Why Greece? Why now? Probably because I promised all my myspace friends a detailed account of my trip and never produced it. I've now pretty much all but abandoned myspace for blogger, basically because myspace is blocked by my employer and blogger is not. And also because myspace is a bunch of bells and whistles and I can just ramble in blogger. Much like I am doing now.
Back to Greece. I have hated few places in my life, Kaukauna being one of them and most of the places in Greece being the rest of them. Sure, the views were maginificent, the villages quaint and picturesque, the beaches more fabulous than any I had hitherto seen before, and the wild interiors of the islands being small pieces of quiet solitude. If it weren't for the Greek I would have loved Greece.
The fact is that as a group of people the Greek are loud, rude, and arrogant. They think their men are the most handsome, a fact I vigorously deny and in fact saw very few good-looking men in Greece; and their women the most beautiful, if one goes for wrinkly old women with bottle-blonde hair of shades I never imagined could exist, and in such foofed-out quantity, wearing clothing tighter than bathing suits (which would have left more to the imagination) and more make-up than a Revlon counter.
In fact most of their women looked like the cuchi-cuchi girl (with more wrinkles and less plastic surgery):
So besides the eyesores of brightly-colored spandex mini-dresses the women ages 40 and up wore, and the rude men, and the quadruply rude taxi drivers, I had never seen so much public sex in my life. My mom and I, innocently walking down a side street to go to Kerameikos one of the oldest cemetaries in Athens (WAY cool and a definite must-see in Athens, even better than the Parthenon and with way less tourists) we were greeted by a couple making whoopy against a marble wall. They hadn't even tried to hide themselves behind a tree, they chose the most out in the open place to do it.
Then there's the abuse my mom and I both endured, because despite Greece living on tourism they are remarkably rude (can I use this word more to describe Greek people?) and ill-mannered to tourists. As well as practically pillaging their pocketbooks. And they apprently hate Muslims, to combat the abuse I had to remove my hijab for my own safety.
Again I would have loved Greece if the Greek people didn't get in the way. I loved driving their winding, cliff-clinging roads in the tiny but surprisingly maneuverable peugots we rented. If I had had a dime, and the space to attempt it, I probably could have turned those cars on one. I loved crawling along the side of an incredibly picturesque cliff to burst out overlooking a hidden cove beach with a tiny village attached to it.
I also saw my lifetime fill of pasty white, topless and wrinkly, Swedish/German/British women on those beaches. Evidently Greece is to Europe what Cozumel/Acapulco is to the U.S. A cheap place to lay on the beach and tan your private bits.
And probably my most ardent hatred involving Greece and Greek people was the astounding amount of times I was fed pork without realizing it. At least until I had put some in my mouth, to which I immediately detected the essence of pig and spit it out. It ruined my appetite for days at a time. However, often not being able to speak enough English with the waiters or cooks, and not reading Greek, I had to take my chances. By the end of the cruise I was mainly vegetarian.
The cruise my mom and I were on started in Istanbul, which was a massively huge city filled with beautiful buildings, but which, despite having some 11 million people, had only two (count 'em TWO) mosques for women to pray in. The Blue Mosque and the Eyup Sultan Mosque were the only international mosques in the city and therefore the only mosques with areas for women to pray. Clearly "Turkish" mosques are no-woman's land and I would have been struck dead by God, or more accurately beaten down by the men I would have disturbed by my offending presence, if I entered. The look on the taxi driver's face when I told him I wanted to go to this AWESOME and ANCIENT looking mosque on the top of the hill by where my ship was anchored was priceless. I don't think he had ever heard of or considered a woman praying in a mosque like that. What a turkey.
He then expounded on the virtue of a hijabless Turkey where women had the choice to wear it or not. I then asked if his wife worked outside the home, to which he gave me a "what are you effing crazy?" look and answered, "why should she?"
Oh, my, the delicious stupidity of gender inequality. She has the right to wear the hijab or not because "Turkey is a secular European country" but she had better not want to work outside of the home because thats just crazy-talk.
The atmosphere I mainly felt during my two days there was one of utter confusion. Muslim? Secular? European? Asian? I couldn't quite figure it out. It was Turkey. And now that I have been there, I can't say I will ever want to return.
Then the cruise hopped a few of the Greek Islands, which again were WONDERFUL except for those pesky Greek people. My favorite was Mykonos. Go there if you can. Its gorgeous.
Then we crossed the big blue Mediterraneanand landed in Alexandria and spent two days there. Once I had been in Egypt, in the bosom of my then husband-to-be and my best friends there, I was miserable in Greece wanting to be back in Egypt.
I definately recommend seeing Greece but only if the country is devoid of actual Greek people. Because its a beautiful country on its own.
And visit Egypt. Maybe Turkey if you really want to, but if you're a woman don't expect to be able to pray anywhere.
But everyone should visit Egypt. Everyone.
I promise to post pics when I get home.
if you take them and post them somewhere else give me credit!
the paths were as topsy turvy as Alice in Wonderland.