Monday, September 24, 2007



We still haven’t yet adjusted to the time change. I think the problem comes not just from jet lag, but from the fact that until the day we came, Demetrios worked far too hard, too long, and too many hours, while I have been under enormous stress from various family situations. We still feel beat up, worn out, exhausted, sleepy, and without energy.

Yesterday morning we woke up at 9:30; church had started at 8:00, so we missed it altogether. Demetrios stayed an hour or so and then went right back to bed and slept most of the day.

We did make it to Vespers in the evening. We hopped on a bus (standing room only) downtown and went to the Church of St. Athanasios. They have some wonderful icons there, including one of my beloved St. Mary of Egypt. And one of Martyr St. Barbara. I took the opportunity of thanking my sister’s patroness for her prayers. (Not to worry, all you children of the Reformation! I did not neglect to prostrate myself before the icon of Christ before kneeling in front of St. Barbara’s. I reverenced Him in His own body as well as in hers.) I cried my way through Vespers, then sobered up for the Akathist that followed. We left after that service, although a third service of some sort had begun.

We walked to the White Tower, a fortification on the waterfront remaining from the ancient city wall. It is to Thessaloniki what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, or at least that is the comparison travel magazines make. It may be saying too much. The White Tower houses a museum now. We went to the White Tower in search of what Demetrios assured me was a well-known restaurant "across from it" with the best meatballs in town. We never found the restaurant and nobody we asked knew it, but the evening walk was pleasant.

So we caught a bus back to our neighborhood, where we had seen a restaurant in whose front window was a charcoal pit with a whole lamb roasting on the spit. That was Saturday we saw the lamb. Turns out they only serve charcoal grilled lamb Saturday nights and Sundays at lunch. Another time! What they had this time was delicious pork chops.

Passing a sweets shop on the way home, we bought a “pasta,” a confection half cake and half chocolate mousse, with crème and a cherry on the top, and took that home to share on our balcony. We sat in the dark, listening to the voices floating in the air, especially two little girls on two different balconies, across the street from each other, managing to have a game together that way.

The doves that used to roost on our balcony have not made an appearance. We miss their soft coos in the morning. Perhaps they are no longer alive, or perhaps it is the wrong season for them, although there are a few others in the neighborhood. There are no signs of them on the balcony railing, but that may be only because Christos, my brother-in-law, cleaned up before we came.

“Our” cat Oedipus Rex (“Eddy Puss Rex”), the feral cat with the broken foot the vet could not repair, has also not showed himself so far. We are still hopeful. The cat box I had placed for him in the parking lot is still there. I retrieved the blanket I had put in it a year and a half ago, and brought it home and laundered it. Somebody will use it, even if not Oedipus.

Today we thought of visiting Christos, but the thought was unappealing because of our low energy. In the event, Christos saved us the trouble by showing up here. He and Demetrios went to the phone store and came back with one land-line phone and one cell phone.

The land-line has limited minutes, so is cheap enough to keep even when we are not here. That will be a nice change from having to go through this on each and every visit to Greece, with a different phone number each time, to boot.

The cell phone is more expensive but, in a foreign country whose language I barely speak, it was imperative. New house rule: whoever is gone from the house carries the cell phone, turned on!

By tonight, our friends will all have our number and then the fun will begin in earnest!

Of course, as long as the cell phone is turned on, Big Brother will also be able to track our every move. We consider that tyranny, here as in the States, but there isn’t much we can do about it. Christos says the new identity cards in Greece also have global positioning chips in them, so the government can tell where you are at all times -- speaking of tyranny. He also says the newer televisions are rigged so that “they” can see YOU. No idea whether this is true. It would be interesting to find out. That would be pretty bad, to have to be mindful about what you wear and do while watching television.

While Demetrios and Christos were gone, I did my very favorite thing to do here, which, strangely enough, is hanging out my laundry! I don’t know what it is about pinning the laundry to the clotheslines just outside my balcony, but I just love doing it! Maybe it’s the least tourist-like thing I do; maybe it makes me feel some connection to all the other women around here who are doing the same thing. Maybe I even feel connected to the women who have been doing this here for thousands of years! (This city was founded by Alexander the Great and named after his sister – and evangelized by Sts. Paul and Barnabas.) Maybe it’s just all those white, clean things, blowing gently in the sunshine. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s an art to this chore. You have to be careful, for example, to check your sheets before pinning them out, in case you’ve got some other article caught up in side. You do not want your damp lingerie to blow into a nearby tree-top or drop on some unsuspecting pedestrian. Well, whatever the reason, I get huge satisfaction out of this housewifely activity.


DebD said...

sounds like a satisfying and relaxing weekend.