirty bus terminal? The bus ride began at 10:30 am and took us thru Athens, then out in the country. It was very peaceful to look out on vineyards, clementine trees, and olive trees after the hectic atmosphere in the big city. The best part of the trip was when we left the highway and descended down thru Argos on our way to Nafplio. Argos has a big castle or fortress on a hill that was visible from the bus. It is amazing to me how the bus winds itself in and out of the narrow streets.
Nafplio is in the Peloponnesse. Get out your maps. It is a seaside town, that has had inhabitants from prehistoric times. Luckily, much of the old town is preserved. It was charming, colorful, happy and peaceful. I can see why it is a popular place for Athenians to drive to on the weekends. We were there for 4 hours. I will post and label pictures from our trip. We were home by 8:30 pm after returning by various public forms of transportation. Debbie, I'll be a pro by the time you arrive!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Today everyone in Greece named Theodore celebrates their Name Day. It is a bigger holiday than one's birthday. Tradition has it that the person with the celebrated name brings sweets to work. Coworkers drop by, take a treat, and wish Ted many more years of prosperity. We stopped by the sweet shop on our way to his work. Teddie, this is Theo's day too. Tomorrow we go to Napflio on a regional bus, after making a number of transfers. Hopefully we will have some trashless photos to post. Plastic bags filled with orange peels, stinky diapers, and who knows what are still piling up everywhere.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Just discovered a bunch of computers that I can use in the main library at ACG, thanks to an American student from Boston College who is here for a semester. Now I do not have to go to Ted's office all the time. Went swimming again today. Windy/cloudy, but water was perfect.
Still searching for whole wheat flour, I decided to go to Green Farm, a supposed health food store. It was a thirty minute walk downhill, then across that 6 lane road, Mesogein. I did find the flour, packaged in Germany. $5.00 for 3 cups!! No luck on the crystallized ginger, but my friend Debbie is going to bring some in her suitcase at the end of the month. The easy to make whole wheat ginger pancakes that I make routinely in RI are proving to be a major task in GR.
We are learning that strikes are a part of Greek life. According to an English newspaper printed in Greece, there are now 7,000 tons of trash flowing out onto the streets of Athens. If the weather was really warm, the stench would be horrid. The visual impact is gross enough. Yesterday the bus and metro workers decided to strike and everything stopped running from noon to 3 pm. It makes me a bit nervous to go anywhere on a bus. To top it off banks will be on strike today and tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Walked yesterday for an hour and a half, searching for a health food store that was somewhere on Mesogeion, a huge road. Turns out I was on the wrong side of the road. Will try again today. I wanted to make my whole wheat ginger pancakes, but whole wheat and crystallized ginger are no where to be found in the regular stores. Big storm, with thunder and lightening, last night. Perhaps it is the beginning of the storm that lashed at England yesterday.
This pile is about 20 yards from the main gate of the ACG and right outside a cafe. Dogs had obviously tore into the bags to find any treats. Dogs wander everywhere. Most are very docile. I have only seen one pack running on the street. Talos, the president's dog, follows Ted to work each morning. He disappears once Ted enters the gate.
One of my goals for this trip was to knit Evelyn a pair of gorgeous winter socks. She and I both may be out of luck. I tried four times to get the rib at the top correct and each time had to rip it out. Now I am totally frustrated. I even brought a book with me that tells how to knit socks, complete with pictures. Still no luck.