Sunday, August 31, 2008

The fall of Atlantis, the rise of tourism!

Well, I have been here in Santorini for a little less than a couple days now. I met some more Aussies last night. We got to talking and ended up playing a bunch of card games till about 10pm or so. The two young ladies were from just out side of Sydney and just out of high school (wow) they are both very nice and travelling w/each other for about 8 months. They have no plans and enough money to get them by for about three months until they have to start working to keep thier travels going. Many of these young people I have met seem quite a bit more mature than us in the states (especially their own age...probably mine too!).

I aquired two new Canadian room mates who both thought I was also Canadian due to my "accent." I would love to say I was shocked by this, but I have gotten that comment too many times in the past and pretty much everytime here in Greece to be anything but pleasently amused...eh?! (ha ha)

These two young ladies (yes more of them) are early twenties and just graduated college to be teachers and are travelling together for a while before looking for jobs. I think they are out and about for 3 months or so.

Rauel is also my new bunk mate. He is from Spain. We talked for quite a while and will probably grab a couple beers later tonight before crashing. He is 28 and works as a electrician. He is going back to University (as they call it) to become an electric engineer. ...and he "is in love" with this Aussie that he met on the bus from the port to his hostel... :)

I went on a tour of the island today, but I will have to get back with y'all on that later, this internet cafe' is about to kick my 'merican ass out!

Peace,
~Craig

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grand Canyon in Greece?

Yesterday ended up being quite a day. Since the Delphi tour got cancelled I decided to go to the new Acropolis Museum. So I took the tube downtown (I was actually getting fairly good at working my way around it) and walked the rest of the way to the museum. It was still under construction but they were letting people in for free to see the first floor and what they have done so far (which is quite a lot, it is due to open in November). It is built over the ancient ruins of the city so they have much of the floor made out of glass so you can see the ruins beneith. It is sooo cool!! It has the same look and feel as the new GR Art Museum only much larger. I was done wandering around there and decided to fill up my water jug when I met a guy named George. He's from Jersey...actually he was mayor of one of the cities in Jersey North of Spring Lake where I train with Jack. He and I got to talking and come to find out he is 36 and traveling alone visiting family in Greece. He spoke fluent Greek and we seemed to connect well. Before long we were joking around and it seemed as if we'd been buddies for years, so we ended up spending the rest of the day together wandering around, getting lost, drinking beers, eating, getting lost, going to a couple of mueseums, did I say drinking beers and getting lost (?). George just started mountain biking and he was telling me of his experiences with all of that. I said to George, "is it just me but do all of these young European women always have this bitchy, pouty, look on their face?" They all wear these HUGE sunglasses, super tight shirts that show so much cleavage you would think that you were visiting the Grand Canyon and ALWAYS look disgusted, like they are going to either slap you, spit in your face or fuck you (and I don't mean gently)... maybe all of the above (in that order). That theme was carried out for pretty much the whole day. He might be hooking up a place for me to stay in Crete. We'll see... I can hear it now, "Hey, yea, I'm George and althought I won't be coming out to stay with you in Crete, I just met this cool guy from Michigan and he would love to stay with you for the next few days; eat your food, sleep on your couch...so treat him good, thanks~! :) Yea, right! We'll see. Anyway George and I had a fantastic day just hanging out, making fun of the European pouty princess', eating, having beers and of course getting lost. We ended the night having some traditional Greek apatizers (don't ask me to spell or pronounce it!) a couple of Amstel's in this awesome out door cafe' (aren't they all in greece?!) with an increadable night view of the Acropolis and Heidens Library (which reminds me I still have those Greek CD's that will be a week overdue when I return them), both of which are light up and look absolutely amazing. I was thinking to myself, "I am really here in Greece!" George and I talked about everything. The change in direction of my career, politics, philosophy, family, life, etc. We exchanged contact info and hope to hook up again soon. Maybe one of the times I go out to see Jack. After George and I called it a night I took the tube and then walked the rest of the way to my hostel, it was about 10:30pm. I stopped at the bar to say goodbye to my two favorite bartenders in Athens and ended up staying too late (1:30 am - ish), which made today a bit rough at first. I got up about 6am and scooted to the pier to jump on the ferry bringing me here to Santorini. It was funny I was "THIS" close to missing my ferry I mean really. The boat left at 7:05 am, I was supposed to be there 20 minutes early to board. My train arrived at the station at 7am on the nose. So I literally ran the half mile to the dock, which wasn't easy partly due to my pack and probably more because I was not feeling so well from the night before... So I get to the dock and ask someone in uniform where my boat was (I am speaking perfect greek now...ha ha, NOT). and have to sprint the 50 yards to my boat which has already pulled up the mooring ropes and was literally just starting to pull away from the dock. I was winded, almost ready to puke, and sweating like a hog, but I made it. I was barely able to make it to seat and push back the queasy feeling in my stomach and now my throat, but I managed. Within a couple hours and a nap I was good to go....Sooooooo here I am in beautiful Santorini. The hostel picked me up from the dock which was a huge suprise, I was planning on having to find my own transport. The hostel looks very clean and nice, much nicer than I was expecting. I put my things in a locked locker (YEA) and ran into one of my bunk mates, a young Aussie (go figure) named John. He seems nice enough.

