Showing posts from July, 2011


καλήνύχτα (pronounced "ka-lee-nikh-tuh") a.k.a. good evening!  Despite the confusion at the airport gates, an hour later our airplane touched down on the outskirts of Athens, Greece.  After just two days in Athens and two on Santorini we hopped on the bus to Πειραιάς a.k.a. Piraeus, Greece for another two.

Having stayed at the Athens Hilton already (near the area of Evangelismos) the suburb of Piraeus appeared sketchy at first glance.  The roads were puddles of dirty water; graffiti was rampant; water from the gutters on the first floor dropped onto the few, innocent people on the sidewalk; stray dogs tangled with other strays who crossed into the wrong territory but [thankfully] paid no attention to people; the city's streets seemed closed off and menacing;

Mom & I barely made it to the nearby restaurant -- Radiko -- by closing time.  Now we had adjusted to the typical Greek schedule which meant no breakfast, lunch around 12:00-14:00, and dinner at 21:00 at the ear…

Good spirits

The best feature about The Tataki Hotel: its prime location in central Fira. The worst feature about The Tataki Hotel: its prime location in central Fira.

At 1:00 I was lying awake in bed, listening to all the ruckus at the bars and "YMCA" by The Village People from a nearby discoteque. At 2:00 I tried my hardest to tune out "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls and assumed the clubs would be closing soon (like in the U.S.A.) At 3:00 I was irritated and perplexed to still hear "Hit The Road Jack" by Ray Charles booming. At 3:30 I contemplated popping a Dramamine to counteract the 24 hour club and its blaring bass.

Needless to say the next morning was rough.  My body wanted to rest but my mind wouldn't keep quiet.  It kept reminding me of a rebellious phrase: I'll sleep when I'm old.

Initially, Mom & I planned on visiting quite a few sites on Santorini's southern half: Kamari (a quiet, black sand beach) & White Beach (aptly named for its whi…

When the ocean met the sky

"I'm gonna carry you in, in my head, in my heart, in my soul...
And maybe we'll get lucky and we'll both grow old

Well I don't know, I don't know, I hope so

The ocean breathes salty, won't you carry it in?
In your head, in your mouth, in your soul?

The more we move ahead the more we're stuck in rewind
Well I don't mind, I don't mind, how the hell could I mind?"
-- Modest Mouse

I awoke to a hot hotel room but as soon as I opened the window I felt the cool, Mediterranean breeze and was blinded by the intense sunlight.  These factors made the day's temperature perfect.  To avoid my morning ritual of vomiting, Mom & I raced to a nearby creperie.  Much to my surprise the egg in the crepe was a chopped up hard-boiled egg, but it tasted very good.  Despite suddenly feeling queasy, major heartburn, and a 10 minute hiccup session, I did not throw up... thank God!

Our original plan was to hop on a ferry to Folegandros -- another Greek isle -- be…

The company

"Let us rise up & be thankful
for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little
and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick
and if we got sick, at least we didn't die
So, let us all be thankful"

-- Buddha

I went to bed around 23:00 local time (it seems every country except the USA uses military time so I permanently converted) and briefly awoke at 3:00.  I figured I should eat a snack since my stomach had been upset since the start of these holidays a.k.a. vacation.  The alarm clock went off at 7:30 because Mom and I had a flight to Greece's most famous isle: Santorini.   
Immediately, I went to the bathroom and threw up.  This stomach ailment was becoming chronic and ruining my trip!  I opted to take a nausea pill I had brought from home for emergencies.  Obviously that didn't work because 30 minutes later I was praying to the porcelain gods again.  Now I was getting nervous: the medicine wasn't working  (for thos…

It's all Greek to me

Γειά σου (pronounced "yah-soo")a.k.a. hi!  The day after arriving in Athens I was still feeling queasy, threw up my breakfast, and went back to bed until 13:00.  The original plan was to visit to the ancient site of Delphi but that was a two hour bus ride, one way.  Not exactly what I wanted to do while sick to my stomach & jetlagged.
After we walked uphill for 6 blocks, Mom and I discovered our restaurant of choice was closed.  Apparently it was a "bank holiday" in Greece.  In addition to the tavernas a.k.a. restaurants, many of the street kiosks -- which sell gum, snacks, drinks, cigarettes, newspapers, and postcards -- were closed too.  Ironically, there was a kiosk on every block in this city of three million people, but on the day I needed food none were open. 

We continued upward and eventually found a taverna that was open.  It had only two rows of tables outside on the severely slanting pavement.  Inside was the entire kitchen.  Still ill, Mom & I …


It was dusk on Sunday, June 12, 2011, as I literally and figuratively collapsed. 

My mother & I left our homes at 9:00 AM on Saturday.  As mentioned in past blog entries, two years ago I traveled for two full days from Australia without even getting a headache.  Now, at age 27, I felt terribly crook a.k.a. sick even before my mom and I arrived in Athens, Greece.  Aside from exhausted, I felt disappointed.  When did I transform into the worst traveler?  When I was in middle school, I used to fly from Ohio to California, to somewhere foreign, back to California, and finally back to Ohio every summer.  I could pass out in the middle seat of an airplane 30 minutes after take-off.  However, on this particular journey I slept in 30 minute increments for two hours at best.  I couldn't make my neck feel comfortable despite the complimentary airline pillow and wadding up my jacket to use as a second pillow.  On solid ground, I still felt like I was being bounced around in the jet.