Monday, August 30, 2004

Olympics are over :(

Well the craziness of the Olympics are over and what a time I had. Thanks to those who are following my trip. I hope ya'll are having a good laugh.

One of my dreams has come true... I sang O Canada at a medal ceremony. Unfortunately, I just missed the race when Adam van Koeverden won. I was tied up in security. But, I got to sing O Canada!!!!! There weren't that many chances in Athens, and I managed to snag one! I got pics too.

I was tied up in traffic yesterday, so I missed the Marathon:( Saw the closing ceremonies on tv though, Too expensive to go in person. It was so unrealistic to realise that all of the events and ceremonies were happening all around me. It still feels like I'm dreaming. I WAS AT AN OLYMPIC GAMES!

Kinda like today, I was lollygagging around the Acropolis. I remember when I was younger hearing about the deterioration of the acropolis due to pollution, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be there. A lot is cordoned off due to all the restoration that is going on, but it's still really monumental. I think back to being in High School and wonder how many others that I went to school with have had the opportunities to visit these sites. I surely didn't think I would, let alone go by myself. I'm happy with my accomplishments.

I was staying at Joachim's parents place for a few nights. In the home where he grew up. For those who know Joachim, I think you'll get a kick out of it all. I met both his brothers and their fiancees. Jim's baby brother reminds me so much of him. Even when he says 'hello Jodi' I have to look twice. Right now I'm staying with him (Dennis) and Iro. They have a great little pad in Gerakas. They also have two Rotties named Cassie and Kine. I'm getting my dog fix so I don't miss Tanner so much.

Talk about Dogs... there are stray dogs everywhere, just today coming out of the acropolis there were at least six congregated together around a tree. You mostly see them laying in the shade sleeping. I don't blame them, the weather is always hot. No rain since I've been here. Grass is almost non existant. Except for those places that get watered regularly. Lots of stray cats too. Some are more skittesh than others. I went to the bus early one morning (going to Schinias for paddling) and I was sure the bench was empty and yet when I went to sit down, I sat on a cat. He was maybe four months but he was all up in my arms purring and rubbing his head against me. It was funny. I think the other kitten nearby was his brother or sister, but that one didn't want anything to do with me.

I'm meeting tons of great people, from all over Canada and the world. Lots of Greeks too... Mostly friends of Joachim's family. Yesterday, I went to the beach with Dennis, Iro, Zoe, and Nikos. It was fun. The water was so warm! What a difference from the Atlantic. I was ready to cringe as a stepped into the water and was pleasantly surprised. I was also surprised, not pleasantly this time, when I accidently got a mouth full of water. YUCK! It's been a while since I've tasted salt water. I started to build a sand castle and then a fight broke out with Dennis and Iro and before you knew it everyone was flinging sand at each other.

I'm not even trying and I'm getting tanned. Really tanned... For those familiar with my irradescent skin, you wouldn't recognise me. I still have another seven weeks to go.

O yeah... I meant to tell my bus story. I had taken the bus with Joachim's mom to and from their house one day and decided I was familiar enough with it to take it by myself. I got out of Pefki all right. Getting back home was a different story. I got back on the same number bus at the same station that I got off at and started looking for familiar landmarks. Of course I was sitting next to a nun, 100 at least, who would continually cross herself from the moment she saw a church or a cemetary until she couldn't see it any more. And of course no English. After a while I wasn't recognising anything. I was looking for a school (skolio) and a park (parko) both of which Joachim had frequented as a young boy. Finally, in my best broken greek (in other words...skolio and parko and Pefki) Everyone around me looked quizzical and then a younger girl who spoke english asked where I was going. I showed her the address and of course she says " this bus doesn't go there". At that moment I knew that I had taken the bus going the wrong way. Everyone was awesome and said that the bus driver would figure it out and tell me when to get off. 5 minutes later, what do I see... a Park and a School. I get off, walk around the school and realise that I am not where I thought I was. It's like 8:30 and I had told Barbara I'd be back around 7. I found a nice woman with a flower shop who directed me in the right direction, let me use her phone and wrote down directions for the cabbie. I went up the road flagged down a cab and he took me home, safe and sound for under 2 euro. Let's just say I didn't repeat that experience again the following day!

