Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"if not, winter"

Fragment, Sappho

Well, here I am. In Athens.
I'm glad I came. I think I needed this, the sunshine and the solitude. And the sandals. It was the sandals that convinced me, in the end. I read about The Poet's Sandal Shop in my Let's Go Guide, traditional Greek sandals handmade by a man who also composes poetry. And I knew I had to have them. So my first day I visited the Acropolis, like you do, bought my postcards, and wandered around the narrow streets of Plaka until I had my very own pair of Mycenean style sandals. Too bad it's too cold to wear them.
I visited the Acropolis again today; my camera battery died yesterday morning, so I didn't have any pictures. So I spent the solstice watching the waning moon rise (set?) over the Parthenon. Tried to think apropriately deep and profound thoughts suitable to the occaision, but mostly found myself contemplating my lunch ("Let's see, that vegetarian restaurant opens at 12, it's 11 now, so factor in walking time...Shit! Profundity! Need more profundity! Okay, um...'Time is an illusion. Lunch time doubly so.' There, that'll do.")
Actually, it's a surreal experience, trying to celebrate the darkness and waning light in a country that ain't hurting for sunshine in the depths of winter. I suppose I should have thought of that before (duh). As for the Parthenon, well, it's the Parthenon. It's really big and really fucking old and has a spectacular view of smog-covered Athens; it's almost anti-climatic, really, places like this. They're so steeped in history and significance that it really doesn't register. The park's nice though; I wandered around beneath the olive trees until I heard Eastern-style chanting, and discovered a chorus of Greek Orthodox priests singing in a church from the umpteenth century. And the night before I spied on an Orthodox service at the Church of the Metamorphosis on my street. I feel strangely disconnected, surrounded by a totally unintelligable language, pagan relicts, an unfamiliar form of Christianity, cut off from my friends and family. Not an unpleasant feeling, necessarily. There's a certain freedom to it that I relish. But it's not really a comfortable feeling either.
I managed to find an English-language bookstore today, the Compendium. They don't have Sappho either. A bookstore. In Greece. With a section devoted to Greek literature. Has no Sappho. My head almost exploded in frustration. You can get your copies of FHM and Maxim there though, thank goodness. I mean, if men didn't have their various sexual wants met at every minute of every day everywhere the planet would stop spinning on its axis and we'd all be flung into outer space. And that's just no fun.
I am so starting my own feminist bookstore when I get back to the States. I've been fantasizing about it for a while, actually. Fuck. this. bullshit.
(Had to get that off my chest. Feel much better now.)
Well, that's about it. I'm going to try to find some Greek food that doesn't involve slaughtered baby animals, and hang out in my hostle room listening to the bouzouki players in the street below. Whatever y'all may or may not celebrate this time of year, hope it's great.


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