Random ramblings...

Trip Start Apr 16, 2006
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Trip End Jun 07, 2006


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Friday, May 19, 2006

Maybe it's because I knew to stay near the Plaka (Old Town), but honestly Athens is much more pleasant than I'd been expecting. I may change my mind by tomorrow but so far I'm enjoying it.

Anyhow, I spent most of my morning uploading photos so now I'll go see the town and the Acropolis. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!

*************

A few random thoughts... (I'll add to this later)

People in Athens REALLY REALLY like to shop. I mean, REALLY.

Athens is HUGE. From the Acropolis, you can see buildings on every single side, all the way to the horizon. They've done a very nice job of trying to section off some nice pedestrian streets for people to hang out and sit in cafes and whatnot, though. I've walked for almost four hours today and I really did enjoy it. The worst part was walking up to the Acropolis, but that's just because it was hot and I ran out of water like an idiot.

Speaking of walking up to the Acropolis... my friend Lisa warned me to wear good shoes which I did (I hiked every temple and tomb in Egypt, so I have footwear covered)... but honestly I wish I had a euro for every Asian lady I have seen on this holiday that's nearly bit the dust because she decided to don her fancy shoes to climb ruins. Any time I see a group of Asian tourists I just look down at their footwear and inevitably there are a handful of ladies in wedges or heels or something far too delicate to be scaling mountainsides. These poor ladies are tumbling all over the ruins of the world, people... and it's not a good thing. I think maybe we should take up a collection and buy the tourist women of Asia some good Easy Spirits or something. Are you with me!?

I don't have a photo, but Greek sailor uniforms? Are DEFINITELY the gayest military outfits ever designed by man. Seriously.

********************

Ok, so on a serious note now... I said I wouldn't censor this journal so I should probably keep my word. Which means that I'm going to have to put some deep thinking on here for a minute. I try to stick to the fun travel stuff, but one of the things about long travels is that they bring out all aspects of humanity in you, and often teach you lessons you never expected to be given when you innocently locked up your apartment and headed for the airport.

Soooo, I'll spend a few moments to talk about some things that I haven't really been comfortable discussing until now. I was really just trying to sort through my thoughts privately for a while, but now that the cat's a bit out of the bag and I'm seeing some improvement, I can talk about it a bit more. Like I said before, I really wanted this travelogue to be about the joys of travel, and frankly that wasn't just for your sakes it was for my own too... because there were times where I needed this outlet to remind myself of the same thing. There have been a few times where this travelogue has really been a bit of a lifesaver for my spirit and has helped me to channel my positive energy when I needed it, which has been a wonderful gift for me. So it's an added bonus that people have actually been reading it and enjoying it... but the gift to me has really been that I've had the outlet to create this for you.

***And before I go on... for anyone who is talking to my mother (Alex, Nicole, etc.), PLEASE downplay what I'm about to say when you talk to her because I AM FINE. I have even called her, so she suspects nothing of this. Last thing that anyone needs is for her to have a stroke or heart attack from worry... so PLEASE don't give her a reason. Once again, I AM FINE. Thanks.***

So here goes... the fact is that yesterday, for the first time since May 6, little bits of hearing started coming back into my left ear. Prior to that, all I've had has been tinnitis and the loud sound of my heartbeat. (The really good part being that I HAVE a heartbeat to hear!) Anyhow, the medicine the Turkish doctor gave me after the initial injury didn't work AT ALL, and apparently the Greek doctor's treatment is starting to take a bit of effect, which is a huge relief. Today I'm hearing even more, but it basically sounds like a very badly blown stereo speaker. It's like a weird drug trip. I can't even explain how it sounds... but the point is that it actually SOUNDS!!! That I'm improving makes me incredibly thrilled, even though I know I have a way to go. After having no change for a while, at least I'm finally experiencing some progress, and it gives me hope that every day it might improve even more. That would be so nice!

I have come to terms with my hearing loss over the years so that's not even the issue for me... the issue is that while I love Vienna and my friend Burgi, I really don't want to live there forever. I would like to be allowed to fly safely home at some point. And until my ear is healed, I can't board a plane.

