Thursday, June 28, 2007

This Just In

As reported in the International Herald Tribune Today:

(Reprint not by Permission!)

International Traveler Update


Temperatures in Greece rose to record-breaking levels in a heat wave that has already killed five people, let to dozens of forest fires, power cuts and disruptions at archaeological sites like the Acropolis.

A meteorologist, Manolis Anadranistakis, said Wednesday that the temperature of 44.8 degrees Celsius (112.6 Fahrenheit) in central sthe day before had been the hottest since temperatures were first tracked there in 1897. The heat hit 36.2 degrees Celsius (115.2 Fahrenheit) in the Athens suburb of Philadelphia, where records began 52 years ago.

Employees at state-run museums and archaeological sites threatened to walk off their jobs. "Marble reflects the heat - temperatures reached 55 degrees Celsius under the sun at the Acropolis," a labor leader, Costas Oikonomou said Wednesday.

Temperatures were expected to drop below 40 degrees (104 Fahrenheit) starting Thursday.

Yes, folks, we are the harbingers of bad/hot/wet weather, where ever we go. . .

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Day at the Beach

Forgive me any typos, it is so difficult to see the computer screen through the sweat pouring off my brow. . . And the fact it requires me to leave the bedroom, the only AIR CONDITIONED room in the house, to do so. . .

In response to the unbearable heatness of being, we decided to escape to the coast for the weekend. I thought it would be wise to leave Friday night, but Fantastic Man cabashed that and we left on Saturday morning. Our destination? The Eden Beach Resort on Sounion Road on the way to the Temple of Poseidon (those who were here and made the trip, it's on that road).

Snagged the LAST TWO seats on the bus at 9:40 Saturday morning and had a nice AIR CONDITIONED ride to the hotel. Arrived at 11, checked in, cranked the AIR CONDITIONING in our room, put on our suits and hit the pool.

Oh wait. Not true. First we had to plunk down 38 Euro (yes, that is almost $50US) for two beach towels, because apparently in Greece a Beach Resort does not provide you with towels by the pool, but they do provide you with a boutique where said objects can be purchased for outrageous amounts of money.

But, in a fashion totally unlike me, I willingly payed and hardly bitched at all. Nor did I even worry/care/obsess (hardly at all!) about putting on my bathing suit for the first time in over a year, at my most fattest in over a year. . . I just rolled with it, kinda like a roly-poly! No pictures, though. Hardly took any pictures at all.

Got spots in the shade. Swam in the water (which was a salt water pool, how odd). Heaven.

At 2 PM we moved to the beach, had lunch at the cafe there, watched the people, realized you probably had to arrive around 6:30 AM to get a chair with an umbrella, and went back to the poolside.

Swam. Slept. Burned.

Cleaned up for dinner (included in our room rate! Nice surprise), but first decided to go and watch the sunset at the beach bar. Had a couple frosty beers, watched the sun disappear into the haze, enjoyed a nice breeze off the sea. Watched the Greeks continue hanging in their chairs under the umbrellas til well past 8 PM. Realized we were not fully accustomed to "beach lifestyle".

Went to dinner at about 9:15 and seriously ate the worst meal ever in Greece. Dog food buffet. But, we were a little buzzed up and it filled the pit. No nightlife to speak of, went back to the AIR CONDITIONED room. Slept for TWELVE HOURS! Missed breakfast.

Did manage to find some coffee, get acclimated to being vertical, check out by noon. Spent the afternoon enjoying the pool, some Stella Artois', a nice Ceasar Salad, and the shade. Jumped the 4 PM bus back to Athens, back in the hot 'hood around 6. Stopped and had a couple beers on the way home.

Sign said it was 42' C (107' F) at 7 PM. Egads.

Unpacked, took cold showers and went to Pizza Hut and sat in the AIR CONDITIONING until 10 PM.

