Tuesday, May 6, 2008

my last night in greece

i spent my last night in greece in athens. me and my buddy manos drove around and decided to pay a visit to the ancient temple of poseidon. naturally, a place so sacred would be closed and fenced off at night, which of course didnt stop us from dropping in.

here is a pic as you climb the small hill to the temple. they keep it lit until about 430am.

here is a nice shot i got in of manos, my buddy, leaning against 2 thousand year old columns.
me and manos with the temple behind us. it looks dark in this picture but it was pretty well lit. we were just playing with the camera settings in order to make this shot work without us glowing.

me, as i stand on the remains of a fallen column, with a small town in the distance, and the glow of athens behind the mountain.
i decided to be awake to catch the sunrise just before heading out to the airport.

me grandma and friends

during our walk we dropped in on a lot of people my grandma hadnt seen since her stroke.

here are all of her very close friends (all of which are wearing the traditional widow garb). i dont remember everyone's name so i wont bother to list. they live across the street and on all sides of my grandma's house.

here i am in what will probably be my last photo at my grandmother's house. im sitting on her porch which is often attacked by slugs on hot summer nights. its really sad to me to see this place go. especially considering the fact that the giant tree will likely be cut down.

me and grandma at a fountain.
me and our close family friend mickey at his home i vrelesia

mickey and his caretaker (he is blind) marri

my stroll with yiayia

my third to last day in greece had the best weather i had seen. i thought it would be nice to take my yiayia for a nice long stroll throughout the town. she agreed and steered me along. at first i didnt know where we were going until i discovered she was taking us to her friend's houses.

here you can see my grandma with Aunt Lefteria, at a home that has been in the family for a long long time. So long that my great grandmother used to live here.

here is a closer shot of my yiayia and grand aunt.
Uncle Lefteri and this tractor (i believe is the one) had a rough past. about 15-17 years ago, a young kid was biking past the tractor when he fell right under it. needless to say, it crushed him.
here is my grandma's dog Eira. He has lost his bark and currently lives at my grandmothers house all alone. Apparently the entire neighborhood play a role in feeding him (these have been neighbors for decades).
here is my grandma's house that will likely be torn down in the coming months for my uncle to build a new home. that tree is one of the largest trees in town. so big that it has become landmark to people in the area (im told).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

me, grandma, paralia

my grandma and i took a stroll yesterday and watched my little cousin play on the playground.

me at the platia (central sq), being strangled by an imaginary friend

i've received complaints that i always make the same ugly face.

the church to human ratio in greece is probably the highest in the world. here is another one. and of course, mcdonalds branding.

i wanted to add another picture of my grandma. she looks pretty frail. she is frail.
i dunno, anyway...

random katerini and paralia

if you walk west (i think) from the kendro (central sq), you will hit this street eventually that leads to the park where my grandparents (father's side) used to live.

me on the boardwalk at the paralia, a beach hangout with typical tourist crap and extremely dirty water. it's been a bit too cold to go swimming.

the main street at the paralia. notice how America has spread its filth to the furthest corners of the globe. i love it!

if you take a stroll throughout katerini, youll notice a lot of shit like this. there's a considerably large subversive punk movement in europe, particularly in greece and eastern europe. you'll find anarchy symbols everywhere. the next time greeks joke about how stupid american's are because they cant point to greece on the map, ill remind them that i have half a dozen photographs of random swastikas, pentagrams, and anarchy symbols spread throughout their precious ancient cultured towns that contain so much history.

"2pac thug life"

a random shot from my little rock pier.

Monday, April 28, 2008

no love like grandma's

recently, my grandmother had a stroke. it left half of her her body paralyzed - she cant move her right arm and leg despite being right handed. her typical day starts in her bed, where she is later lifted onto her wheelchair. when the weather permits, she takes a stroll (in her chair) but lately she just sits in the living room watching tv. minus a couple of meals, she spends her hours watching tv and pondering life - until about 9:30 when she hits the sack.

last night i went out, hanging out with friends. around 12am (Greek time) i came to my favorite internet cafe here in katerini (where i am typing this now) and spent a couple of hours chatting with you guys, blogging, etc. around 4am, i decided it was time to embark on my 12 min journey home (to my grandma's house).

