Having determined that the order of Germany is just far too anal-retentive for a proper vacation, I decided to get back to the chaotic ways I had grown accustomed to in my travels. Since I had originally planned to meet an acquaintance in Istanbul, but plans changed when he was unable to make it and I chose to see my brother instead, I split the difference and chose to fly to Athens. Here again I have to credit the Germans for having their poop in a group. Having flown a couple of German owned airlines now, I can tell you that you definitely fly with style. None of this surcharge for this, gouge you for that. No, no! The pleasant experience begins when you discover that the fare includes your checked luggage, and gets even better when you don’t have to take off your shoes through security. Nor do any of the airports here the “3-3-1” rule – why? Because it is a stupid rule meant to give you a false sense of security that doesn’t actually do shit. The Europeans know this and they also know that they don’t need to have pull something out of your bag to scan separately, that they can see perfectly fine as your bags goes through the screening process. (And if you saw how nasty the floor was at the airport in Rome, you would be singing Hallelujah right along with me about keeping your shoes ON).
a bit more progressive than other places in the Middle East, and my anxiety was also eased by the knowledge that I would be joining someone who has done quite a bit of travel to Turkey and knows many of the locals quite well. But, I feel that the Universe had other plans when he had to cancel his trip the exact same day that my brother had informed
me he would be in Munich for work. I don’t always see the big red truck, but this week I got to ride on it! Unfortunately, I got off a stop early when I made the choice to visit Greece. Several times I had expressed concern about whether I would actually be able to travel into or out of Greece given the ongoing personnel strikes, the volatile political environment and the sinking faster than quicksand economy. But, that bitch Athena kept whispering that I would always regret it if I didn’t come visit at least for a short time. (If you don’t know the story of Athena, she is the goddess of wisdom and war. This to me is an oxymoron, which explains a lot about the city of Athens actually……)
This is one of those times that I needed an intervention on my trip – I needed my brother, Mr. Google, to advise me to check the news before getting caught up in my romantic thoughts. The first clue I was headed for was an announcement from Luftansa that the flight from Munich to Athens would be delayed at least 3 hours because air traffic control
in Greece was running with minimal staff. They were coordinating landings as quickly and as safely as was possible, but with only three men responsible for hundreds of flights, they could not land as many planes as normal. Having traveled quite a bit in my life, I understand flight delays happen, so I continued to work on my homework, drank café lattes (which Luftasana generously provides to all of the passengers in their waiting areas – can you say awesome?), without giving myself cause to worry. About two-and-a-half hours later, the announcement was made that they were going to allow the plane into the country, so we all needed to get our asses in our seats pronto! And boy do Germans know how to do pronto. As a matter of fact, none of the flights in Europe have required the retarded boarding process that we are subjected to in the States. You are not assigned a group number to which you must stand in waiting to board, or the whole boarding by rows process that no one seems to ever understand – they just tell you “get on the plane, we leave in 15 minutes.” And everyone gets on the plane, puts their crap away, sits down, and they’re ready to go in 15 minutes. (Why do we continue to allow companies and our government to dumb down its citizens, I ask?) Germans, however, can complete the
boarding process in 10 minutes (they get the gold star of super efficiency yet again).
predicament (a man’s gotta feed his family ya know?) and agreed, as long as he could direct me to Omonoia Square from the drop-off point, to which he obliged and said it was no more than a 10-minute walk.
driver, gave him my money and hopped out of the limo heading in the direction
of the route he described. I walked as quickly as I could, not stopping to talk to anyone, nor stopping to gaze too long at the rapidly increasing number of homeless people sleeping on each street I passed, all the while trying to avoid the piles of garbage accumulating on the sidewalks and spilling over into the streets (the strike has affected trash collection as well and it effing smells like a DUMP here, a DUMP).
same room. Regardless of the fact that “non-smoking” was clearly posted on the front door and inside the room, there was an ashtray on the desk in my jail cell…peculiar…yet, I am too tired to care…