Monday, April 21, 2008

murdered expectations in athens

So, Athens is sort of the murderer of our expectations and alex and i are its cunning little accomplices. I'll explain.

We came to Athens with pretty low expectations. We know its dirty, there is terrible air pollution, most of its ruins have been plundered over the centuries, it was in the middle of an extreme heat wave for this time of year. We knew all of this. Yet, we knew that were still nice neighborhoods and at least there's the acropolis and the parthenon and Socrates once lived here and democracy was born here, right?

Well, the major turning point in murdering these expectations came this morning when I put on my sweatshirt to head out for the day and a cockroach fell out onto the floor. yeah. But, let me back up, before that there were countless mosquito bites through the night, 'free' internet at our hostel on computers that dont load any pages, air pollution so bad it makes your throat hurt, a metro line built over where socrates gave his most famous apology (!!!!!!!!!!!!), scaffolding on the only building on the acropolis worth looking at - that parthenon, and heat so hot that walking makes sweat burst from your every pore.

As for Alex and I being accomplices: I chose the dingy hotel with pickpockets and prostitutes outside, and he chose to stay here two days. We tried desperately to change these two facts, running to the train station this morning to change our tickets, trying 2 days ago to change hotels, but athens slammed down our expectations like hulk hogan in his best years.

Nevertheless, at our lowest of lows, coming down from the acropolis with sweat in our eyes and disdain in our hearts, we began to love again. We saw some poppies on the way down and went into the agora, found a reconstructed stoa, shade and relaxation, famous sites not completely ruined and way less crowds. We found a wonderful greek restaurant with food you just wouldnt believe. Stuffed tomatoes and lamb with pasta and spinach rice and greek beer and cucumber and tomato salad, yummmm. Then we retired back to our hostel, but in a different room this time with (hopefully) less cockroaches. ::fingers crossed::

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