Today I decide after a lazy morning to hop over to the nearest Greek island for a little day trip. It was stupidly easy after getting off at Pira
eus, I am distra
cted by the pedestrian bridge which looks very very Calatrava-esque. Am even more distracted that I did not use it, since crossing six lanes of traffic in a city where pedestrians are an afterthought takes nerves of steel, and about five minutes.
Road is crossed, finally, after some ambling about the ticket of
fices, ticket is bought, and I stare at the giant, excellently named ferry Artemis which will take me off into the Saronic Gulf.
Settling in by the window, the Artemis is humming along and it would be so easy to close my eyes and drift off.
On 'Greek Time':
I see a ‘Flying Dolphin’ boat cutting through the water abruptly. It looks more like a rocket, or better yet a coked-up robotic mosquito; pummeling through space.
I did have the option at Piraeus of getting to Aegina in 35 minutes on one of these (compared to 1 ½ hours on the ferry) but being strapped to my seat from sheer velocity defeats the laid back purpose of ambling lazily along in the sunshine to an island for the afternoon. In a country where nothing is on time and nothing is done quickly…why rush now all of a sudden? We are on Greek time (meaning you add at least 1-2 hours to anything; even Olympic Airlines subscribed to this phenomenon, taking off an hour later than scheduled, but still arriving on time!)
Aegina is lovely and cute and I wonder if the town is in cahoots to try and make this little island as picture perfect as possible. It's working. I walk around for a bit and try not to look too enthusiastic over the bright fishing boats all lined up, but really I want to hop around and clap my hands together. Dork.
I stroll around until I spy a quiet piece of the shore (I have been dying to be near the water for so long, even though I am not a natural water-baby; the Athens heat, humidity and the sun make me want to drench myself). I step into the water and it's the perfect temperature and clear like glass. Hitching my dress up to the point of almost indecency and splashing around, I long to just fall back into the water fully clothed (but mindful that last time I did that in Sydney I was not a happy little vegemite; soggy and cold on the ferry back to Circular Quay). Still, I collect some lovely pebbles as my Aegina memento and wish I could just float on the water in the sun for a bit,; ideally a set of dry clothes would materialise from nowhere, as would a perfect tall Frappe.On my way back towards the ferry I buy some cherries. The lady asks me if I want the 'hondra' (juicy and plump) ones...I nod with astonishment, of COURSE I do! We both laugh and I walk away happy with my thick paper bag filled and heavy with dark little beauties.
Cherries are my favourite thing about summertime, I was so so SO happy to have my fingers stained with cherries in the sun on a Greek island. I never thought I would be saying or doing that, but I'm so glad I had the chance to!
I probably haven’t seen as much as I could in my time here (both in Athens and Aegina) but I realize that I don’t much like rushing around. I end up not processing as much as I am too distracted by the next ‘to do’ so what I’m currently doing isn’t even sinking in properly. I came here to see and think and observe and you can’t do that if you are darting around: well, I can’t anyways.
Solitude and Worry Beads:
It’s reasurring that so many people stop and sit on their own, perfectly happy; be it in the shade on a park bench, on a slab of marble that hasn’t been sectioned off in the Ancient sites, in a café, and most tilt their head to the side ever so slightly and stare into space: thinking thinking, watching people go by, thinking some more, taking a drag of their cigarette, patting a friendly street dog, then a sip of their Frappe. Their minds are wandering but they are still connected to the place in some form (not like
It’s a beautiful thing to behold. And it’s nice that you never feel like you have to give up your table once your drink is finished, you can sit there for hours and hours, your water will always be refilled without the pressure of having to order something else or pay straight away.