May 25, 2009

Athens, Day 59: Some French word. Another French word. (posted a day late)

The first week with Christina was fun. She’s much nicer and more personable than the other two professors, and she’s absolutely adorable. Since she’s also teaching out of her area of expertise, she does tremendous amounts of research every day to keep on top of things. Since she’s an English professor, she loves poetry and reads to us during class; a lot of our outside reading is poetry as well. She also appears to have a weak spot for homosexual poets, and, being British, pronounces it “homo-sex-yoo-al”. (She’s also a professor of medieval studies, so I think that’s why they sent her here, although we only spent two days on the Byzantines.)

On Thursday we went to Eleusis, the site of a mystery cult. To this day, what happened there is still a mystery, although they do have great schematics of the architectural changes to the temple. We also climbed Acrocorinth, the Ottoman/Venetian/Frankish fortress above Corinth. I just removed an incredibly large splinter I got from running through the tall grasses there. Anna, Jose, Jodie, and I decided to run up to the fortress part after everyone had agreed to meet at the top. We had a pretty good view and nice ruins to climb on, but after about fifteen minutes we wondered why no one else was there. I then ran to the other peak, where it turns out everyone else had gone to hang out on the not-so-awesome ruins. Those, however, where the ruins of the fortress whorehouse, which made another tour group’s prayer circle at the top seem a bit out of place.

Friday night we went to see a one-woman workshop theatre piece at the Athens Centre. It was quite strange and inconclusive, but afterwards we chatted with Christina for a long time. Then we had another “family dinner” for which I made really spicy curry chicken.

This weekend we’re in Poros, an island an hour west of Athens across the Attic Bay. Unlike the other islands, this one really only gets Greek tourists. The feel is completely different – everything is from the 50s-70s and there are pine-tree lined roads and no view of the open sea, making it feel a lot more like Appalachian lake country than the Greek islands. It’s still really relaxing and super cheap though. Yesterday John rented an ATV and has been driving it gleefully around while the rest of us sit at the beach. Yesterday we went to the beach right near the hostel (rooms for rent, really, owned by a British woman), which had free chairs and umbrellas but not much beach, and today we went to “Love Bay”, where we had to pay for the chairs and umbrellas and watch lots of overly-PDA couples, but it had an amazing snack stand. We wanted to see the Temple of Poseidon, but it’s difficult to get to; John reported back that it had no standing columns and even Eric lost interest. (This trip features Eric, Sarah, Mariana, John, Nick, and Justin.) Last night we walked the 2.5 kilometers into town (easier than on Santorini, where the roads were narrow and always busy) and ate at a place called Garden Taverna. As much as we don’t want to go back to the same place twice… it was really good. And cheap. So we’ll probably go back again. After dinner we watched “Pirates of the Caribbean” on my computer until everyone started falling asleep, probably due to having woken up at 6, sitting in the sun all day, and having the most delicious rakomelo while watching. Eric fell asleep sitting up and, since we couldn’t wake him, decided to draw on him instead, and he is now the not-so-proud recipient of a skull and crossbones (my work) on his arm.

Later: We ended up going to a different taverna, and today for lunch we went to a cafeteria with amazing pastitzio before the ferry. This week we have the Thessaloniki trip, so I’ll once again have no internet. I’ve started my final paper. We’re on day 60 out of 72 days here, and I can hardly believe it. I’m spending next weekend in Athens, and a week later I’ll be home.

Currency: 1.40 dollars/euro😦

Weather: hot and full of insects

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