Tuesday, December 27, 2005

wierdest Christmas ever

but in a good way. This whole trip has a slightly surreal quality, like I've slipped out of ordinary time. The weather feels like March to me; the sun shines far too much for December (not that I'm complaining); the streets are lined with trees laden with oranges. Impossibily old ruins coexist with bustling, grimy modern Athens.
On the 23rd I finally made it to Eleusis. Got on the right bus this time, and rode an hour to the outskirts of Athens. The ruins of Eleusis are bizarre juxtaposition of ancient temples surrounded by used car lots and factories. I was alone, except for a very large Greek man who always seemed to be tailing behind me (unnerving). And the cafe across the street insisted on blasting "Jingle Bells" over and over. Hard to believe it was one of the holiest sites in ancient Greece. I liked seeing the house of the priestesses though.
Spent Christmas Eve at Delphi, wandering among the cat-covered ruins (I have never seen so many stray cats in my life; every archaeological site here has cats lounging on ancient marble columns, soaking up the sun), being awed by the mountain vista. No wonder they had an oracle here. I went with the InstaFriends that you make at hostels, my roommates of a day and half at that point; a Yank and two Canadians, all expats like myself. Katy's from San Francisco, studying in Paris; I'm bunking with her over the New Year and saving myself the cash. Monty is from Alberta and Marie-Eve from Quebec so they spent the next three days arguing the intricacies of Quebecois separatism.
That evening we joined up with another American and another Quebecois, Olivier, for a big Christmas dinner at a local Greek restaurant. Complete with live music; the bouzouki player kept checking his cell phone between his solos. I've fallen off the vegetarian wagon slightly; I'm in Greece, man, I gotta try the moussaka! But mostly I've been living off spinach pies.
After dinner I read everyone's tarot cards. On the bus to Delphi I made the mistake of admitting that I had brought my deck with me, and everybody wanted to know about their love life and career. I've been studying tarot for about two years but I'd never read for anyone but myself before; but it went really well. I had a lot of fun; so if worse comes to worse I guess I can always set up a booth at Renaissance Faires...
Everything has been closed the last two days; the four of us mostly wandered around and drank coffee. Christmas night we climbed to the top of Phillappapos Hill, the Hill of the Muses. Of all the ancient sites I've seen, the Hill of the Muses affected me the most; I've decided that my private spiritual beliefs are less influenced by marble temples and ancient societies than by just nature itself. Statues are cool and all, but I'd rather just sit under a grove of olive trees and enjoy the sunshine.
Went to the National Archaeological Museum today and saw the ancient Neolithic goddess statues. I think I sprained my eyeballs, I rolled them so much as I read the captions describing Neolithic "man" and "his" creative expression. Because women aren't artists, you know, and Neolithic women made only babies...
Found some more bookstores; no Sappho. I despair. I don't know what's wrong with people; I can get the collected works of Browning here, for crying out loud! Did end up spending far too much money on Karen Armstrong's A Short History of Myth, which is an appropriate choice, I think.
Will spend the next couple of days reading and wandering some more, I guess; my roommates have scattered to Crete and elsewhere. I'm reserving Crete for sometime in the future; I'll go home and save my pennies and have Carol Christ show me around properly.


At 6:24 AM, Blogger Winter said...

It sounds fantastic ...and somewhat better than being stuck in Cardiff with a urinary infection!

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Hush said...

It does sound amazing and a much more interesting Christmas than stuffing your face and watching bad TV (which is what I did)!

Hope you have a fantastic New Year :-)

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Athana said...

I don't know about your gaydar for women, but your radar for the spiritual seems in fine order, andygrrl: the natural world is where it's at. And the Hill of the Muses is, of course, where you'd blossom -- you're a muse yourself!

Happy 2006!

At 6:58 PM, Anonymous roro said...

Your Greek adventure sounds amazing. Am so glad you managed a taste of Boris Karloff so far from home. As for no Sappho in the bookstores - outrageous! I look forward to buying friends and loved ones gift certificates from your upcoming feminist bookstore: "Sappho in Store".

Happy New Year!


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