Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dust storms, and Islands, and Markets, oh my!

Well, this blog may have less details than the past ones, but that is due to me leaving in approximately 6 hours for spring break! (I don't want to leave too much unsaid.)
Since I last wrote, I have completely finished my midterms, turned in my two papers, celebrated the Americanized holiday of my ancestors, developed a nice base tan, and walked through fish guts in the minority section of the city.

One day, I woke up seeing yellow. Everywhere I looked outside had an odd glow as if we were being attacked by aliens. Later, after seeing a dirty film covering all of the cars, I learned that there was a huge dust storm in Egypt which had mixed with the rainclouds over Greece to create mud, which fell from the sky covering everything. Turns out I wasn't imagining the yellow haze.

Recently, I have been hanging out with a new group of fun people (all from New England). Last week, I went over to their apartment (only half a block away from mine!) to make dinner and watch a movie with them. Today, a few of them joined me with another one of our friends to have a Mexican dinner night. It was so nice to finally have Mexican food again. Especially since, according to my Greek professor, the Greeks hate Mexican food.

St. Patty's day was a fun day. Some of the students started celebrating early in the morning, however I had a paper that was due that day, so I avoided all contact with people until the afternoon. Lily and I had marble carving that night, so we were not able to hang out with people for the full night, but we ended up meeting up after the class was over. I went with a few friends to an Irish pub in Monistraki (where we went for the superbowl). By the time we arrived, there were tons of English speakers spilling out into the the pedestrian street with Guinness in hand, and Celtic music being blasted in the background. I had a good time, but ended up leaving on the earlier end (to think that 2:30 in the morning is the earlier end among college students) because I had an 8:30 on site class the next morning. (Which ended up being canceled, giving me 2 extra hours of much-needed sleep.)

Packed James Joyce Pub Irish Marble Carving

Zee unfinished product

While studying abroad, it is easy to get stuck in a routine of where you go, who you hang out with, and what you do at what times of day. Lately, I have been realizing that I am falling prey to this, and have been looking around for new ways to explore Athens. I had been meaning to go to Omonia at some point, and this pushed me into finally going. Omonia is the section of Athens where it is recommended that you always travel in groups, especially, if you are unable to avoid it, at night. Greece has a huge 'problem' with illegal immigrants, and somewhat of a problem with drug users and prostitution. Unable to deal with these problems, the government swept all of these to Omonia. The positive aspect of all this meant that little neighborhoods have been created within Omonia, producing some of the best food in Athens. And where the best food is, there has to be the best markets. So finally, the other day, two of my friends accompanied me to the Omonia Central Market where there are about four blocks packed with butchers yelling to customers and one another, haggling over the price of a lamb's head, and taunting the "pretty ladies" with a whole carcass of ... lamb? I was in heaven. However, not only did they have meat, but branching off was another few blocks of anything that one can find in or around the water. There were snails, squid, crabs, muscles, and even the body of a shark with its head propped up behind. At the end of the various proteins there were a few stands selling fresh spices. I wasn't able to buy anything at the time, but I am looking forward to going back and getting the freshest of meats for the lowest prices and creating my best dinner yet.

Meat Market!


The cow knows what's coming

Pig hooves and fish
This past Saturday, I went with a few friends (the same that I have been talking about throughout this email) to Aegina, a small island just an hour ferry ride from Piraeus. It was a beautiful, relaxing day and we bummed around in the sun, checked out one of the two temples, and enjoyed a very leisurely lunch overlooking the sea.

Kendra, Lynn, and Nikki overlooking the rest of Aegina Temple of Aphaia

As for now, I will be gone from tomorrow (the 25th) to the 5th of April for my spring break. A couple islands in the west (Limnos and Lesvos), and a few places in Turkey (Pergemon, Troy, Galipoly, and Istanbul), and ending up in Thessoloniki for Easter! There will be lots of pictures, have no fear.

1 comment:

  1. Have a great time on deserve it! If you can beg a recipe for real Greek Easter bread with the red eggs braided in, think of your friend Elle, who would love to make that :)