Thursday, March 15, 2007


The Strange Flora and Fauna of Our Athenian Commissaries

Ok, so maybe the Athenians aren't commissaries, or at least they're not OUR commissaries. If you like, you can look at them as the deputies of the EU staying the advance of the Turkish plague into their exclusive mens club for jerks (not that I don't like the EU system of confederate government, I'm a Brown Coat all the way, but come on guys, let the Turks in. It isn't funny anymore). But that wasn't my doing, and I'd like it if people would quit blaming ME. Anywho, the focus of this post isn't going to be EU politics. I don't like to use my blog to soap-box. I prefer to enjoy that pasttime IRL.

If Boston is said to be the Athens of America, and Madurai is the Athens of India, then surely Athens is the Athens of Greece. Today I will primarily focus on the animal and vegitable life of the cradle of democracy, with (assuredly) brief and quasi fictional accounts of my most recent trip to Greece.

First off: Flora

That city used to be COVERED in orange groves!

And it still is. The city of Athens is composed of four things in the way of architectual lay out.

1)Antiquated ruins that still stand as a testiment to how great, powerful, and advanced the ancient Hellens were. As we marvel at the perfection of their temples, still unsurpassed more than two millenia later we know that truly this was the culture of Plato, Aristotle, Pythagorus, and Zeno.

2)Fake ruins. Thats right, the Athenian Bureau of Tourism has seen fit to fill up the empty spaces between the plethora of Athenian ruins of immeasurable historic significance, with fake plaster ruins and intentionally felled columns. This makes the whole city feel like it is the seedy burrow in the Magic Kingdom.

3)Buildings that are in serious need of a bath. I get it Athens. You're very old. And you fell on hard times as the Ottomans declined, then again after WWII when people started thinking fascism was a good idea. You were economically weak for a while Greece, it's ok. But you're on the Euro now, so spring for some soap and a hose and clean yourself up. Most cities write history books to remember what has happened to them, Athens just collects all its dirt.

4)Friggen Orange trees man, they're EVERYWHERE! You know what it looks like in June, before all of the grass turns brown and dies, when every green area is polkadotted with yellow dandelions? Well that's what Athens looks like, only instead of weeds they have orange trees. With oranges! Did I mention the oranges? The size they have at supermarkets when oranges are actually in season, and one of the fruit is big enough for a meal. For FREE! Just growing on the street. Of course we were all too afraid to eat one. I've seen what happens in American prisons when a man cuts the heads off parking meters, I don't want to live the Greek version of Midnight express. But when you pealed them (the oranges) they made your hands smell delightful.

As for the animal life in the city, our guidbook gave us a helpful hint: "How do Greeks feel about animals? Well, it depends whether or not its a cat". It seems Greeks love their cats. And not like in the way Chinamen love cats. I suppose their affection for felines goes back to the Ptolemic rule of Alexandria, but I'm just saying that because I read it... in a book. We saw a few cats, that looked like strays, but there was always a food and water bowl that the cats had hidden somewhere near by.

Greece used to have a large population of sociopathic short swarthy men well schooled in varrious forms of martial arts. Unfortunately, deforestation, migration, and over-hunting by green-bean vigilantes has thinned the once great heard of Drakons to only a dwindling fraction of what they once were.

My travel companions in Greece, Zivic (the explorer), Alyssa (the tolken girl), and Wangchung (or Chinese man-servant whose barbaric pasttime of playing handheld video-games was alien to us at first, but we later accepted it for their primative simplicity) will all tell you that Athens was populated by a wealth of stray dogs. However, I did not have the heart to tell them all the truth. Those were no dogs... they were bears. But the bears were disguised as dogs, and seemed nice enough. We even made a number of friends.

Nicco- It seems most Greek males are named Nicco, and that goes for bear dogs as well. Nicco was the youngest and most friendly of the members of a pack of strays that were guarding the Parliment building. While the other dogs were in the streets hunting down cars for sustinance, Nicco was hanging out with us, fetching the scraps of our lunch that we threw him. Alyssa was particularly fond of Nicco because the language barrier that seems to exist here in London between man and beast was no problem in Greece. Nicco understoond kisses and 'hi there' and 'come here, Nicco'. Although the word 'no' got lost in translation when he dove into a garbage can.

Cow- Well it looked like one, so we called it Cow. It had big brown bovine spots all over its fat body. We thought, for a time, that it was running to keep up with us. In reality Cow was just running, or maybe stampeding, in no real direction. Cow would become confused when it would run away from us, then find us a minute later down the road.

Romeo- This dog loved me. It showed some affection for Lyss, and snubbed Zivic and Greg all together. But Romeo couldn't get enough of me. I particularly liked him because he looked EXACTLY like a dog I've seen somewhere before... I just can't think of where. It's a work of art, a Velasquez or a Goya. I'll post a picture of him soon so I can get all your feedback.

Scruffy- A clever and ambicious mut that followed us back to the hostel from the archeological museum. Scruffy understood how to use crosswalks and even how to understand walk signals (which would be impressive for a colourblind dog, but we now know he was a bear fully capable of seeing a full spectrum of ROYGBIV and even Ultra Violet and Infra-Black). Scruffy did not, however, get the concept that I was told is instinctive to all real dogs, that if you grab them by the scruff of the neck it is supposed to be natures off switch. But since Scruffy protected us from a cat who had been maliciously sculking in some shade by the road. We didn't notice the cat's surreptitious loitering until Scruffy had chased it into a tree. The cat lept to the top of the tree in a single bound. This had the effect that when I first saw the leaping critter, I thought it was a big white bat, which is far scarrier than a lounging cat. I'm not sure what Scruffy was thinking.

Then, of course, there were all the Greek gods walking about. However, like the false ruins, they are just a sleezy tourist trap now too.


it's pronounced vicarious...not surreptitious, which goes delectably on pancakes, waffles, and the godforsaken french monstrosity known simply as a crepe...thin pancakes weird me out man...
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