Bleary eyed, bed-gazing, back is talking, but here I write. I've spent the last eleven hours with some of the most inquisitive people I've ever known. They wanted to know. Everything.
The only break I got from unleashing all of the lines I've ever learned was at the Naos cafe under the temple of Poseidon at Sounio, where they charge three euros for an espresso because they have the advantage of being the only ones there at the nose of the horse's head, the shape of the land of Attica.
Naos means temple.
It is "SOAN" when you spell it backwards. It doesn't mean anything I just thought I would point it out.
Wild grouse are protected here and hop like turkeys freely from the ground to the linen-covered tables, eating sugar substitute packets like the grackels do in Texas, only they're bigger, floppier, with giant orange feet and an akward, clumsy landing.
I was watching this when my break officially ended, the group calling me over to ask about restaurants for dinner, handing me maps and pens and phone numbers so that I might concierge my way into a thirty euro tip, just enough to cover the long sleeved shirt I bought because it was so unusually cold today, a bag of pistachios and sesame balls so that they might have a snack on their way down from the Acropolis... the one euro bus ticket I had to buy because Nikos got a last minute gig and after we dropped them, turned to me and said "Sorry Paige I can't take you home..." well, it means the trip cost me one euro.
Still, it was a Maxfield Parrish sky at the hour that I'd finished. Walking back down the quieted Syngrou Avenue had me playing the "maybe that's why..." game. Every shadow on the honey-lit columns, the temple of Zeus against the cadet blue sky had my little painter's heart singing.
"Maybe that's why I had to walk so far to find a kiosk selling a bus ticket..." my inner optimist said.
And as I watched a girl on the bus answering a text message from someone she clearly was lighting up inside for, her smile spreading all over her whole body...
"Maybe that's why I ended up on this bus."
The good people of Hong Kong no longer think their trip has been ruined due to the threat of another strike and volcanic ash looming in the atmosphere. Nikos may or may not think I'm a competant and useful assistant that he intends on using for more of his missions. I may never paint a sky as well as Maxfield Parrish, but by golly I'm going to have a good sleep tonight, and I almost broke even by telling stories about the gods.
Was a pretty good day.
"What do you do?" she asked, as I was putting on my shoes. "I'm a painter," I said. "House?" she asked. "Picture," I said. "Okay," she said, "but what do you actually do?"