It is an odd thing about going to sleep at 4AM, but that it encourages you to wake up closer to 4PM. Christine and I sleep until at least 10 and then have an excellent breakfast: yogurt (all strong and flavourful), honey, and walnuts - this, she tells me, is very Greecian. And if it is Greecian, Christine wants to assimilate it, which I find very admirable.

I think there was a point at which the idea of blending into my own cultures began to seem so laughable that I no longer worried about blending into different ones. Perhaps it's time to reevaluate.

There's some clothes washing to be done. A lot of grit snuck its way into my things while I was in Greenland and the trip from Kangerlussuaq, to Copenhagen, through the islands, and up to Λάρισα hasn't afforded me anything other than sinks for my washings.


The back yard
(a cement enclosure rife with orange trees)

Heading outside to dry things, we discover a pair of red boys underwear on the ground. As we look towards the upper stories of her apartment building she explains to me how sometimes she gets these sorts of gifts from the Gods. She leaves them hanging on the line, hoping the Gods will retrieve them - some gifts are more useful than others.

Christine puts on the big sunglasses which all Greek women must wear so that they seem like "movie stars" and we set out to tour the city. My camera doesn't come along for the trip as it would blow our (or, rather, my) cover.

Early on we end up at an awesome second-floor coffee house known as The Playhouse, in recognition of the plethora of games available for patrons to play. Walking past a Risk session, Blockus, and a big chess board we end up on the balcony. Christine's work has an American division and one of them - Jennifer - is visiting. We sit down to coffee with her and another friend. Coffee in Greece is meant to take a looong time. You sip it slowly, slowly. You don't get refills, you don't even know if that's an option. Slowly, the drink goes cold. You keep talking. The wait staff don't really bother about bringing a bill - they know you'll just stay and chat.

When we finally do leave we walk across town and the river to a big park which is lush, beautiful, and littered. We pass by some big churches, but don't stop inside. Christine works odd hours. In Greece work is from maybe 9AM-1PM and again from 5PM-9PM. The three-hour interim is for coffee (as above) or naps and the police, she tells me, will show up and shush you if you make a ruckus. In the cafe-ringed central squares there is quiet chatting going on, but even the fountains are taking a siesta.

When I arrived in Greece, Christine had been partying on Μύκονος (Mikonos) (for that is the purpose of Mykonos). We spoke briefly on the phone of our plans. "Can we climb Olympus?", she asked and, not pausing, continued, "I think we should."

Thus we found ourselves passing through the town's bookstores in search of climbing information and hiking maps. We ended up with both these and a world map, in Greek.

Despite wanting to maintain the aura of vacation and freedom, we swung by her office where she works as an independent consultant in web development (or some such). I'd never been in a web development office before, but it was as you might expect: roomy, green, a number of computer workstations, and comfy chairs.

We left the office in the company of her co-workers and headed to the Lightbar for supper, which is a little like coffee, only noisier and incorporating food. Over Sole (a fish), her boss Κοστάς asks me about my travels and inquires how I find women, explaining to me that my traveling and eccentricities must surely narrow the field of potential mates and maties.

And he's right, of course.

Having finished food we move on to the MIRROR bar (some of those R's should be backwards). There are, at this point, only six known alcohols in the world which I like, so bars can be a bit of a problem. In Britain, I used ginger ale as a cover, but here I'm surrounded by knowledgable minds which recommend ανανάς αλκοόλ (pineapple alcohol, otherwise known as Malibou). Now there are seven known alcohols!

The conversation winds into the night and her coworkers manage, at convenient times, to slip in little one-on-one conversations with me - introductions of sorts - and I recognise that these people don't just converse, they're skilled at it.

Around 2AM we head back home.


My bullwhip drying outside the kitchen window
(Hybrid cars: So many miles. So little gas.)




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