I'm going to stick around here for a few more days and check out the Agora and the National Museum, after I head up North and then to the Islands. And those awesome white sandy beaches and teal blue water. Don't feel too bad for me being unemployed!!

Thursday, August 26, 2004


So far....
I've seen 3 baseball games, including the bronze match of Can Vs Jpn. Today's canoe and kayak.
I have tickets for tommorows finals in canoe and Kayak.

I've also had tickets to a few other events that I didn't make due to sleeping malfunctions.

I'm going to bum around, see what I can get for free or cheap and attend some more events.

For my mother... I am now staying with Joachim's family in Pefki. I even dragged Barbara to yesterdays baseball match up. I really beleive it was her first ever baseball game.

I am safe and well and soon to gain back all of the weight I have sweated of with her amazing cooking. I'll update my fun with Jim's family when I have more time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

National Gardens ....

The other day I took a stroll throught the National Gardens here in Athens. It reminded me of a cross between Point Pleasant Park and the Public Gardens.

Instead of old batteries and fortifications, there are ionic columns and roman Mosaics. What amases me is that they are just there. Like a rock or a tree. You can stand, sit, lean on these historical pieces. They are part of everyday life here. The mosaics were amazing. They covered this huge area and every few feet the designs would change. Some of the desings were very similar to those I saw at Hadrian's Library. At the Library there were these huge clay pots, which i am assuming were used to store the papyrus. It's wonderful to think that much of this has survived time.

In Syndagma Metro Station, there is a wall that shows the various stratas and archaeological remains found in each. The amazing part of this is that it is the actual earth and the rocks and clay of the ground. They found so much when they dug that they preserved it for all to see. at one point there is a crypt with the actual bones of the person who was buried for all to see. I wonder what that person would have thought if he/she would have known that thousands of years down the road your remains would be displayed for all to see on their way underground to take a subway to the other end of town. Travelling farther than maybe that person had ever been in their life. How would I feel about it? You?
There are also remains to an ancient road and a river bed. In amongst all the various strata are jumbled sand rocks and shells. Down at the river bed there are even shards of pottery. Towards the very bottom of the display are Terra cotta pipes which are still intact! I imagine they would even work if you put them to use. I found this site below if you want to see a little of what I'm trying to describe. August2000-Syntagma
I still have yet to go to the acropolis, I want to have a full day there, so I'm waiting until all of the games are done. That and the National museum. I seem to have read something about the first sunday of the month being free... maybe that was Paris.
Back to the National Gardens. In the middle of the Gardens there is a zoo. It has the weirdest looking mountain goats. They have yellow eyes with a slit of black down the middle. Really eerie. The old male had huge horns, No wonder he was laying down. Lots of ducks all over, just like the Gardens back home. Peacocks, chickens \emus...It was a really nice place to retreat to in the middle of the heat of the day.
Many people had the same idea. some were sleeping on the grass, others on benchs. I had to wonder if any of them were the homeless youth of the Olympiad. Older men were in the shade, I'm sure talking about the tourists.

Day 5 in Athens, Day 11 of the Olympiad

All I stepped in today was a lot of mud!

