Jul 31, 2011

So today I got up really early and changed my ferry ticket, checked out of my hotel, and checked into the fivos hostel. The hostel room is very small but its clean and somehow I got a private bathroom for the same price that everyone who shares the floor bathroom has to pay so thats a bonus. The room is however on the fifth floor and there is no elevator so lots of excercise for me going up and down those stairs. I had to do it three times in like an hour trying to rearrange the ferry and get info. Plus my legs are killing me from the nine hours of walking I did yesterday, kind of more like hiking in flip flops to get to some of those places, lol. Another bonus of the hostel is free breakfast which I got this morning and I will get tomorrow morning so I guess even though its a bit more expensive than any other hostel 40€, but cheaper than crete) its kind of worth the money for all those little things. Anyways after I got comfortable I went out to buy some deoderant which took forever there were like no stores around with that kind of stuff. There was every other kind of store but that one. Then I went back and had to buy a card to get on the internet as there is no wifi at the new hostel. After that Nikolas came to pick me up and take me to the archeological museum. We took the metro there and got a tiropita on the way. When we got to the museum it was closing. Unfortunately everything seems to close early on saturday. So instead we went to thissos and had a cafe on the third floor balcony which has this amazing view of all the temples and ruins. After that we went to go pick up his car and drove by the seaside, and saw what Nikolas explained to be skiliathika bouzukia which means doggy night clubs (skilia is a dog and bouzuki is a greek musical instrument that gives greek music its distinctive sound) they call them this cause the singers are never very good and usually sound like whining dogs, then we got a souvlaki with fries in it (mmmmmmmmm) and then went to see the greek dancing open air show. The show was so cool and Im sure I took a million photos. They showcase different dances, costumes, and music from all over Greece. It was amazing and I was so glad we went. After the show we went to a local restaurant hidden away in athens where they serve your food on a piece of wax paper, not plates. We had tzatiki, kebabs, fries, and tomatoe and cucumber salad, Along with some house wine. After this went back to the seaside and Nikolas drove around the pier to point out important spots to me like the walls of Themisticles and where I would be going to get the ferry tomorrow. Which was very thoughtful and nice. Then went to a bar and sat on the third floor terrace overlooking the water and you could see the stadium, the acropolis all lit up, and the houses buikt on the hill, and just basically all the lights of athens. It was beautiful we hung out and talked and laughed and before we knew it, it was 4 am and I had to get uo early to get my ferry. So So back we drove to my hostel and said our goodbyes and I went to sleep pretty much as soon as my head hit the pillow. It was sad to think I might never see Nikolas again but maybe when I come back in September.
Got up early this morning to repack my bag, check out and be on my way to get on a ferry to Crete. Took the metro to Pireaus station and then gad to walj for like 20 mins to a Starbucks to get a delicious caramel espresso frappuccino and then continue on for 5 more minutes to what has to be the biggest boat I have ever seen. Yesterday when Nikolas said the boat is huge I didnt imagine this huge. Although i did sleep for most of the ride I did manage to explore a bit. And go outside to take some pictures. I went to find the bus stop to get to Matala in Massara and after walking about 3kms

Jul 29, 2011

Second day and it was so amazing!!!

So today I met up with Nikolas and had the most amazing day! We went around Plakas and I saw the ancient agora,the temple of hephastios,the acropolis, the acropolis museum, temple of zeus, the roman ampitheatre, another ampitheatre, the olympic stadium, temple od dionysius, the greek parliament, the changing of the guards, and had some delicious amazing food. Also Nikolas usedto be part of the greek presidential guard and knew everything about all the places and he gave me so much info about everything. It truly was an epically amazing day, and definitely will be something I will remember forever.
Its only my second day in Greece but it still seems so unbelieveable that Im here. Its suchan amazing historical place and the beginning of democracy and political thought and civilization it seems weird that it should be in the economic ruin that its in. Tomorrow I was thinking of going to crete but I might stay in athens one more day and see the archeological museum tomorrow and go thw the sea side and visit some other districts in athens. It makes me a bit sad to see all these people speaki.g Greek and dancing and having this amazing sense of history and culture and realizing exactly what I missed out on by not having my father there. He didnt just break our family but he also took that part of him with him when he left. Everytime someone sees my name they say, "oh you are hellenas baby? Why you dont speak the langusge?" And I just say that I havent really used it for a while. But it seems embarassing that I didnt try harder to keep it now that Im here. Anyways its very late and I have to get up very early to figure out ferry tix and a new place to stay.

