Saturday, September 22, 2007

We Have Arrived in Greece

It was a rough trip to Greece. I had purposely scheduled us a long time at Kennedy Airport, having heard about all the delays there. But of course the delays are more getting OUT of there than getting in. The delays are caused by overuse, same as when you have gridlock on an interstate highway. At JFK at any given time, there are at least 20 planes waiting for take off – per runway! And those same runways are also shared by incoming aircraft. The result, for us, is that we were supposed to take off at 4:30 p.m., and indeed, we were all boarded and ready for an on-time departure, but it was 7:10 before we took off.

We missed our connecting flight in Athens by about 10 minutes. The next flight to Thessaloniki that had any seats left was in six hours. Two earlier ones were full. The only amusement by then was when I paid attention (for once) to the little safety spiel they always give you before taking off. You know the drill. The stuff about the oxygen masks, ect. They drop down automatically. You pull firmly down on yours, place it over your nose and mouth, fit the elastic behind your head, and breathe normally; but in Greek, they tell you to breathe “canonically.”

Then there was the question of which flight(s) our luggage had taken. However, with some help from Lost and Found, we located all our bags without too much trouble.

Christos was there to meet us, Demetrios’ brother. Kostas and Mena came, too, our dear friends. I cried as I hugged Mena. Usually do.

Mena took us home to her house and fed us a simple meal that looked and tasted like chili but was just beans, plus some salad. Then, home for a desperately needed rest.

We slept 10 or 12 hours, I suppose. Maybe more; who’s paying attention?

Today we began unpacking and cleaning. I had left this place spotless, but that was over a year ago. Furthermore, somebody has obviously been cooking in here and using the washing machine. My brother-in-law looks after the place and takes care of bills for us (out of the money we give him) and so forth, so I don’t mind his using the place when he is in town. Except for having to clean up afterwards. To give credit where it is due, he tried. He did his best.

Something black has been poured down our brand new toilet and I’m having trouble getting it out. We shall have to inquire about that.

We went around to the supermarket for a few toiletry items. We usually try to avoid the supermarket in favor of the mom-and-pop stores, but you can’t get everything in those. After the supermarket, on to our favorite neighborhood grocery store, where we got hugs and greetings from Nikoletta and Stelios, proprietors. We bought some of Nikoletta’s homemade eggplant salad, delicious, and some cheese and olives and tarama (Greek caviar). Plus some of my favorite yogurt, made with sheep’s milk. I eat it for breakfast with honey. We also bought sultanas, a white grape that is in season, the sweetest, most tender grape in the world.

On the way back, we met Zesis, our downstairs neighbor. Next thing we knew, his wife, Thomai, was up here with hugs and kisses and exclamations. What a love!

After lunch on our balcony, we had long naps.

In the early evening, took a walk around the neighborhood, being careful first to tuck a baggie full of dry cat food into my purse. Sure enough, we encountered a whole host of scrawny, feline friends.

We walked to a fast food place where I had souvlaki and Demetrios had gyro. Then, on to the waterfront park. We just stood there for a while admiring the sea and the sky and the ships, all lit up for the night. Back home past a sweets shop, where we got ice cream cones, lemon for me, fig for him. Yup, fig ice cream!

WORST news of the day: Dad has had another fall. This time he is hurt, although with no broken bones, thanks be to God. The nurses’ aide came to fetch him to the dining room for supper last night and found him on his bathroom floor, unable to get up. Of course the alarm would have been sounding, as it always does when he gets out of bed, but nobody ever responds. The staff just do not care and are quite rude when their duty is pointed out to them.

BEST news of the day, of the year: My sister, Barbara reports that her full-body PET-scan shows she is tumor-free! Alleluia! Nothing, not even Dad’s fall, can take away the joy of that! Glory to God!


William Weedon said...

Tumor free? Praise to the Blessed Trinity!!!

DebD said...

Sounds delightful (except for the getting there). It makes me long for overseas traveling again.

I'm sorry about your father. But was overjoyed with Barbara's email!