I modified the blog so that anyone can leave comments... oops

Yestereve I met Emily from Detroit. She was also travelling alone, so I asked her if she would like to tag along with me. I was going to try to find some camping for the night. We went out to Voula, but no space. So we camped on the beach in Glyfada. We spred out the tent and stuffed our syuff and ourselves into it. The comical part of all this is that we did not set it up. We just left it laying there I was told that setting it up would be asking for trouble from the cops.
There is this whole subculture here at the Olympics. You dont here about it at all. It's all those who really want to be part of the Olympics and really cant afford to. You find a place to store your luggage and then you are off, sleeping in parcs, squares and beaches. I'm surely not the only one. It is an experience to wake up with the sun on your face and the sound of the medditeranean in your ears. There are showers on the beach to rinse off.
Last night as we went to sleep, there were a bunch of boys playing the harmonica softly. It was really relaxing. In the morning I woke up and the number of bums had multiplied. it seems like its a normal thing, the locals don't even pay attention when people strip down to the buff to change. (I didn't, but I saw someone do it)
While I was waiting the a computer yesterday, I met a young fellow from the states and another from australia. They were both like me. The fellow had a shirt on that said "Want to get rid of that extra ticket?" on the front on the sleeves it said "trade kisses for tickets". And he had already seen a few events. The hot tickets were beach volley ball.
Today, on the bus, a German couple gave Emily and myself two tickets to hockey tommorow morning. They weren't going to be able to make it. I gave them a couple of Canada pins.
Tonight I go see the semifinals of baseball, Canada vs Cuba. If we win we meet Australia again in the finals. So I'm just waiting now to see what tickets to buy gold medal/or bronze medal game.

I am now off to the game! I have on a red tank, Josh's Maple leaf toque, and I'm going to try to find a Flag.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Canada 11 Australia 0

Today I stepped in a nice ripe fig that had fallen from a tree... At least I didn't sit on one with me Ozzy flag.

I went to the baseball game last night. It rocked! We kicked some ass. On my way out of the Stadium/ Complex. I bumped into some Australians who had been to some other event. I hooked up with the five of them and we went to an Irish Pub and partied until dawn. I missed My canoe Kayak. Hopefully tommorow, I have tickets. I also have tickets for the baseball semi finals. Keep your eyes open. If you see me... Send me a message, I'd like to know. If I'm not there, i'm passed out on some beach with some aussie bums.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

excerpt from my written journal.

There are certain parts of humans that are present all over the world- in different cultures; human nature I guess you would call it. Like Graffiti, the want/need to leave one's mark in a way that may be more permanent than oneself. For example: all those initials engraved on the large maple tree along the seiene river. the one I took a picture of. How many and for how long have people been carving into that tree? In cement, on buildings, always their name and sometimes the name/initials of the one that they love. That moment is forever captured. Love and people may pass away but the moment, the fellings of that moment are left lingering, haunting, waiting to creep up on the unsuspecting person contemplating, touching the evidence long left behind. The echoes of moments touch those around it.
Now tags somehow seem different, more transient, perhaps that is why one feels the need to tag everything in an attempt that one tag will be missed and linger.
No matter how much has changed here the changes are all inconsequential in the big scheme of things. Italy has too many echoes, so many moments that voices whisper in the breeze, tears of thousands of widows fall from the sky. Lovers touchs are present with every adriatic wave surrounding one, carressing, filling every orifice as you plunge deeper searching for the azure that is at once present and yet invisible. Tires scream and engines rumble along the wall of fortresses that once held the enemy at bay. Not only are they new echoes, one that fill our air with moments that will be felt in the lungs, livers, breasts and colons for generations.To close ones eyes, to hear the battles past, the sieges, the thunder of cannons, then gunshots and now missles. all whose entierty was lost in the battles, scuffles and wars and conquests of past generations were not really lost, just fragmented. Leaving a puzzle to be pieced back together, multiplying the outlets of echoes, intensifying it for each piece now resoundswith the same decibal level as it did when it was whole. There is no commutation of this feeling. It is there for everyone to experience, many close their minds to the vibrations. I have only one suggestion to those: breath, ponder these thoughts, relax and enjoy for this is Italy. Full of the love and loss of all those who loved and lost, and , all of their initials, be they carved in stone, by deed, by sweat, by blood, or thought.

My first Sunday in Athens.

Today I stepped in a nice big was of gum. All heated and mushy from the hot Athenian sun. I'm still sticking to the ground when I walk.