as i approached the gate i made a small racket. i could hear in the distance something to begin to call my name. as i got closer to the door, i heard a faint "JU-nior, esi ise?" (junior is that you?). i quickly ran to the front door and opened it to check on my grandma. i found her sitting up in bed in an almost pitch black room, her right hand clutching her favorite icon of the mother mary. she was fine of course. i asked, "grandma! what are you still doing up!?"

in her heavy ethnic greek dialect she responded: "what are you doing staying out all night? i was waiting for you".

it was past 4am.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

me and my yiayia

some pics of me and my grandma at easter lunch

here you can see her being a little scandalous and seductive. you can tell she had it back in the day.

who is this monkey on my cheek?

more natural pose. she's lost a lot of weight since the stroke.

a look of bewilderment.

this picture makes me sad. god how time flies. i usually feel so young, but sometimes i cant help but feel old. i wish i made more of the time i had as a kid.

easter with the family

sunday was easter. one of the largest, if not THE largest holiday in greece. i spent it with my cousins and grand ma.

following in her great older cousin leo's footsteps, this one is a goof ball. here name is selini. named after my grandmother. my sister is named after the same person (as is my other cousin). greeks have certain naming conventions that result in everyone sharing a set of 10 common names.

me and my other cousin elpitha. she is named after her grandma (my aunts mother)

my easter lunch. feta cheese, potatoes, salad, and lamb.

on easter, its a tradition to dye eggs red and then crack them on eachother. you obviously want to have the hardest egg that cracks the others without getting cracked. mine failed of course (i believe my grandma won). i hated this tradition because it required that you eat the egg after, which i dont like to do.

here is most of the fam. starting counter clockwise from 12oclock, is vesca (my grandma's nurse), my aunts uncle, my aunts mother and father, my grandma, and cousin.


here are some random photos from my camera. unfortunately the good ones were already removed and saved to my portable hard drive. now that i have figured out how to efficiently resize, i will begin adding more. in the mean time, enjoy these.

here is a stray dog in athens. they have tons of them everywhere.

here is a closeup of me and my grandma. see my double chin?

a better shot of me and my grandma. she cant leave her bed.

at the top left, we have lamb tongue. on the right lamb brain. at the bottom is just lamb face meat.

lamb intestines, liver, and heart. yummy.

athens and katerini

central thessaloniki. just in front of "the web" my favorite internet cafe. doesnt that look like the mystery machine in the corner?

mt olympus. home of the gods.

view on the balcony of cattia's house (dad's friend i am staying with)

this mt was set on fire a while back, still scorched back.

inside the slammer

below are photos chronicling my short stitch inside of a foreign prison.

so this is apparently level 5 confidential information. anyone viewing this outside of the country, particularly in currently a part of the axis of evil (or future axis of evil, ie china), should close their browsers now. this is a photo of the US embassy that i smuggled out, under trying conditions, that led to me serving 5 grueling, aggravating hours of harsh interrogation.

this is me after being subjected to a few slaps, water boarding, and shock therapy

they forced me to stand on my hands and head for hours until all the blood rushed to my face.

dont let this smile on my face give you the wrong impression. it fucking sucked. i wouldnt recommend anyone going to an athenian jail (unless you have the right company, which i did thankfully). they make you do all sorts of things i wouldnt dare recall now.

they may revel in the fact that they stole 4.5 precious hours of life from an american citizen, but i got the last laugh. my name is now immortalized in the wall, giving hope to those who come after me. manos actually wrote USA on the ceiling in very big, bold letters. i didnt take a picture though i should have.

live from a foreign prison

athends day 1 part 2

some more pictures from my adventures in athens, day 1.

no war memorial would be complete without a tomb of the unknown solider, shown above.

here is a random chappel inside of athens. greece is an extremely religious place (everyone is christian, and by everyone, i mean about 99.8% of the people.)

the parthenon off into the distance. the parthenon sits on top of mt acropolis. the italians blew it up when the turks decided to store gun powder inside of it. if you ask me, they were just jealous we had a better looking ancient wonder than they did. bastards had to go and ruin it. hmf...

inside of a chappel. i dont think i was supposed to take this photo.

gg, lw, noob