Tuesday, February 19, 2008

One hell of a weekend...

Today started off well. Before I recap last weekend, I'm going to take a short detour into today's circus act known as public transportation. As of late, I've been trying to get "in sync" with the weather patterns, but to no avail. The Greek climate is violent and dramatic. Saturday it snowed (more on that later). So when I burst outside my apartment expecting the cold wind to whip me in the face, I was pleasantly suprised. Today it is almost 60 degrees outside. Nothing makes sense. However, I was slightly annoyed because in my attempt to stay one step ahead of Zeus, I had donned warm clothing and a skull cap. Now I was just hot and I was waiting for the bus what seemed an interminable period. When Human-Sardine-Box # 58 rolled up I had the fleeting notion that maybe we could economize some space if we cremated everybody over 60. Or perhaps just the children. I know, it's sick. I'm working on my issues. Alas, I jammed my body into the mosh and left my soul on the curb (to save space). The bus seems to stop every half mile, yet nobody (read: no body) gets off. Instead every stop is an additional surge of 3 people at each one of the 3 doors that brings me exponentially closer to my neighbors. I was smashed against the folding doors with such pressure that when they creaked open for the next surge half of my body exploded into the open air of the street as I gripped the ceiling handles like an ape in the jungle. Eventually, so many people got on the bus that I had to get off in order to let them on and then scurry back in before I got left behind. Occasionally the door that I exited became full and I had to run the length of the bus in order to hurl myself into another opening that was less crowded (or atleast filled with smaller people). By the time I finally got to school I was achey in places I hadn't even touched and I was stressed out. That was my ride to class. Gotta love Greece!

The weekend was fantastic. Friday my friends and I found ourselves at a rather large taverna in the center of town. There are endless possibilites for food and drink in the city. I know that I could eat or drink somewhere different everyday while I'm here and not revisit any of the same places. We really stumbled onto a great deal. The resturant was only 9 Euro per person for unlimitied food and drink. We had chicken, pork, beef, shrimp and well as several different varieties of salads, vegetables and potatoes. We had 3 different types of bread and as a group of about 15 people, we probably consumed 8 liters of wine. It was a great night. The price was so low because during the weekend rival resturants compete for tourist dollars. We literally had someone rush up to us on the street and usher us into the resturant promising rockbottom prices. Initially they charged 12 E/person (which is still VERY fair)- yet in true european style we were able to bargain them down to 9 euro. By the end of the meal the waiters were sitting with us (much more drunk than any one of us, ha!). While we were there we met up with a group of students from Spain and Germany who were studying at the other university, Aristotle University. As the night unfolded we combined our tables and broke into song. Banging glasses, breaking some dishes and pounding the table to the chorus of Bob Marley's "One Love". It was hysterically fun. Like something out of a movie.

Saturday was equally as intriguing. Initially, Byron and I had solicited one of our Greek friends Besi (short for Elisabeth) to take us to the movies. Sure you can do that anywhere, but I figured it would be a nice change of pace. She arrived at the door banging frantically screaming about the cold. I thought she was just being sensitive, but when I opened the door the winter wind penetrated through my thin cotton T-shirt and I felt the icey hands of the elements gripping my neck and face. As I stood in the paraysis of shock, snow billowed into my face and danced on my lips where it was immediatley melted by the steam from my nose. I was terrified. Must I remind you that I'm from Florida? None-the-less, Bessie was decked out so to speak. The skirt with stockings, the stylish European-cut coat and the contrasting scarf. I thought to myself "this is no time for fashion, I'm freaking freezing". So Byron and I put on layers, several layers. I had jeans, my green hoodie, covered with my red Team Klemczewski jacket and a beanie cap. Not high fashion, but definitley high heat. As we ventured to the theater (on foot of course) the snow dissapated and we stopped into some bakeries on the way. Just to gander. When we finally got to the theater, we were informed that the movie was sold out. Very strange. You don't typically think an American movie (we went to see Sweeny Todd) in it's 2nd month would be sold out in Greece. Oh well. We decided to stop into a resturant to get some food. As we walked to the strip, each resturant appeared to have vacancy- yet the "bouncer" at the door informed us that they were in fact full for the night. This happened three times until we decided to stop into a favorite bar of ours called Seaside, where we were able to sample wine, cheese and fruit. We must have talked for about two hours when Besi informed us that the reason we did not get into the movies or the resturants was because we were not dresses nicely enough! I was astonished! She made the point that in Greece (and all of Europe), businesses are just as concerned with attracting "beautiful" people to their establishments than they are about making money. Thus the reason you typically don't see too many Greeks underdressed. You must always overdress. This was like a cultural slap in the face and I thought it was very interesting and funny. At least we know for next time. After we were done at Seaside, Besi (who is half Albanian) invited us to a party that some of her Albanian friends were having to celebrate the liberation of Kosovo. When we got there, I was at first hesitant to talk (being that there was alot of Albanian flying around). But eventually I loosened up and got into some pretty interesting conversation. I met one Kosovo Albanian named Jeton (pronounced YEH-TON) and he made a toast "To Kosovo and Barack Obama". I was suprised to hear that he followed American politics so closely and when I asked him about it he said: "My friend, America equals the world". It was a heavy statement, but lately I've been wondering if it is in fact true. Could it be? I think it would be quite arrogant to assume so. Nonetheless, everybody at the party seemed to be counting down the days and crossing their fingers to go to the States. Very interesting. He seemed to think that America was the ticket to complete freedom. Is he right? Cleary the "American Dream" lives on, even if it is currently a dream deferred. Interesting stuff. Sunday and Monday can be summed up in two words: Slow, Unevetful.

I have class now, more to come so stay tuned.

No comments: