Tuesday, April 28, 2009

accropolian smooch-attacking

oh the glories of anciant ruins. really difficult to call something a structure or temple if it's a few toppled columns so i stick to ruins for technical purposes. second day in athens (really first whole day) yesterday and i decided to do the tourist attraction circit. it's fairly inexpensive and one ticket includes all of the sights. so i joined three english girls staying in my door and we ventured out of the hostel, and in completely the wrong direction for a good forty minutes before succesfully consulting a map and making our way to the metro.
side note: i'd just like to say that i LOVE the athenian train system. last night at dinner i heard some turkish kids on spring break griping about how it's the most difficult city in europe, bad signage and all that and i SO dissagree. i think i may be because they had the olyimpics here and had to have everything be tidied and clear and all. with english options all the time. cause the metro is perfectly organize and ful of wonderful greek/english signage. they even have little neons which demonstrate which direction the escalator is currently moving, up or down. and all the stops are announced by a calm female voice on the train and there are signs. and it is awesome.
so anyway, we got off at the acropolis stop only to discover that the entire street was being ripped to shreds by burly workman, who i might add lost no time in heckling us as we walked by. i question this practice as it seems ridiculously non-discriminatory. they will cat call you ALL the time, even when i was harrowed and haggared and hampered by a turtle like backpack. could they at least limit it to when you look nice, or mininally, clean? otherwise it seems rather disingenuine. anyway, after wandering around in a haze of confusion and motercycle exhaust we managed to locate to one acceptable entrance to the acropolis and got our tickets or in the girls case just flashed id that proved they were under nineteen. oh to be young and get free admission....anyway. they unfortunate thing is that the acropolis and the parthanon in particular are heavily under construction/renovations. so every photo was wreathed in scaffolding. not exactly picturest. i mean it was beautiful and awe inspireing to see these structures which seem impossibly massive, and the view of athens extending on forever was mesmerizing, but it's sort of one of those places that i hyped up in my head so much, and saw SO much in beginning western art history or ancient cultures classes, that it's not quite as exciting as it ought to be. the walk was beautiful, the sky was clear and the marble was shining (and slippery, there were several close calls, where i almost lost it and splattered myself all over the steep steps or uneven paving stones, good traction in ones shoes is a must) and it was lovely. as were the other sites we visited. at one point we climbed to the top of a rough rock outcropping, which turned suddenly into a precepis over looking gardens, and were met by a swarthy middle aged man who spoke with a thick accent. he told us that he would take our photo together, so we obliged. then he demanded we all removed our sunglasses so he could judge who was the most beautiful, his favorite, and we sort of looked shocked and weirded out and exchanged glances and then he chose rachel and handed her camera to me and told me to take a photo of them together ('stand real close' he told her) and just as i was about to take it he tried to kiss her full on and she turned and he got the side of her face and i managed to capture the look of started bewilderment awash over her features. brilliant moment. way crossing a line though. and then as if he sensed that lingering was not the best of ideas, he scampered away across the rocks towards a woman walking causiously and offered his hand in assistance and the whole thing began again. crazy.

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