So we made it!! After so many months of planning and anxiously awaiting the trip 16 Franklin Pierce students have arrived in Greece. When we arrived at the airport in Athens, our group was greeted by 3 VERY Greek men who took us in taxis to our apartments. On the way there we listened to a lot of techno and surprisingly some popular American tunes as well. Before we even had a chance to adjust to Greek driving, our driver tapped the bumper of the car in front of us telling the other driver to move over. Once the car in front of us moved over, we proceeded towards our apartment at 180kpm. Throughout this whole trip, the driver was drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, and talking on the phone while his passengers were freaking out.
Anyways, we made it to our apartment and it is beautiful. There are wood floors, high ceilings, and chandeliers in every room. There are 7 students living in my apartment. We have taken trips to the grocery store to stock the refrigerator and buy the basics for the apartment. At the grocery store we were made fun of in Greek for buying certain items. The cashiers held up our items to the other cashiers and made comments in Greek and then everyone in the immediate area began to laugh. So, we are trying not to be the "stupid Americans" that everyone assumes we are, but it is difficult at times.
That brings me to the next topic, we are slowly learning Greek. Although it has been a little tricky, we have learned some common Greek phrases from our local bartenders, and we have taught them some English. We have learned that if you tip your bartender, they will talk to you like people and not refer to you as "magas americanos" (stupid americans).
This is our third day in Athens, and it is such an exciting city. There are shops, markets, and people everywhere. There are cars and mopeds too that drive on the streets and the sidewalks.
Also, on every building and on every column is graffiti. It truly is a free city! Greek people accept the expression of others and are not bothered by the graffiti that covers the walls of every building.
Last night we climbed the hill by our apartment. The actual climb of the hill was not too bad, but the 25 flights of stairs we had to take to the
base of the hill killed me! When we reached the top we could see all of Athens, from the mountains, all the way to the beautiful beaches. We saw the Acropolis, the Olympic stadium, and we even able to find our apartment. We saw the Greek flag be taken down from the top of the hill at sunset. We were also able to see the inside of the chapel at the top of the hill. The climb down the hill was definitely much easier, but I will be in great shape by the time I leave Athens!
Today a bunch of us went exploring around Athens! We got very very lost, but everything was so exciting! We came across a fish market, produce market, as well as an Athens China town. There were so many little shops that had knock off sunglasses, purses, and ties just like in NYC. It was so cool. There was also a small shop with a sign in Arabic that had so many hookahs in it. Some of the people in the group actually bought one and it was so cheap.To find our way back, we asked one of the policemen dressed in riot gear. Unfortunately we were all too busy staring at his awesome sunglasses to listen to the directions he was giving. We eventually found our way back.
Tonight we are going to a play at an outdoor theatre. It should be a very interesting look into Greek culture.
Check in often! I will try to keep everyone up to date on everything that is happening!
Also check out pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericatomaszewski
Keepin' it classy in Athens!
Erica out :)