Greece monkey

I'd forgotton just how chaotic Athens is! It has been 19 years, 6 months and 14 days (approximately) since my last vist here, and they still haven't repaired that old building on top of the rock. There are cars everywhere, double and even triple parked, and they come at you from all angles, complete with hordes of mopeds that sound like a demented swarm of wasps. Packs of dogs (friendly mostly) roam the streets or kip out on the sidewalk, and people just step over them. There are unguarded potholes and excavations everywhere you walk, so you need to keep your wits about you, and your nostrils are continually assailed with several aromas all at one time.

I'm staying in the Port of Pireaus (pronounced 'Pirry Ass' by the locals and they should know) and the weather is clear, blue skied and about 18-20 degrees - very pleasant after 6 degrees at Gatwick yesterday. It's like a British summer (remember those?) I love the Mediterranean style of life - old boys sat out in ricketty chairs playing with their worry beads, ornate wrought iron roadside barriers, the trees heavy with oranges, greenery down every street I walk, and the laissez faire attitude of everyone - 'no problem'....

I'm here to speak at the ICODL conference (on Open and Distance Learning), which opens tomorrow in some strange part of Athens that no-one seems to know the location of. My colleague Mark Townsend from the University of Plymouth will be flying out to join me tonight, and there's safety in numbers. The hotel clerk last night was very surly, didn't crack a smile, and ignored most of my questions. There's going to be a battle! Going off now to spy out the best and most rustic tavernas... Κύριε ἐλέησον!


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