~Craig

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vacationing vs. Travelling

Yesterday I was feeling rather queasy, hot and uncomfortable. I was making some phone calls and the booth that the calls are made from is maybe 3 x 3 and even hotter making me feel worse. I am also a bit on guard still regarding the location and with people waiting to use the phone, crashing in on me and all of the commotion around makes it difficult sometimes for me to relax, be less reserved and not on guard so to speak. Everything is fine and I feel plenty safe, but the communal living thing is not in total tune with my more private nature. Hostelling is like urban camping except you sleep in a tent with a few people you don't know and most speak a different language than you! :) It also makes you have to let things go and not worry so much about things (like your pack and clothes).

I got a bit of sleep last night and do feels tons better today! One of the people I am bunking with is this rather strange Italian young man. He has bushy black hair and a large bushy beard. Our first encounter was when he answered the door when I knocked the first time to let me in. He just got out of bed looking like Chewbacca who just smoked a pound of weed, wearing black jockey and sporting a hard-on... No I'm not joking. It was quite funny really. (This must be what dorm life in college is like) He doesn't speak but a couple words of English (and to his defense, I speak even less Italian). He is always in the room... rather strange. I mean really, he is always sleeping. He smokes a lot (yes in the room... cig's not dope), as a matter of fact, he left for a few hours late last night and I let him back in the room about 2am-ish, next thing I know he's light'n up a fag and the small unventilated room fills with his hand rolled, unfiltered cigarette smoke @ 3am in the morning. Thoughts of a news story I heard about two months ago goes through my mind: Some kid in an European hostel fell asleep smoking and lit the place on fire killing something like 7 people and injuring a dozen or so. I meditated on it a bit and told myself not to be an up-tight American and just let it go, so I did and fell in and out of sleep for a little while until I let go completely to worry, annoyance and consciousness. The Italian seems nice enough, things are just different over here.

I haven't been over here even a week yet and it seems like a long time since I've been home... not in a bad way. Not in a vacation way either though. This is more traveling, less vacationing. They are different. Some things have been challenging and brought me out of my comfort zone. This is a different experience all together from vacationing. I have not done this to this extent in a while. I do it a little when I go to various places and train, but this is a bit more extreme. The hostlers (I call them) are like global partying beach bums. Each seems to see how long they can keep the ride going (they usually work along the way, bartending, waiting tables, whatever they can to get a few bucks w/o working too much). They have their own language (aside from the one(s) they already speak), their own customs, legends and way about them. Most are twenty-something, but not all. They are not without their own form of elitist attitude, but overall I have found them very laid back and open. The path seems to be open to all, yet the typical "Hostelite - Wanderer" has a sort of profile... and American isn't really one of 'em. I know you are thinking what profile? Well, like I said, typically European or Aussie, twenty-something, adventuresome, into partying, laid back, open, carefree. I am not saying there are no Americans that fit this, I am saying that from what I have heard and seen directly there aren't as many Americans that do this (overall).

Well, I have to find something cool to do today since my Delphi trip was cancel, so I should get going.

I haven't been able to up load pics yet, but I will keep trying... so hopefully soon.

Hope all is well w/all'y'll in the states.

~Craig

P.S. I have to mention that I have not seen this many people smoking since the 70's. It appears that you can smoke pretty much anywhere and everyone seems to do it.

