March 26, 2009

Athens – Arrival

So, after delays, running through JFK, possible loss of luggage, then near-definite loss of luggage, more delays due to engine malfunction, we finally made it into the air, and boy, it was good air. Most pleasant flight ever. I settled in, read some of my suggested reading, watched most of “Appaloosa” before and while eating, dozed for a bit, put on “The Duchess” and then fell right asleep. I talked for a bit to an old Greek man next to me about his island (which has the best tree sap to cure a stomachache) and his children and how his daughter is marrying someone from Thessaloniki and how he once lived in Miami but has now moved back to the island.

Despite all circumstances, both pieces of luggage arrived on time and intact. I took a cab here with Lindsey, who was on my flight, and her friend Jordan who was waiting at the gate. It ended up being only 15 euros anyway, which is probably what it would have been had we taken the train and then a cab.

We were greeted by a woman named Aphrodite, who showed us the apartments – mine is definitely the best. It’s spacious, with big windows and a full kitchen. The bathroom is a little odd, though – the shower has immense water pressure but doesn’t attach to the wall, so I had to put it on the floor of the tub when I was washing my hair, leading to the destruction by water of the entire bathroom. Also, the toilet doesn’t accept paper. You have to put it in the wastebasket.

After unpacking, I went to check my email, then the three of us went wandering around Archimidous Street to look for food. We ended up at an Italian restaurant called Ciao, where we had our First Cultural Experience of trying to read the Greek menu. I could read the words, but most of them made no sense; it’s pretty easy to understand πιτσα but harder to know exactly what’s on the pizza. Eventually a waiter came over and saw us struggling and handed us an English menu. Which made us feel a bit ridiculous, as we had been trying so hard. Hopefully we’ll learn enough soon. The food was pretty good and inexpensive, and although it wasn’t gyros, we were satisfied.

Later we have a group dinner at a local taverna; before that I’m going to the grocery store and perhaps taking a nap. Or watching Battlestar.

Currency: 1.35 dollars to the euro

Weather: 50s/60s and sunny


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