Sunday, September 13, 2015

Needing to vent

OK, I'm going to say something controversial and then move onto pretty pictures and the new thing I learned about theater today. The entire developed, and much of the developing world, basically beats America on health. Their diets are better, they exercise more, they work fewer hours a week and get more paid time off. So how have they not gotten the memo about lung cancer? Almost everybody smokes here! That includes Europe generally and Greece specifically. I can't get away from it. The only way my room doesn't reek of smoke is when the balcony door to the very loud street is open. Inside the bus station. Who allows smoking inside public buildings? Or near them? Or in areas with lots of kids? Or in restaurants, even the outdoor variety? Do they know what cigarette smoke does to food and how you taste it?

I do! Because I have a smoker's cough now. It's horrible. And it's near impossible to escape from. If this were the U.S., I would be vigorously arguing that other people's right to smoke is directly in conflict with my right to breathe. 

My rant is over. I'm now in Thessaloniki, the "second capital" of Greece. I wavered on coming here; it's well-known for its shopping and partying, both of which I love if it's Opposite Day. But it also has a much different history than Greece; while the Greek traditions are there, for centuries it's been a hub between different regions and religions, so it kind of grew up differently. 

Also, whoever put together the two museums I've been to had a fantastic sense of humor. While listening to an audio guide about Macedonian history I heard a hurried "change the paper!" as the recorder went down the script. A lot more than food was at stake when people went hunting:

I've always said if I had to kill my own meat I'd go veg in a second, but if I couldn't eat on my couch -- I might kill a boar for that. 

The audio guide also used the phrase "diochronic stratigraphy" as if it's common knowledge. This is a diochronic stratigraphy:

Use this phrase in a sentence today and I bet you feel super smart. 

And my favorite bit of trivia was from a section on theatre, in which the reader learns that although actors did not wear masks, but that yes, ugly people could still act. They had evidence. This needs to be mentioned in an internationally known museum?!

Oh, and I forgot a couple of Heidi's a winner moments. I got to my hotel, got into the tiniest elevator I've ever seen--I barely fit sideways with my backpack; two adults might have fit if they were normal size and liked each other some. I get to my floor and I cannot get the door open. I couldn't remember how I'd walked in 10 seconds prior. I'm trying to slide it open, but it stays stubbornly shut. I go down to the second floor then back to the third. I don't want to go down to the ground floor and wave for help, but at any point someone could call for the elevator. Finally, in frustration, I pushed. The door swung open. 

Getting to my hotel, though, was a thing of beauty, brought to you by luck, poor planning and Google Maps. I looked up the location before leaving Kastraki, arrived in Thessaloniki and pulled it up. It provided the hotel's location but not mine. I decided to take a cab, pulled out my confirmation email and found one address: mine. I don't need that! So I have no address and a large street. I went out to the local buses, found three lines that ran down that street, bought a ticket and got on the first of the three to leave, praying it went the right way and my hotel had a large sign. 

The bus turned right just about when Google Maps woke up, and I stepped off the bus 10 feet from my hotel. Anyone watching would have thought I knew what I was doing. 

Please remember that and not that I got stuck on an elevator. 

No comments:

Post a Comment