I spent most of today with Zorba. Almost finished, and loving the book. I read most of the morning until I had my overwhelming ADD “I have to move” fit and took a long walk in the Plaka that ended with a delightful Greek salad in a sidewalk cafe’ perfect for people watching over fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and huge hunk of fresh feta. I was told recently that if one hosts a dinner for Greeks in one’s home two things must be served: feta cheese and bread. Sounds good to me. You should see the hunk of feta cheese that comes on a Greek salad here.
Last evening was a real treat, beginning with a reception hosted by the Danish ambassador at the UIndy Cultural Center. Again, I wasn’t quite sure what I was attending, but I was invited, so I went. The ambassador was a nice fellow and very friendly, but the real treat were the guests of honor: the Danish Special Olympics Team, their coaches and a few parents. I met many of the athletes who proudly shook hands and displayed their Special Olympics name tags. They were forthcoming, friendly, and proud. The challenge was that they spoke little English or none and my Dutch is nonexistant, but we did communicate and it was touching. Just between you and me, I loved it that while the Ambassador was making his big speech, the athletes were more into their hor dourves, waving at each other and the view from the rooftop. They were so sweet and I was thankful for the opportunity granted to these special needs people.
I barely made it on time (had to run) to my next event–the symphony at the Herodes Atticus Theater. Again, Mary said “I really want to go the symphony at the Atticus Theater” and I said okay having little idea what it was, but it was fantastic. It’s an ancient, open-air theater in the round with perfect acoustics, like the ancient Greeks knew how to build. We sat on 2000-year-old, stone benches that thankfully had cushions added for comfort and the backdrop was one of mammoth stone arches at varous stair-step levels. The music was wonderful and the guest soloist was a famous violinist from Bloomington IN. Imagine that! Mary knew who he was. That made one of us. Looking at the night sky and city lights against the backdrop of ancient ruins, listening to the beautiful music, the mountains off in the distance was yet another “pinch myself” moment here in Athens.
Tonight, we ventured out into yet another area that I have not seen. It was one of many “arcades,” meaning a roof-enclosed shopping area and this one was high end, mostly French–Mont Blanc for example. We found great food, great people watching and had a fun struggling-actor-waiter who chatted with us about the islands. It’s fun interviewing Greeks about their favorite islands. They all have an opinion, that’s for sure. Athens is sprawling and I just keep finding new cool places. I’ll never find them again, but that’s beside the point.
The countdown . . . BF arrives in 4 days, hopefully. As part of the ongoing peaceful protests, there is an official transportation strike beginning Tuesday for 48 hours. Everything will shut down. The airport, the metro, the tram, and the busses, nothing will move. We must cross our fingers that the backlog is over and BF arrives on time. If not, I might begin my own protest here!
Tomorrow I plan to hit the rooftop study area at 9 A.M., finish Zorba, and start on my research paper. Don’t know if we’ll have class due to the strike. The adventure continues.