All of that aside, I can say that while it has not been the most fun thing to go through, I have really learned a lot from this experience as a human being. I'd say the biggest lesson I've learned from this trip on a whole is about appreciating things I take for granted. In Egypt, I began to truly understand for the first time all of the rights and freedoms we take completely for granted as Americans. Things I've just never thought twice about before are forbidden in some countries, and experiencing that firsthand just blew my mind. And this ear thing has really taught me about appreciating our senses. It's not until they go away that you realize how incredible they are to have.

Another thing I've been reminded of on this trip is just how incredibly kind people are to strangers when they want to be. I knew this from other travels, but it's nice to see that no matter how cynical you may become, this fact stays the same and is proven time and time again. People are generally incredibly good in this world, despite how it may seem sometimes on tv.

I can tell you this, if you want to travel alone and be given a reason to really look inside of yourself and see what you are made of, try going half deaf on the road. If you think that a language barrier is tough, try having a language barrier AND deafness. What I've discovered... is that while at times my lack of hearing has turned me more introverted than I might normally have been (For a while there, I got very quiet because I got tired of being known as "The Girl With The Ear Problem." It actually made me a bit of a mini-celebrity in the town of Pamukkale. Not a lot going on in Pamukkale.), at times it's also brought people closer to me. Since May 6, I have had handfuls of examples of this. People can just be shockingly giving sometimes and it never ceases to inspire me when that happens organically.

I will give you an example. During my bus ride from Cappadocia to Pamukkale, I took some medicine and an older Islamic lady across the aisle was watching me carefully. She saw the cotton in my ear and pointed to her ear, basically asking if that was why I was taking the medicine. I nodded and she smiled so sympathetically that it almost broke my heart just seeing the expression on her face. For the rest of the trip, she offered me half of her food and drink (she had brought it with her). Then every hour or so, she would lean across the aisle, tap me and point to her ear and say, "You? Ok?" which was about as much english as she knew. To be honest, it's moments like that which really remind you of how much we all have in common as people, and that sometimes language isn't even necessary. Religion doesn't matter. Nationality makes no difference. For an entire bus ride, this woman mothered me as if I was her own child. And it's moments like that which comfort you to know that no matter what, you'll end up fine and that the world isn't a scary place to be out in. No matter where you go, there are good and bad people. And to be honest, there are many more good than bad. And since that's not what the evening news likes to tell us, it's a wonderful thing to be reminded of when you get away from the television and actually explore what reality holds for you.

I didn't have to go deaf to know this, but maybe deafness forced me to hear it a little louder.
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Comments

lishizzle
lishizzle on

don't give up on Moussaka
Moussaka is very good...just don't expect great food in Plaka or any tourist spot. Ask the locals where they eat, tell them you don't want a tourist spot.

I had GREAT food my first night in Athens (not Plaka), I asked the hotel for a spot to go (authentic) and was given directions to this house which was actually a restaurant. Great experience!! Literally, when I walked in it was like a classic scene of everyone stopped talking, a record player screeched, music stopped and everyone stared at me...like 'who the hell is that?'

It took me a good 10 minutes before the waiter would even seat me...think he thought I was lost. There were no menus, and the wait staff did not speak english nor did they want to (and why should they?). I just pointed to stuff that looked good on other tables. It was the most fabulous food I had in Greece, (next to Mykynos).

I too was weary of Moussaka, and I must share this story. I was in Santorini and asked the owner of my hotel (who was from Texas!) where to eat, her girlfriend recommended a restaurant that she worked at...I figured, what the hey, why not. The place was homey and looked like a family spot, I ordered Moussaka and they rushed back to the kitchen. (PS...something about Greece, they are always in a hurry to serve you) I was enjoying my wine thinking Ma and Pa Santorini were back in the kitchen throwing together Moussaka. Then I hear this bell, rather an all too familiar 'ding'....I said to myself, I did not just hear a microwave!? Sure enough, my Moussaka came out seconds after the bell and it was horrible. I went back to my room and had bread, feta, olive oil and tomatoes for dinner that I had bought at the local market. (Pack some up and take it on your ferry rides, its wonderful and beats the ferry food.)

Short story long, I had great Moussaka in Mykynos, we stayed on the low-key side of the island and it was fabulouso!!

Man...I want to go back to Greece!! Enjoy!!!

lynnster
lynnster on

Re: don't give up on Moussaka
No giving up to be had. I liked it! It was mighty tasty. The wine chaser was just my backup plan...

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