4/12/01 A Moment in Patras, Greece

Hi Everyone!

I'm on a short layover in Patras, and I'll catch a ferry to Bari Italy tonight at 7:00. This afternoon, I'll see some local ruins and appreciate Greeks for a few more moments.

The past few days have been dominated by travel. I covered all of Santorini by scooter the other day. My favorite Island, and a place I could really see my mother disappearing to. It is a volcano - rumored to be the cause of the ten plagues, part of the lost continent of Atlantis, and likely home to the largest eruption in recorded history. Imagine a mountain that exploded, leaving merely half of it's edge sticking out of the water. Imagine a group of people deciding to build a settlement on the edge. Imagine that this is still an active volcano. But the impending death does nothing to rush life there. It is chic, but laid back. Beautiful doesn't even begin to describe it... I'll just have to show the photos.

There was a nasty wind storm that kept the ferry from Santorini from landing: 8 attempts to land and 3 hours later, I began a brutal 9 hour journey back to Athens. I slept but had nightmares of riding falling planes into the ocean. And someone stepped on my glasses. Luckily I know a decent optometrist and he hooked me up with a spare pair before I left.

So I have several more hours in Patras before I board, so I'll toss you some of my observations for the day:

  • Tight Pants - Very chic around here. The women wear nothing but black, tight-ass, flared, bar pants. If they are not black, they may be red, or khaki. If they aren't wearing those variations, they are probably missing both legs.
  • The men wear jeans mostly. Tighter than I would wear. Or appreciate looking at, to be honest.
  • Aviator Shades - The Fun Lab has been using aviators exclusively for some time. Here, they are the height of fashion, especially for women. I predict that within 6 months, The Lab will have to switch to Ray-Bans or old-school Oakleys to remain hip and quirky.
  • Cell phones - Ubiquitous. The Greeks have perfected this technique of driving a scooter with 2-3 people on it, holding the cell and a cigarette in one hand, and driving with the other. Helmets appear to be believed to be most effective worn around the wrist.
    The Greek in the cafe next to me just downloaded "Smoke on the Water" on his cell. They never stop. I heard Dido's "Thank you" on a phone yesterday.
  • Beads - Greek men play with this type of worry bead. One explained to me that they are a variation on those that the Catholics use (can't think of the name offhand) for prayer. These have more string and are played with for passing time and techniques akin to a snappy yo-yo-er have been observed. I'll try to buy a set, to show.
    They don't seem to have cable TV here, the music is rotten Vocoder-saturated, Euro-dance crap, and the internet connections are deadly slow, so I can't blame them for having a national pastime consisting of beads, Nescafe Frappe, and watching women in tight pants.

    OK, I have ruins to see! I'll probably write next from Rome or Florence.

    Until then...