Monday, March 22, 2010


Picture to the left is the result of a strange obsession, that of taking photos of my coffee cup. This one was shot in the cafe rouge in Heathrow Airport where I arrived six hours before my flight, in the sleepy golden hours of the early morning when even the suitcase wheels roll in a hushed clackity-clack, just rolling politely along the marble so as not to cause a ruckus.

You'll notice my reading material was altogether a heady, cerebral selection chosen for me by one of my dearest friends who also has an affinity for a good yarn about bad vampires. Salem's Lot , no kidding, had me waking up in bed, in the middle of night, wondering how fast I could sprint to the bathroom and back to avoid something scary.

One of my favorite lines is not about vampires at all. It's personalized Autumn.

When fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass ... it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.

Fall is a better friend than I, who while having the decency not to smoke in your living room is not very ritualistic about giving updates on places I've been and things I've done since last I saw you. When I go back in the last three months and wonder where I should start the reporting it makes me break out in my best five year old, "too much work!" The inner five year old has worn down the inner grown-up with it's whining and foot-stamping and, well, the result is that I'm just going to start off with recent history. Stretching even back to Heathrow makes my head spin as that cushy six hour layover, combined with the coffee at Cafe Rouge having a reverse effect made me a smidge sleepy. I was lying at a perfect 45 degrees on a bench, drifting in and out when I overheard in an altogether familiar accent, "Mees Paige Moo-er, Wheel you come to gate 6 IMMEDIATELY, your flaight is waiting."
Imagine, here, a blur of red hair, flying boots, and a line of scowling Olympic Air employees, each taking their turn to shout something to the effect of "HURRY, MADAME! EVERYONE IS WAITING ON YOU!!!" The red blur was too embarrassed to apologise so I'll do it here. I apologise, flight OA260. I'm usually quite punctual.

SPRING has sprung in Athens, but it took it's own sweet time. The cafe umbrellas are going up and people are slowly accepting that the down parkas can be safely put toward the back of the closet. I went on a photo-taking spree in one of the Olympic game complexes, by the bay in Paleo Faliro.

It's not common to find a peaceful place to ride my ποδίλατο. My freedom on two wheels. But I've found such a place in this weird old stretch of marina and deserted stadiums, and today I found that my cycling refuge is also a ship graveyard! Below is a photograph of the Poseidon. If it's any reflection of its namesake, the sea god is in a sorry state indeed. I imagine, likewise, Aphrodite in the middle of some supermarket in her rollers and slippers, smoking a cigarette, and Dionysus is in a back alley, Pabst in a brown bag, yowling with the street cats.

But THIS Poseidon is a rusty, barnicled mystery that makes me want to write novels about ghost pirates and runaway duchesses. What's more is that he was not alone. He had a friend! The Apostolo, who was even more a mess than his neighbor, the sides piled with shoveled concrete rubble and toothy holes boring straight into it's steely gizzards. Imagine my surprise when I approached to take a picture and noticed some laundry dancing on a line stretched around the captain's post. Oh my heavens, it's somebody's house!

You must forgive the wonky posting of the photos; it's not something I've mastered. Yet. My hope is to overpass it as there should be a lot to document coming up in the very near future. March 25th is the anniversary of the start of the Greek Revolution, and it comes just before Easter this year which is a good week of partying. Roughly it means I shouldn't hope to so much as buy a stamp until after April 4th. The whole country will be too drunk on lamb and white wine, and this does not exclude yours truly. For a country in an economical crisis, the people in this country, at heart, know how to live a rich life. It's good to be back.