DAY 33

I saw something for the first time yesterday. Something never seen before by me.


The real kind. Not a homeless person looking for a hand out on Duval. The homeless receive some degree of care in the U.S. A place to sleep at night, cots, showers, at least one good meal a day.

The beggars I viewed seemed to have nothing. They looked pathetic. Quite frankly, as a visitor to Athens I found it abhorrent that some social network was not available to help these persons. This is the same Greece that I spoke about on my international internet show several monrths ago. The Greece that was preparing to give life pensions to pedophiles. Life pensions instead of life prison terms. To child abusers. While those begging and with serious problems receive nothing.

What did I see?

I was walking on a main downtown street of Athens. Two blocks from the Greek Parliament. The street is only open to pedestrian traffic. No cars. Crowded.

There on the sidewalk was an elderly woman dressed in black. She was holding on to a small wheel chair. In the wheel chair was a 30ish man. His body distorted in every conceivable way. The woman holding one hand out.

A block away I happened upon a young man sitting on the curb. His legs were extended in front of him. His left foot was twisted dramatically to the left. He sat with his hand extended.

Then there was the young mother holding what I assume was her young child. The baby was no more than 6 months old. The woman was dressed in black. She had the baby in one arm and her hand extended with the other. Her eyes followed me.

Children 4, 5 and 6 years old came up and put a hand out. In the hand, a rose. They say nothing. Just look at you with big sad eyes.


No one bothers with these people. Including the authorities.

A shame.

I had an otherwwise nice day. A manicure. The nails grow regardless of where you are. Drinks at the plaka at cocktail time. My manager friend gave me a bowl of cut up fruit. On the house. Dinner was again on what is known as the poor side of Acropolis and the Parthenon. A different restaurant. A terrific meal. I needed protein. I ordered an overflowing dish of all kinds of grilled meats.

Did I think of those who had less? Who were required to beg to exist? Yes. Did I do anything about them? No.

Today, I leave Greece. I feel like I have been here for ever. Time to go. I fly to Milan and Navarro this evening. Tomorrow night I will be staying some where on Mount Blanc. I will also be having dinner in France tomorrow night.

It is a good life. Thank you, Lord. There but for the grace of God could have been me on the street begging earlier in the day.

The Hotel Grande Bretagne where I sam staying has an historical background of note. Many events have happended at the Hotel over its roughly two hundred year existence.

Two that interested me.

I am a World War II history freak.

In October 1940, all guests were removed from the hotel. The government and headquarters of the British forces replaced them. It was World War II time. Then the Germans came. Their invasion was successful. The Nazi hierarchy took over the Hotel for their headquaters. Greece was liberated in October 1944. The Hotel became the seat of the new temporary Greek government.

Demonstrations occur.

Generally in the plaza accross from the Hotel Grande Bretagne. The plaza is in front of Parliament. Thousands come out to protest. Last year a demonstration occurred. The people came accross the street to the Hotel and ripped out the Hotel’s gigantic marble steps. As well as the marble steps in front of the other hotels on the same block.

Yesterday’s blog screwed up. Spelling, English, etc. The bottom third of the first part of the publication. Nothing I could do. As terrific as this hotel is, their computers are a generation ago. Slow and mistake inclined. Suddenly, I could not correct my mistakes nor the computer’s.

Terri White. A love of my life. Donna writes that Terri will be appearing in The Razzy Room of the Hotel Nikko in Los Angeles on July 10. A big deal! Go Terri!

I published another article on Amazon Kindle yesterday. Chevron Officials Banned From Leaving Brazil. Theme: Fool me once you may get away with it…..try to fool me a second time and you are in trouble.

That is it for today. The end of the Greek portion of my trip. Tonight back in Italy. Tomorrow night dinner in France.

Enjoy your day!

DAYS 31 and 32

I am back! Missed a day. Yesterday. Big traveling day.

I am sad to say I left Amorgos. It is like Key West in my feelings. Twenty five years ago on my first visit I knew some day I wanted to live in Key West. Amorgos leaves me with the same feeling. No way, however. Key West is home and I am happy there.

