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Tuesday, June 21, 2005


The moon, She shines on everyone
She knows what we can not,
Binding friends together
With ribbons of forget-me-nots...

The full moon is shining like big ripe peach over the rooftops. Dinaz and I sat awhile on the balcony enjoying the sight. I'm over at her place tonight for some company but she worked very late and then retires early so we didn't get a long visit. Tomorrow I'm heading off on a little day trip, just a change of scenery. The hot weather was getting to me. The heat zaps your energy, sucks the vitality out of you. I felt listless and unmotivated for a few days. But last night it rained a little and the air cooled. A good night's sleep on Christina's bed and this morning my energy had returned so I went off to the beach and had a lovely day.

It's been a bit lonely and at time's I've felt a little blue. All my friends were gone yesterday. Patrick returned home Sunday, Dinaz went out of town to visit friends, Christina and Dani left for Sweden. Nobody to really hang out with. I started jotting down random notes, a collection of thoughts and musings, some of it nostlagic, though I've tried not to let myself get too into the nostalgia or then I feel sad.

NOTES FROM THE COURTYARD: Monday ( I didn't even remember it was the Summer Solstice!)

Now that I've done my little research field trips around the Agora and Acroppolis and can visualize my characters moving about in this setting, I'd like to think a great blinding light of inspiration would hit me so I can do some actual writing for my novel. This is my last week here, and starting today, I'm house and garden-sitting for Christina.

It's quiet and cool here in the courtyard, birds chattering in the tree tops, the whir of traffic passing by on Kolokroni St. I enjoy sitting here reading, jotting down notes. Over the years, how many hours have I spent in this courtyard? Ten years, at least, counting the times I baby sat with Daniella, and other occasions when I've house/cat sat for Chris when she goes home to Sweden for a holiday. The last summer I saw Roberto it was here. I'd invited him to stay with me and we spent hours here in the garden reading and conversing over wine. My last photos of him were taken here, sitting this this very same chair I'm sitting in now, cigarette in hand, wine glass half full, a book open (he was a voracious reader). I knew he wasn't well that summer. I was concerned as his voice had become hoarse and he was moving about gingerly as if he was in pain. He didn't complain though, dismissed my worries, shrugged it off in his casual way. By the following summer he was dead of cancer that had spread from his throat through all his body. He never took care of himself. Each time we'd say goodbye I would think it was for the last time. He wouldn't say 'goodbye'. He'd always say "Misbehave!" I miss him so much!

Musings from the To Kati Allo Taverna: (Monday evening)

I came to the TKA for dinner tonight, hoping there might be some people around, someone to talk to. There used to be such a gang of us and now it feels strange sitting here alone. I feel the presence of the absent ones. Robbie, Graham...Graham and I used to spend evenings talking about music - mostly jazz. I had looked forward to telling him about the Jazz Festival in Cuba.
He had written just after Christmas to say he was looking forward to seeing me. Now he's gone too.
Nostalgia overcomes me, and a few tears fall...

The arrival of W. perks me up. I can't print her name because she's the daughter of a famous cowboy movie star of the '40's and 50's and step-daughter of an even more famous American novelist. I've known her since I first came here to live, although we were never more than casually acquainted. She's about my age, very Butch, you almost have to look twice to see it's a woman. She lives across the street from the TKA and comes out of her seclusion now and then, tonight passes by with a 'hello' and takes a table by herself inside. She has a son who sometimes lives with her and in the past it generated some rather oedipal commentary. I used to see the kid when he was about 10 yrs old, with his odd little midget nanny, drinking ouzo in Plaka. W. had an assortment of bizarre friends back then, La Dolce Vita. Now she lives very reclusively.
Eventually when she leaves the TKA she stops to chat, very friendly, says she'd just returned from the States, says she hopes she'd get to talk more to me before I leave. It would be mighty interesting to get into a real conversation with her. A fascinating character!

I sit alone, eating my dinner (Anna's chicken is the best!) watching the clientele, talking now and then to Anna's son Dino (I notice how charming he is, such an attentive waiter!) He's another one I've known since he was a tot running around the tables annoying everyone. The other night he was entertaining us playing his bouzouki.

A light rain begins to fall freshening the air. I won't mind walking home even without an umbrella. The cool air has revived me and I feel some of my energy returning. Anna's husband Leonidis arrives, greets me with "Yeia Sou Koukla Mou" (hello, my doll!) I feel 'at home' again. This family is part of my life here and this time there is such affection being shown to me which I find very touching. (Anne even tries to phone 'the guy from the bus' - Jimmy, the Greek who I keep meeting on the #20 bus in Vancouver who happens to be a good friend of theirs. Too bad, he isn't home!)

Notes made at Alimou Beach today (Tuesday)
Today I felt revived and started to organize the rest of my week here. It was good to wake up refreshed and eager for a new adventure. So I took the tram to the beach. A first, for me.
The tram is one of Aten's new rapid transit systems (though it's not as rapid as Sky Train). There's been complaints aobut it ever since they started digging up all the streets to lay down the tracks. Two years ago the city was a mess and one wondered if they would ever get it done in time for the Olympics. Miraculously they did! It's an odd-looking train, like one of those high speed bullet trains, but it's really not any faster than a trolley except, like SkyTrain, there are fewer stops and the tracks cut through the city, out to the coast, running from Syntagma to Voulagmenis where the big Olympic centre (camp) was.

It was easy to get to the beach as there is a stop at each of the beaches. 60 Euro one way and I guess it just took over half an hour to reach Alimou. Now I have the knack of it I can easily get myself to the beach any day if I wish.

Today was overcast and cooler so the beach was not crowded at all. I got a beach chair and umbrella right by the shore and relaxed all afternoon listening to music and reading, and swimming. It felt so good to be in the sea and not melting from the heat!

Tonight at Dinaz's, some closing thoughts...

I've been feeling quite homesick, so I'm trying to plan my final days here and not let myself just sit around or wander aimlessly for the zillionth time around Plaka. Tomorrow I'm taking a little trip up the eastern coast of Attica to Marathon, mainly to see the tumulus and museum there but also to check out the beach. I wanted to go to Messalongi to write about Byron, but it doesn't seem I'll get there as my money is running to short. So I'm going to have some beach time instead, work on my tan and relax by the sea. This weekend there are more free music concerts which I'll attend with my friends. Then, Monday, it's going to be a long day's flight but I'll be home again.

Stay tuned here for all the last adventures.

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