Tuesday, December 16, 2008

tip of the day

Watch out for dogs and cats they'll break your heart. They talk a lot about the Oracle at Delphi but not much about the Delphic cats. There's a cafe by the museum and because it's December and there aren't many people (the Greeks all go skiing at the next town over, the only place it seems that's bumpin' this time of year) it turns into the cat cafe. There were 12 cats on the chairs and tables, and all the same family. Slim but not mangy, glossy coats. Some lazy eyes and sneezing but overall healthy for feral oracle cats. Up closer to the archaeological sight there was a different family tree, probably similarly branch-less but also similarly cute-full. The dogs all sleep in ruins and unfinished buildings and during the day follow people looking for food or just sleep and break your heart that way. All of them still have balls so Greece will have a supply of cute (and of hungry) for a long time to come. At least until someone starts a St. Patrick style crusade, but with dog and cat balls instead of snakes.

It's easier to hitch-hike to places than away, even if they are famous battle sights immortalized in movies like '300' and '305'. Seriously, be careful if you go to Thermopylae, because the site is poorly signed and it's really hard to figure out what the troop dispositions were and where the sea was 2500 years ago. Usually when you think of receding seas you think of epochs of geological history. But an exterminator who gave us a ride to Lamia when we couldn't get the way we wanted to get - which was because we didn't scout the highway ramps enough; maybe if Xerxes had scouted better he wouldn't have been stuck at Thermopylae either - said that 20 years ago the sea was at least a mile higher than it is now. All that land is being farmed. Old under-sea land doesn't seem like the best farm land to be but this is all Greek to me really.

Olives straight from the tree look like they should be more delicious for being so fresh, but eat them and they will fill your mouth with vile for hours. The first olive eaters must have been hungry. We have three bottles of olives we picked our second or third day here, so either we'll have some home/backpack-brined olives to share in the US or they'll get taken at customs and we'll slap our collective forehead in rage.

Athens is occasionally burning and people are getting beat by the police every day, and apparently riot police are the lowest paid civil employees and some have to work two jobs, which seems like a really bad combination. I'm crabby if I have to work one job, heaven help the Greeks if those crabbier two-jobbers get some R and R on Greek teenager head and not with a bottle of Mythos or Alfa.

Which reminds me, even though pilsners brewed without corn sugar really really make american pilsners taste like carbonated rice water/piss, holy crap there are only 8 different beers all of the same style in the entire country!