I am in Athens. A big vibrant teeming city. After spending more than three weeks on three different Greek isles, I needed a return to the normal world.

I am doing my two days in Athens big time. Staying at the world famous Grande Bretagne. It is civilization. Opulent. Service till you fall over it. Tons of fresh clean towels. A woman to give me a manicure. A real shower. Not one of those small confines with a hand held shower head. Big bed with a great mattress. Clean sheets every day.

The modern conveniences!

My last day on Amorgos was spent doing exactly what I liked. I sat in my bathing suit with my feet propped on another chair on my terrace. A baseball cap on my head backwards. And read. Except for an hour in the afternoon when I went in to take a nap.

Dinner was with Demetrius. He made a fuss. I told him…..I shall return!

Yesterday was a new experience. My 9 hour boat trip to Athens. I was not excited. The starting time was too early. The length off the trip too long. I expected an old beat up trawler with a handful of people.

What surprise! The boat was fantastic!

Big. Three stories. Long. A ferry boat in effect. The first floor for cars. Don’t know why. There are not that many cars in the Greek isles to fill the mammoth space. Two floors for passengers. Roughly 400. The second floor all economy class. The third, half economy and first class. The other half business class.

I was in business class. Explanation time. Classes when traveling are not the same as in the U.S. Whereas first class is tops, in Greece business class is. The Greek first class is comparable to our business class.

You would not believe the business class salon. Easy chairs and sofas. That’s all to sit on. Pure comfort. Always a table nearby for a drink or whatever. Service. Waiters. A small bar with little goodies to eat. Only half full.

The trip was a treat! Rather than the dreaded experience I thought was before me.




What a city!

Arrived yesterday.

Lets begin with the flight from Milan to Athens.

Flew a German line. Aegean. Aegean is an affiliate/subsidiary of Lufthansa. The plane was a new airbus recently constructed by a French company. A big plane.

The trip takes only two hours. We flew south along the eastern coast of Italy. The rear side of the boot. Above the heel. Where the spur butts out. Then a left over the Aegean Sea.

The spur of Italy where we turned is the Puglia region. My mother was born in Puglia. In the town of Foggia. For whatever reason, I have felt my mother’s presence this entire trip. As the plane passed over Puglia, even more. She died more than 20 years ago.

The attendants are not referred to as such in this part of Europe. They are still stewardesses. Young. Not even thirty. No male stewards. It would appear age and sex discrimination are still alive in this part of the world.

The flight took all of two hours. Lunch was served. Yes, lunch. Not peanuts or pretzels. A terrific lunch.

Lunch consisted of two lamb sausages with vegetables. Cheese. Some terrific chocolate dessert. A very tasty cheese. Crackers.

Coffee at the end. In a real cup.

I had diet soda to drink. My glass was twice the size of one served in the United States. No ice. The soda cold. More soda for me.

And now the best, free alcohol. The woman next to me had a good sized bottle of red wine. The couple across from me cans of Heineken beer. Again, free.

My ticket cost $180 one way. I flew economy class.

Why the differences between a European flight and one in the United States?

A twenty mile cab ride to my hotel. I had selected a hotel close to the Parthenon so I could walk there each day.

The cab took me through old run down Athens. Much like a similar New York City neighborhood. Then the neighborhoods changed. All of a sudden I was on embassy row and the homes of ambassadors. Magnificent structures. All ancient Greek in style.

I wanted to engage the driver in conversation. He did not speak English. I did not speak Greek. I mentioned one word however that ignited him. He communicated effectively with me at that point. The word…..euro. He spun around to look at me. Yelled in his language what I suspect were profanities. Made it clear to me he was opposed to the euro, felt it had brought on Greece’s economic collapse. All this time he is driving looking at me. I understood he wanted a return to the old currency. The dracma.

He mentioned that Spain would be next to fall. He made it clear he did not like the Germans. They were economically sound while his country was going down the tubes. This economic problem was Germany’s fault. I suspect shades of World War II were still upon him. On the other hand, I found Italians were not happy with Germans either.