I left ya'll off in Bari.....
When I got into the station @ 10 I found out that the ferry only left at 2000. So I had missed it. I figured that I could try to negotiate a fair price for a hotel seeing as I couldn't get a hold of anyone at the hostel. People in Bari were really rude. I found this little Pizza shop and asked for help in there. I was surprised how quick I remember The Italian I knew... It all came back.
I remember thinking that it was really nice to see a genuine Italian mom and pop pizzeria. Then I remebered I was in Italy.
I had a pizza and regrouped, and started looking again. I went to this lilltle spot and the fellow said 30euro. I was a little bit weary, then I found out that there was a shower IN the room. The money was on the counter sooo fast.
The room was huge and a double bed, and a shower and a toilet and I slept so well!
I picked up my ticket for the ferry the next day. Of course I walked the wrong way @ first and only found out about 2 kms down the when I stopped for some water. I bought the wrong kind, the frizzante. Yuck!!!
I went to buy my ferry ticket and thought I could scam a ticket for 48 euro but it was all sold out. I had to buy an upper deck ticket. I got up there and there was a pool, jacuzzi, fresh air, clean facilities and a poolside bar. Couldn't ask for more.
I met a fellow traveller from Austria, named Erich. We had a good time, he tought me to play an austrian card game. We laughed a lot talked and eventually parted ways in Patras. His eventual destination was thessoloniki for a wedding. We also exchanged addresses.
From Patras to Athens I took the train. Holy Shit ! I thought that upper New Brunswick railway was bad. This one takes the cake. No AC, bad track, but nice people. The girl accross the way helped me figure out how to pronounce the greek alphabet. After she got off a nice elderly gentle man sat beside me and I would write down the words I saw outside and pronounce them and he would nod, smile and correct my pronouciation. I've learned a few words and can somewhat look at Greek words and sound them out.
Another woman got on after Corinthos and she was a greek american. We had long chats and she taught me a lot about Greece.
I arrived in Athens only to find out that Joachim's family were still away in the islands on vacation. I had to find a place to stay. Skip over the next section if u are my mother or Lisa. Sorry guys.

I wandered around syndagma looking at all the archeological finds. a whole wall is in glass and it shows the strata and the various finds along the dig. One of my plans are to stop at all the Metro stops and check out the finds. I hopped on the e-mail. found out that the canoe kayaking and baseball are cheap enough, I'm gonna check those out. I called some hostels that I found on the internet. 100 euro for the night!!! I would rather sleep in the street. I found another straggler looking for accomodations, her name is Michelle and she;s from China. She's here mostly to see ping pong. Together we didn't do too much better. Everyone on the streets seemed helpful. She finally decided to stay at the student's Inn for 50 euro. I had spoken directly to Machis who told me that Omonia square and area were the cheapest hotels. He also told me to be very careful because it was hooker heaven. So I went to Omonia and I guess they've revamped it. I couldn't find anything. I met a Greek Canadian in one of the hotels and he was really helpful. The hotel he works in was booked until October, and it was and official hotel so it had much of the Olympic delegation staying there. Hooker Heaven My ass Joachim. I walked around and finally had to take a break because my hip hurt ( i Noticed after that my bag wasn't on right and the straps around the back were not tight enuf.. I layed on a bench in a square, waiting for the trams to start to go toglyfada ( I was told the beach was a good place to stay), there were two guys watching the electronic equipment, so I felt pretty safe. After a while, one of them came up and started talking to me. He seemed nice, but I was weary. He asked me once if i wanted to go for a walk, he'd take me to glyfada. I said that it wasokay, i'd be fine. We talked for about another 2 hours, he was really sweet and I figured he was sincere. after a couple more times asking me to go for a drive,of times I said sure and hetook me on a tour of the outlying areas. The sun was rising, it was magical. he took me back to his apt and let me crash on his couch. His English was halted otherwise we communicated well. Nikos, reminded me of one of my exes, James. Lisa will get a kick out of this ( young, cute , but skinny). We watched TV and some really funny shows he had burned. He gave me his number and we might hook up later and see some sights.
While we were driving, I,saw camping outside of Glyfada, so that night I decided to try my luck there. I got off the tram and asked a gentleman how to get to glyfada and he said you are in it. I asked about camping and he said to follow him. His name was Andreas and he's Australian greek. He drove me to the camp ground and it was full i was going tosleep on the beach and he told me that he wouldn't let me do that, and he let me stay at his place on the couch. We had acouple beer, chatted, I had a shower and crashed. Andreas has been retired for about twenty years, got a aussie degree in world economics. He was lots of fun to talk t. Well read and educated on world issues.
I got back into Athens, dropped by back pack off, had something to eat and went to find out if michelle was around. No Luck. So I'm here telling everyone what's up... Of course it's also the hottest time of the day, and it's ac in here.
It's been a crazy couple days but I've been having fun. It's all part of the experience, I'm going to the canadian base ball game tonight. Keep your eyes peeled.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Planes, trains, and ferries

Hello everyone,
I have finally arrived in Greece. I'm at the port of Patras waiting for my train to athens!!!To the Olympics!!!!!!!

