Monday, December 6, 2010

Arcadia in Athens

I made the mistake of not allowing much time for breakfast this morning. I assumed it would be the usual with coffee and a few different kinds of bread, but my goodness i was wrong. There was an elaborate spread of all kinds of food - hot dishes, cheeses, cold cuts, yogurt, jams, breads, dried rut, fresh fruit, the list goes on and on. I only had a few minutes so I took a croissant and a few dates, but if I'd had my wits about me i would have taken some yogurt at the very least. I love Greek yogurt when it's in Dannon form via New Jersey. I can only imagine what it's like here.

Jan, the director of the center here, met me in the hotel lobby and said we had some complications. Apparently today is the 2-year anniversary of the police shooting a 16-year old boy. There were huge riots at the time which you may remember reading about in the news. Police found weapon caches earlier this week and expected lots of demonstrations and riots today, so were closing off the city center. The Center is in a neighborhood away from downtown, so the day passed uneventfully in that respect. When it was time for me to return, the taxi driver could only leave me a couple of blocks from the hotel, no closer, but it was a good chance for me to observe the police in the streets. There were at least 20 motorcycles lined up, each with two officers. My hotel is opposite the parliament building, and it was lined in front with police officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder, with shields. I'm not sure if anything really happened, but now it appears that traffic is continuing as usual, so hopefully it was a peaceful day.

I have a new hero after this trip. Tina, Lucia, Patricia and Jan are all exceptional women and i want to be Ike them when i grow up. They are intelligent, curious, energetic and articulate. They all have a passion for the work that they do and seem to thrive on it. They also all have brown hair so at least i have one thing in common with them. ;)

Walking back to the hotel tonight, i had a feeling of elation that I was finished with the work part of the trip and could commence with the vacation. I celebrated by taking a nap (inadvertently). Now I'm having a beer in the hotel lobby, which is the only place that has wireless.

More from the island!

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