Confessions of a tired traveler. . . Last week we actually ate at TGI Friday's one night for dinner. Not that we were to lazy to walk further (which we were, and the Friday's is right on our corner), but we thought that possibly being an American chain restaurant, it might be MORE AIR CONDITIONED than a "Greek" restaurant. It wasn't, but it was more overpriced than a "Greek" restaurant. So, chalk up one TGI Friday's visit and one Pizza Hut visit and one Hard Rock Cafe Happy Hour for our 4 months in Athens. Not bad.

It is SOOOOO hot. But, it does look like it will cool down this week, only be in the 90's, and they are calling for 68 in the evening on Monday, July 2. PLEASE LET THAT BE TRUE!

Anyway, you know what we will be doing every weekend starting at 7 PM on Friday until the time we leave here. Us and the entire population of Athens will be beach bound. And next Tuesday night, too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Sundae Sunday, Drugs, and a Discourse on TP

Those of you who know Fantastic Man know that he doesn't eat sweets very often. In fact, he sometimes almost tips his nose down in disdain at those of us who absolutely need chocolate in order to survive. So, it was quite surprising on Sunday when we went over to Thissio to have a late lunch and enjoy the sunshine, and FM ordered a chocolate mocha sundae for lunch and a large vanilla shake to wash it down with. WTH? I, of course, gained 3 pounds just watching him eat it. I'm sure he considered it a "light lunch", as it really is a liquid, right? Dang. I hate him and his metabolism.

Finally got off my duff and made dinner last night, including a salad despite my "brush with death" the last time I made one. Dined al fresco on the patio, was lovely. Okay, enough cooking for a week. . . heehee.

So surprised at the disparity of drug prices here. Most things aren't cheap, but those drugs that border perscription/non-perscription are inexpensive. For example, my high blood pressure pills are $10/month at home. Here, they are 4 Euro. At home my inhaler costs $25 stinking dollars. Here, 4 Euro. Why do we pay so much at home for drugs that are generic, have paid for their patent by a million times, and we usually need to go to the doctor to get a perscription for? So troubling. . . Can't buy any valium or anything "fun" though. . . Sigh.

Okay, there's this guy here named Fred (name changed to protect identity) who FM works with. His family recently has come to visit. This conversation took place at work, so I have to rely on FM's memory, which can be a little sketchy, but anyways. . .

FM: So, how's the family visit going?
Fred: Man, I can't believe how much toilet paper they use.
FM: What do you mean?
Fred: Well, when I got here (NOTE: that would be in FEBRUARY) I went down and bought two rolls of toilet paper and carried them to the house. And last week, I had to go buy two more!
FM: Two ROLLS? Or two packages?
Fred: Two rolls.
FM: For four months? Two rolls?
Fred: Yea, and now I'm probably going to have to get two more. I don't know what they are doing with it!

I think I have an idea what they are doing with it. My question is, what is Fred doing WITHOUT it?

Two rolls, four months. Not an equation I'm familiar with. Then again, maybe I'm just a "waste-full" person

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

How I Concussed Myself, Or Was Abducted by Aliens. . .

A boring weekend with Fantastic Man working WAY too much. Put in 16 hours on Friday, 11 on Saturday and 8 on Sunday. I was going through major FM withdrawal. Should be the same as during the week, but I didn't get my FM-facetime. Missed him. . .

Sunday night was relatively calm, went out and had a bite to eat, came back and watched a movie (?what movie. . . hmmmm. . . oh yea, Hollywoodland, about George Reeves, the orginal Superman's murder/suicide. How strange his last name was Reeves, never made that connection with MY superman, Christopher). A normal Sunday evening.

Except I woke up Monday groggy, dizzy, light headed and with a headache (and no, this is not normal, despite my lifestyle). I wandered around feeling odd for a while, then went back to bed. . . until 11 AM! Got back up, was on the computer, and rested my left side of my head in my hand, and OUCH! Sent shooting pains all through my head and body. Upon further investigation, found my head to be all swollen, right above my ear. Took some aspirin and laid around for a little while longer.

What the HECK? Did I bang my head on something in the night? Did FM kick me in the head (I probably deserve it sometimes)? Did aliens come down from space and put a brain probe in, providing themselves with liquor soaked brain matter to dissect? It is a mystery.

I still have an egg sized lump just behind and above my ear.