Sunday, April 26, 2009

travel terrors and small victories

well again i must say sorry for an unacceptably week-long gap in travel posts. i was without non-wireless internet and the only thing my glorious ipod cannot do is commune harmoniously with my blog. the two seem not to get along and so i just can't post unless i've got a real computer. you know. with a keyboard and larger than three inch screen. anyway, i'm back, to quote the terminator. and the good news is not much has happened since my last post and therefor, there isn't a whole lot of new adventure to catch up on. apparently i left my last post with a cliffhanger, a where is max going next sort of thing, and that was not intentional. i'm in greece people. i had a distictly unglorious time getting here though so let me tell you. first, i spent the afternoon of sunday the 19 wandering around bangkok focusing on not spending my money, as i remembered the expense of my taxi from the airport and wanted to make sure i had enough money to make it.
at about 8 pm i bid goodbye to my dear freinds from the suhkumvit soi 1 guesthouse and departed via hot pink cab to the airport (which i might add is an archetectural wonder, all vaulted glass and white metal, very modern and full of light, or glowing like some sort of phosforecent deep sea creature if you are veiwing it at night like i was. very modern) only to discover that the ride was over half as expensive going to the airport as coming from, maybe it had to do with the time too i'm not sure. but this meant i had a pocket full of baht which would have bought be an armful of sundresses and some funny obama t-shirts not to mentions a few sequined elephant wall hangings, if i had been on the streets of bangkok, but which barely was enough for a disapointing dinner and a 200 page paperback in the airport. at least i was able to get an emergency row seat and check in was fairly unharrowing. passport control was worse. turns out there is a form i was supposed to fill out and no one told me and there were no signs saying this, but when i got to the front of the line they told me, and i had to leave, fill out the form, then get back in line and wait all over again. felt foolish.
waiting, security (where they took everything out of my bag and searched it after running it through the x-ray machine seven times, and still were unable to detect what was causing the problem, then handed it all back to me in a messy pile and shooed me off without even allowing me to stuff it back into my bag-charming customer service that) waiting, boarding, waiting, taxing, taking off. once the plane was airborn the flight attendents decended in all their calm polite jewel toned sweetness, offering hot towels and light snacks and beverages. handing out headphones and menus (in thai, english and greek) and speaking in whispers. they never stumbled or bumped into anyone. never dropped a drink. it was like watching a dance. i love that airline. the meals were uneventful and the movies were none to exciting, to the point where they almost managed to lull me into sleep. i succeeded in snatching a few patchy hours sometime around the halfway point of the flight, but even with being able to streach my legs out all the way i was still uncomfortably aware i was sitting in a tight chair, and was unable to see this environment as condusive to comfortable sleeping. they brought the lights up for breakfast and and stealthily delivered more hot towels and toothbrushes to everyone who was awake. we landed smoothly and i did the math and realized that after a fourteen hour flight, it was about eleven in the morning in my head and not quite seven at the athens airport. what's better after exiting the plane, picking up my backpack and walking through customes without so much as a 'can i see your passport' (odd) i had the glorious pleasure of settling into the arrivals meet-and-greet area for a few hours to wait for my greek contact to meet me. i got coffee and i went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and attempt to comb my hair (i gave up when instead i broke off half the plastic tines) and read almost my entire book before i was delighted to be met by laurie and one of her daughters and shuttled out of the city by taxi.
and for the last week i have been in hiding, outside of athens, in a beautiful white house full of windows, covered in twining roses and succulents with seven turtles crawling with alarming swiftness across the grass (one is rather gimpy-only has three legs) also populated by several exhuberent dogs and a cat. i've been sitting on the porch and reading, or writing or just drifting off and pondering a bit while looking at the impossibly blue ocean down the hill. i've been picking up rest while i had the chance, without seven roomates to wake me up at six fifteen with their zippers and their plastic bags. it was calm and relaxing and i feel like i am finally rested. and then i was time for some adventure.
so i took off for athens and that was an adventure in itself. first the bus, where the driver was absent as it sat parked at the curb and you just walk on, where sweet looking greek grandmas dressed all in black spoke to me rapidly assuming (since i look so greek) that i spoke the language and not understanding 'sorry i don't understand' spoken in english, as explaining my situation and lack of understanding what they are saying, but continued on, just with more excited hand gestures. after an hour or so of that with only a vague idea of where everything was in a city i had never been to, i got off at the end of the line, at the akademia, or the athens university, and walked across the street to the metro where i bought a ticket and found my train (thankfully all the signage was is english as well) and got to the station closest to the hostel, which is located unhelpfully far from all the major attractions but has free internet and a basement bar, and anyway was where i was staying. and then i walked to the hostel, without a map, without a cell phone, without sidewalks, or good directions or any sence of where i was going. down streets where the name was only vaguely close to what i had writtin down but i had to assume was the street i was supposed to turn at. without a clue. and i found the hostel. and i did it on my own. oh praise the victorious max!


  1. all hail, my sense of imperssedness engulfs and overwhelms me

  2. all hail! my sense of impressedness overwhelms and engulfs me

  3. You may be missing Oakland but I bet the weather is SO much nicer where you are!