Delphi Cancelled

Well, today was a good day, I met some people from Beruit who were nice to talk to (we got trapped together on a cheesy tourist sight seeing tour...). My trip to Delphi tomorrow got cancelled :( Ironic, that was the reason why I was staying in Athens for another day. Oh well... I guess I will have to find something else to do.

Well, gotta go.

~Craig

Thong vs. Flip Flops

Which is what?! In some places thongs are a slang word for a simple light sandel that is worn on your feet, in other languages it indicates something that would be warn on other area's of your body that if left exposed to the sun too long may make your life a bit uncomfortble for a while. I think I am the only person here in Greece who brought the wrong type (you be the judge on which one!! HA HA).

Things are going well here in the land of olives and ouzo! I haven't time to write alot due to numerous internet starved 20-somethings leering at me with cigerettes between their lips and beers in their hands (Really... I'm not joking).

I went to the National Archaeological Museum today (increadable!). So much cool history and seeing things that until now I have only seen in books is simply amazing!

I have had some really interesting conversations with some English blokes last night (among many others). Nice guys. I have been asked more political questions about our election from people from other countries than I have ever heard from folks here in theUS. Many are truly interested in what is going on and how it can effect our future (and the worlds). Most Americans I know don't know much about our own political happenings let alone that of another country.

I changed some of my plans and I am off to Delphi tomorrow before taking a boat down to the Island of Santorini.

I have met some really cool people so far I done a fair share of hanging out with people from all over the world so far. I hope this continues.

The dorm life has been ok so far. There is a young couple that is staying in my dorm that just had their wallet with all of their credit cards and alot of their money swiped about an hour ago. THAT SUCKS!! She was crying and pretty upset. I guess they were at an internet cafe' (not this one) and she left her wallet out and BANG some one went off with it. Moral: keep your money, passport and credit cards in a money belt on you. Don't leave stuff out to be knicked (shit I'm starting to talk like some of these English / Aussies I have been running into). I keep my stuff on me all the time; money belt etc. I'm not saying that it is impossible for me to get stung, but I am a bit paranoid. Speaking of which I did find a way that is a little better regarding my pack in un attended territory... More on that stuff later. I should let the next person on the computer before I get deported!

~Craig

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Here in Athens, Greece wandering in the footsteps of Socrates

Shed-oh-teh (Hello in Greek),

Yesterday I went to the Acropolis and about a dozen other sites, it was really cool! I think I started at about 9am and wasn't back until 8 pm. I took so many pics with my camera I burned through 2 batteries and a disposable camera. Still there were more pics to take. I Walked around all day and was exhausted by the time I got back. It is very hot here, I mean damn! Many places don't have air, so you just sweat, and sweat, and sweat some more. My room the first night didn't have air (I guess that is extra), but I paid another 2 euro to get it for yesterday. Had I known that I would have paid and had air the first night too, I thought was broken, but by the time I got in I just said screw it and took care of it the next day. It has been very interesting here so far. I have met some pretty cool people from all around the world (US, Canada, Australia [a lot of Aussies...so many I don't know who's minding their country!], Russia, Germany, and Greece of course). Most folks are pretty friendly. As for the language so far it hasn't been a huge problem, we'll see how it continues. ...oh and talk about getting lost. I think I have out did myself. I am so lost here I barely know which end is up, even with a map. :) As usual, it all works out though. :)

Tonight is my first night in the dorms here. We'll see how that works out... I already don't like part of the deal, which is you leave your back pack in the "luggage room." Yes boys and girls a room with no lock that everyone and their Grecian brother have access to. I don't like that at all, so I am trying to figure away around that. I can see ALL of my stuff getting ripped off :(

I am happy to say they have Jack and Coke here in Greece. My first night stay I ended up hanging out til the wee hours with a few folks from Australia, Canada and New York... It was fun.

Many people here are surprised to see an American travel especially alone. Most have been saying that American travellers are few and far between. Interesting opinion I have been getting from most about being an American and what their thoughts are of us... I suppose we all need to travel more to break the stereo-type.

I am charging my camera batteries and then I am going to the National Archaeological Museum.

I hope to up load some pics soon!

Carpe' Diem~

~Craig