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!!