Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm on a Boat

The view from the back of the Ferry.

The view of an island from the ferry.

The last night in Athens was a good way to cap off my four weeks of experience in the city. We found a picture perfect taberna two streets up from our apartment. The owner as usual haggled our group of five girls and one guy into the restaurant, but this Greek man was the most persuasive salesman. He offered us the college student dinner. As a father of two daughters also studying abroad, he had empathy for us in a foreign country. He said he wants his daughters to be treated like this so he was going to feed us right. For 10 euro, it was all you can eat of a variety of foods! The waiters, despite their lack of English, proved to be as sweet as the restaurant owner. We were served bread, tsatziki, garlic bread, spring rolls (phillo with ham and cheese inside), zucchini balls mmmm, breki mezdes, saganki, Greek salad, and watermelon and melon plate for dessert. The wine they gave us was very sweet and strong, so we didn’t have a lot of it. However, the waiters kept pouring more into our cups so we would stay longer. The dinners here are so integral to the culture. That, combined with my affinity for food, explains why almost every post includes something about our meals. One aspect of the food culture is that they eater later. When we are finishing up eating, is about the time that the native Greeks begin eating. Their meals also last longer and involve hours of conversation, mingling and lingering. The abundance of food at dinner makes up for their scant breakfast of frappe, cigarette and maybe a pastry. I trade that in for a fredduccino and spanakopita if I get breakfast. Most of the time I hold out until our lunch at the school cafeteria. The hospitality of the restaurant owner was a good end to my experience with native Athenians. Sam Southworth and I walked Andrew back to his apartment. After such a huge dinner, a walk in a cool Athens night was just what I needed. A long walk made the nights rest more like a nap before Sam Bruni and I woke up to catch our ferry in Piraeus. I was surprised at how smoothly and efficiently catching a taxi to Piraeus for 15 euro was as well as buying my tickets, storing our luggage in cargo and finding our seats. We had nice travel companions sitting next to us. There was a language barrier between a middle aged Greek woman and a stereotypical Greek grandmother but they managed to strike up a conversation. For a conversation based mainly on gesticulations and my limited Greek, it was fairly successful. We covered that I am from Chicago, a student studying in Paros and I like food. My favorite part when they pointed to my ring finger and asking about if I had a boyfriend/significant other. This was pretty amusing. The grandmother was sweet and cut me pieces of her apple and gave me candy. Sam didn’t accept it, but the grandmother tried to insist. The view from the ferries is gorgeous as well. The islands are gorgeous, the water is a shade of blue incomparable to any other shade I have seen and the skies are clear. I land in an hour in Paros and look forward to my anthropology class. I look forward to gaining even more insight and knowledge of the food, islands and people.

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