The driver appeared to be in his 60s.

Driving is crazy in Athens. Get out of the way! We were in the middle of Athens on a six lane highway going one way. The drivers were cutting each other off and cutting in front of each other. At excessive speeds.

Rather than fear the situation, I respected their abilities to drive so effectively. And without accident. At least I did not see one.

We drove past the Greek Parliament. An imposing building. Even more imposing was the plaza in front of the building. A concrete slab that appeared significantly larger than a football field. The place where demonstrations and riots took place. Such past activities could be sensed as you passed by.

We finally reached the hotel. I was excited. Supposedly a hop, skip and jump from Plaka. A place I was told was a fun area.

I checked in and headed for Plaka. Only two blocks away.

Plaka may be best described as a neighborhood. A big one. It sits at the foot of Acropolis. It is the oldest area in Athens. Sometimes  Plaka is refered to as the real Athens. Blocks and blocks of sidewalk cafes. Many inexpensive clothing and jewelry shops. Thousands of people. Yesterday, the day I was there. All ages. From all parts of the world. Enjoying themselves!

As opposed to Navarro, these people were smiling. Also they looked normal. Many overweight. Very few thin people.

I sat at one of the sidewalk cafes. Under a huge tree. Much like a Key West banyon tree.

Talking with people is easy here. I spoke with a table of Greek college students on one side. An Australian couple on the other. Everyone appears to love Americans. They were anxious to talk with me.

I found the preceding surprising. I was warned by many before the trip that Europeans in general dislike Americans. I don’t know what countries these people visited!

I walked a bit around the Plaka area. Came across some old ruins. Hadrian’s Library. Built in 132 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Books were kept there. The building had reading rooms and lecture rooms, also. Sounds much like a 21st century library to me.

I was impressed with the use of the building. That libraries existed back then. I was also impressed with the construction. That which remained. Such precision in the workmanship. Each stone similarly cut and placed in perfect position. I thought, why not. The Egyptians did it with the pyramids well before Hadrian’s Library was constructed.

Plaka again is at the foot of a huge hill. A semi-mountain. Topside sits the Parthenon and Acropolis. Rising up the sides of the mountain are many outside cafes. It was past dinner time and I decided to try one.

The hill was steep. The stairs going up and down equally steep. People dining in outside cafes on each side of the steps.

Each restaurant had one or more persons working that I would describe as hustlers. They would stand on the steps and literally pull you into their restaurant.

I wanted to sit at the very top. It was a hard trip. I had to stop a couple of times and sit on a stoop to catch my breath. I finally made it. The hustler turned out to be from Canada. He was in his 60s. He told me his life’s story. His wife had divorced him after 40 years. I said don’t feel bad. My wife did it after fifty two years. He had recovered however from the misfortune. He now considered the divorce a fortuitous happening. He had met a younger woman. A Greek. Fell in love. Now lived in Greece full time with her.

The meal was only so so. I was disappointed. I had a lamb dish. The lamb was tough.

The strenuous walk up the steps was worth it. I could see all the way down and over the rooftops of Athens. It was dark and everything was lite up.

After dinner, I searched for some Greek music and dancing. I could find none. Perhaps it was too early. I did find a piano bar. Stopped inside. Stayed briefly. The entertainer was no Larry Smith.

Today it is my intention to go to the very top of the hill. By cab, I assume. The Parthenon and Acropolis await me.

I wanted to take pictures. I will before I am done. To share with you. I bought a new cell phone. I should not have. It is screwed up. By me. I cannot get it unscrewed. Cannot use it in any fashion.

At breakfast this morning, I met another coupler from Australia. They had a tablet and offered it to me to write my blog. I knew it would take too long. As it turned out, I became totally frustrated with the learning process. My age was showing.

I am doing today’s blog from a second floor internet shop. About 40 computers available for rent by the hour. Cost is 3 euros an hour. That is about $4.20 American money. The way I type, it will take forever. My drinking money for today is being used up.

The room is large. Many people. Body heat and machine heat. No air conditioning. I will require another shower when I finish.

Enjoy you day! I am mine!