Getting there and the first day.

3am Hong Kong time:
So the trip started off a little shaky. I had a momentary lapse of "what on earth am I doing?" But then I was okay. Its a bit nerve racking going to a place all by yourself and not even knowing if or where you'll be staying. Qatar airlines was absolutely amazing though, checking in the guy got me bulkhead seating for the first flight and emergency exit for the second flight from Doha to Athens. I did manage to think ahead and write down directions for a hostel that I think might have room, so that might be ok. There are a lot of children on this flight as well, I dont think i've ever seen this many but it is an overnight flight so maybe i'll get lucky and they'll just sleep.
1130am in Greece:
Arriving in Doha i didnt have a window seat but I could see from where I was sitting this beautiful orange and red and yellow sunrise. It was the kind of sunrises you only see in the movies and you can just imagine the desert that goes for miles. I unfortunately wasnt able to take a photo so you'll just have to take my word for it. In the airport it was very small and there were a ridiculous amount of children screaming,crying,throwing fits,throwing things...after three hours in that airport I thought I might go insane. Perfect anti sex campaign there. Now I am on the plane again and about an hour and a half from Athens, currently over Tripoli. We also flew over Damascus and Beirut.
4pm athens:
So I finally booked into a hotel. I really wanted to find a hostel but everything was booked. The hotel Im staying in is the Attalos Hotel. Its not great but its also not very bad,although it is a bit more than I was expecting to pay. I probably would have spent more time looking but I almost got robbed and that pretty much called it a day for me. This Greek boy probably had seen me walking around for a really long time looking for a place to stay and thought I made a good victim, plus with nearly no sleep and almost 30 hrs of no sleep I probably looked like a zombie. He ran by me and ripped my bag off my body, but somehow I got my foot out to trip him and I lunged forward and ripped my bag out of his hands. He stumbled a bit but didnt fall, and kept running down the street, he must have gotten half way down before he even realized he didnt have it anymore. Im very surprised at how fast I was on this particular day as Im usually not very quick especially without sleep and after walking around in the scorching sun for 2 hrs with a huge backpack. Obviously God was watching over me yesterday.
Anyways got into the hotel and showered and changed and then did some walking around. I saw Hadrians Library and I had some food. Mmmmm greek salad and saganaki. Then I just walked through all the shops. My cousins Yannis, Marios, and Yanni's girlfriend Angeliki came to pick me up at 9 and we had some traditional greek kebab and some greek Mythos beers, and then we walked around and saw the old Greek market place and the old Roman marketplace and Marios told me stories of hidden catacombs under the Greek parliament and secret passageways under ruins. It was very cool and made me feel so much better about my crappy start to my trip. We also talked about the ferry strike and the situation that Greece is in and all those interesting political conversations that I enjoy so much. I was a bit nervous to meet them but we had a really great time and they want to go out again tomorrow night so thats pretty cool. Marios is so much like my brother its crazy, he loves star wars (he has the storm trooper phone cover that I wanted to get my brother), he gas loads of tattoos and loves art, and hes a singer in a band and loves music. Tomorrow Im also meeting up with Nikolos who is just a friend not a relative and hopefully go see the acropolis and the temple of Zeus. I'll let you know...

Jul 26, 2011

And I'm off!

