September 18, 2009 – Athens

October 4, 2009

We arrived in Athens yesterday morning after a (luckily) uneventful flight. We took the metro into the city and found our hotel.  It’s north and a bit east of Syntagma Square, the heart of the tourist stuff.  It took a bit of wandering around to find our place – Novotel Athens.  The neighborhood is crowded and busy.  N says it’s a poor area but I think it’s more working class than poor.  Nevertheless, it made us wonder what sort of hotel I booked for us. Surprisingly, the hotel turned out modern and plush (for the area.)  I suspect it was built for the 2000 Olympics.  I bet it was quite nice then but it’s already starting to show a bit of wear.

We showered and meant to get a couple of hours’ sleep but woke up six hours later.  We really  needed the sleep, though.  We roused ourselves at 5pm and took the metro back to Syntagma Square.  We wandered around, ending up at the foot of the Acropolis.  It was closing in 25 minutes so we opted not to go inside.  At this point, a light rain started so we found shelter on a bunch under a pine tree.  We drank a couple of Mythos beers and contemplated what the Acropolis must have looked like new – well over 2,000 years ago!  It blows my mind that people so long ago figured out how to create things of such beauty without all the technology we enjoy now.

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When the rain started to let up, the pedestrian traffic increased and we turned our observations to the people.  Oddly enough, MC Hammer pants are in fashion here – for women, at least.  For those unfamiliar with this term, MC Hammer pants have a very low crotch – it falls somewhere between the knee and the ankle.  Made with yards of fabric, they really don’t flatter any body type.  Particularly bad was a one piece number I saw involving a tube top sewn together with MC Hammer bottoms.  Are Greeks really behind on fashion or really advanced?  Will we see MC Hammer pants in the States again?  I shudder at the thought.

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Once the rain let up, we made our way to a restaurant.  We shared an appetizer of stuffed mushrooms and I had stuffed zucchini with lemon and egg sauce.  N had lamb cooked in a pot with potatoes and feta.  Savory stuff. (Editor’s note:  This turned out to be one of the best meals we had in Greece.)  While we ate, nature treated us to a huge thunderstorm.  I was certain we would get soaked on the way home but it stopped before we left, leaving the city feeling newly washed. We returned to the hotel between 10-11 meaning to rest a bit before heading to the rooftop bar for our first taste of ouzo.  Surprise, surprise, we fell asleep for real.  Ouzo will have to wait for another day.

It is now 4 in the morning. N studies Greek and I write as we enjoy some of the NesCafe provided by the hotel.  Today, we plan on returning to the Acropolis and visiting the Acropolis Museum. 

Some random observations:

  • Lots of stray dogs and cats around.  All the dogs wear collars, though.  I keep wondering who provides them. (Editor’s note: I later read that the Greeks consider it cruel to spay or neuter a pet.  Instead, they control the stray population by putting out poisoned food.  Go figure.)

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  • Almost all the women here have long hair – to the shoulder at least.  Lots of these women have also tried to dye it blonde.  It does not look natural but I suspect they know that.
  • About 90% of women wear shoes that expose their toes.  Only 10% of men do.  Of both groups, nearly all wear leather sandals – very few flip flops.
  • Someone came up to us last night and started speaking Greek.  N thinks I could pass for Greek, but I think my nose lacks the proper character.
  • Walking around the neighborhood, a familiar tune stopped me in  my tracks.  One of the cars stopped at the intersection was blaring “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister.  Long live eighties hair metal!
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2 Responses to “September 18, 2009 – Athens”

  1. Betsy Says:

    MC Hammer pants are being called “harem pants” by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar (fantastic name, right?). Apparently they’re all the rage right now-especially if you’re part of the 0.1% that can pull them off, as Shakira does fantastically:

    I’m personally jealous 🙂

    Check this out too:

    Maybe Greece is just light years ahead of us as far as fashion goes?

  2. birdtribird Says:

    Oh dear, now I feel old. Oh well. While I appreciate a style that looks better on a curvy girl like Shakira than on the stick thin runway models, please spread the word that this is not a good look for most people. Seriously. Besides, Carole told me that they were popular in France a couple of years ago and now are quite passe.


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