The last post I wrote, I was very jetlagged, but I feel a bit better now. And boy is she hot here. What I don't understand is how the Europeans walk around in pants and jeans in this heat? It feels like the church on Lisa's wedding day.

I toured Paris, walked up and down the Seine. Saw the Louvre, of course she's closed on Tuesdays and no need to guess the only day I was in Paris. I strolled dow the Champs Elyssees to the Arc de Triomphe and saw the obelisk and where Louis and Marie Antoinette were decapitated.
On my way back to the train Gare de Lyon, for those familiar with paris (ha ha), I was stopped by this sound, a groovy jive put together by a group of men beating on their drums. So I stuck around and enjoyed the sounds.

I got to the station to find out that I could no longer get a ticket for the overnight to Milan, I had to buy it from the conductor at yet another station. Well...

I got stuck going through the subway doors with my bags. Icouldn't go forward or back. I had to take it off and beat and kick them they were so wedged. Then I got on the subway going the wrong way, finally I got to the station with 15 min to spare. I eventually found my conductor, Antonie, a real cutie.
He settled me in and then invited me for some champagne in his room, convieniently next door. So I went. He's french from paris and works for the Italian train. When he finally understood what I was saying, he seemed genuienly interested in knowing that I had worked for the train in Canada. The champagne made me dozy and after a while I had to retire.
I had a room to myself, with a real bed and sheets and blankets and pillows! In second class. I even got cappuccino and a croissant in the morning. Not bad I thought. Better than economy in Canada.
I got to Milan and boought a rail pass and hoped on a train to Bologna. In bologna, I transfered to a train to Bari, the connection was too soon and I didn't get a chance to check out any sites.
If you are reading this willy, I've been trying to call but i cant seem to get through? Maybe I don't have the right number or I missed one copying it over... In other words, send me your number again.

I'm getting booted off the computer here (In Patras) I'll continue at another time.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Today I arrived in Paris

Today I stepped in a huge puddle, too bad it wasn't after I stepped in the donkey doo.

How the time does fly. I'm on the net in a little spot somewhere off the champs Elyssees. The past few days have been very hectic with very little sleep.
Fri: Woke up late- set my clock for pm instead of am. Went in to VIA and resigned. Left for the Island by 10:30. Wedding rehearsal...
Sat: Dyed my head with bright red streaks to be "Visibly Canadian". Lisa's wedding was beautiful! i cried a lot. Drank a lot and slept very little.
Sun: Brunch, got a ride to Moncton and hopped on the train to Montreal.
Mon: At Dorval, tried to use my Aeroplan points but couldn't redeem them because I didn't have a credit card. Had to pay full price for a ticket to the T dot. In the air I realised that my zoom air flight stopped in Montreal before going to Paris. I could have probably switched departure terminals for less. Oh well!
Almost fogot my wallet in the little binnie going through the metal detector. Ooops.
The trip was a little rough. didn't get to sleep very much, between supper and breakfast there was no time to sleep.
I did spill my apple juice all over though. Including, up my pants and in my crotch. I didn't look very pretty when the seatbelt light went off and I had to go to the washroom.
I spent at least 3 hours running around Charles de Gaulle; looking for a flight, found nothing but a bunch of militia with very large guns and a broken internet station. Finally I decide to come into the city, check it out and do some comparrisson shopping.

So long for now...
well talk in a couple of days when I get to another stop

Saturday, August 07, 2004

She'll be coming around the mountain...

In nine more days....

clap, clap, clap