So this is my last day in Hong Kong, last night there was a little farewell get together at Red Bar in the IFC tower and then in Central. Twas a great night with some great friends and I was really surprised by the amount of people that did make it and who made it. At times like that you can really see who cares and who you might be friends with even after you leave a place. So today will be filled with me trying to put my mind at ease by unpacking and repacking my bag, going over the flight and details.  I also have to get some Euros to make sure i have some money with me when I arrive in Athens. I'm really nervous that i won't find a place to stay as it is a very busy season and most of the hostels I've looked at have been full up, but I guess we'll see how it goes. I'm very excited to see the acropolis and all the cool touristy things.

My flight is at 2 am on Thursday morning but I'm going to be at the airport tonite to check in and such. My flight will be in total about 14 hours, it's 8 hours and 45 mins to Doha and then another 4 hours and 40 minutes to Athens. 

So just to update...it is now 6pm and spent a lot of my day waiting and walking and looking. I had to go to the bank because I couldn't get the travel insurance online. So I get a number and I wait in line. The guy comes over to see why I'm there and says, "oh but you can do it through the ATM machine, no need to wait in line." So I go to the ATM machine and there is no option for my to buy insurance even though there is a huge sign right in front of me that says I should be able to. So back to the bank I go, the guy doesn't believe me so he goes to the aTM with me and confirms that I am not a useless moron. So we both go back to the bank but while I was gone my number has already been called so wait wait wait. Anyways 2 hours and 995HKD later I have travel insurance. Next I had to get Euros I asked the man at the bank what was their exchange rate and he says 11.3 I said ok and went to TST to get a better exchange rate as i had been told to not exchange my money at the bank. OMG I SHOULD HAVE EXCHANGED MY MONEY AT THE BANK!!!!! Everywhere was a lot worse but by the time I figured this out the bank was closed and I was going to wait until the airport to exchange it there but then thought what if it's even worse there? or worse closed by the time I get there? So I found the cheapest one at 11.63 and exchanged it there except they only had 100 Euro bills so that sucks. Anyways it took me like 4 hours to accomplish two things, but now I am home and almost all ready to go. i got some pretty cool stuff for my trip though so that I might not have to check it (fingers crossed).
towelette shampoo and conditioner and laundry soap

this is what I will be living out of for the next two months.

Jul 24, 2011

Wow what a week!

Well my last few days in Hong Kong have been pretty chaotic! I have been out and about almost every single day since last Thursday. Trying to see everyone before I leave and o so many things before I go, not that I'm not coming back here. I'll start from the beginning. I moved to Tung Chung on the 10th for 10 days to see if I liked it and wanted to move there when I came back to HK. So for the first few days I went out quite often to meet the people that live in Tung Chung and I met some very nice people.Then of course there was the Thursday night pub crawl which is always a great time. Saturday night I went out with my friend Sophie before she went to Australia. Lots of other outing and then came back here on weds and have been packing and sorting and outing ever since. Friday night was spent in Tai Wai, Saturday night was with Tess and her boys... And Sunday (today) was sleep and pack my backpack but the back pack part didn't really happen. hahaha. So now all the fun begins as I race against time to try to pack it all in and get ready. Tomorrow pick up new visa and either go to immigration and do something or to Macau to validate it. Also have to make sure I have everything for the trip and pack up my room and actually think about what I should bring in one back pack for two months for essentially three different trips.
So my trip will go something like this:
 fly to Athens on the 28th of July and then try to find a place to stay then also find a way to get to Rethmynos on Crete for the 1st of August. Once I'm in Rethmynos I will work there for the month on a sea turtle conservation project until the 28th of August and then on the 29th I fly from Crete to Athens and Athens to Skiathos at which time I will take a boat over to Skopelos and visit with my family in Greece that I haven't seen for like 25 years. After that I will find a way to get to Thessaloniki and the people from the Macedonia project will come and pick me up. I will be working in Macedonia on an archeological dig from the 4th of September until the 18th of Sept and then make my way back to Athens to fly out on the 20th of September and then back to Hong Kong.
While I'm away I will hopefully be updating my blog more frequently to tell you all about what's a happening during my trip so check back here. Once I get settled in I'll know how frequently I'll have access to the internet so I can tell you more then. hopefully I'll squeeze in one more blog before I leave to tell you just how well all the packing went. lol