Shopping for food in Greece

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to visit a pharmakeo to buy some anti-itch cream for my mosquito bites. Once I arrived at the supermarket, things got weird:

Best served with milk

Best served with milk

Not for all of the Argan Oil in the world!

Not for all of the Argan Oil in the world!



The right to be anti-social

This is the last week of the field school I have been volunteering at. Washing pot sherds and helping clean the areas since 5:30AM. Lunch at 2PM. Dinner at around 8:30PM. At 8PM,the field school gathers around a big L-shaped table to eat their dinners and bring their iPhones to use the taverna’s Wi-Fi.

But not tonight. Tonight there is an exhibition at the neighboring town’s community center displaying models and tools used during the past 10 years of the field school project. Afterwards, the mayor of that town will treat everyone to traditional Greek barbeque and drinks.

And I skipped it.

A lot of people would think (correctly) that this is considered an act of stupidity since I am basically turning down a free meal and drink.

But those people have not stayed in a town where it’s 100 degrees with no A/C and the populace expects you to dance after eating greasy food and drinking insane amounts of alcohol. Given my stomach conditions of acid reflux and a light-weight, I did not feel like risking getting sick at the event.

I did risk such illness last week, when the mayor threw an outdoor party for the team (barbeque and all):

Right in front of the apothiki. It was 9PM and the sun was still out!

Right in front of the apothiki. It was 9PM and the sun was still out!

Greek Barbeque: pork, chicken and a sausage on a stick.

Greek Barbeque: pork, chicken and a sausage on a stick.

Team mates dancing the traditional Greek circle dance for 20 mins!

Team mates dancing the traditional Greek circle dance for 20 mins!

I bravely drank retsina and Greek beer before dancing the traditional Greek dance in a circle in the middle of the small party at 20 mins at one point at the party. Could only take a 2 minute break before Cutie implored we dance again. I danced that night as much as I could, since the party lasted until 12AM. By that time, I was exhausted and dehydrated.

The next morning I was drained, working slower than usual and melting.

The physical consequences from a night of merriment wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for my spirits.

My friend and neighbor who is taking care of our cat uploaded a YouTube video. It was a video of out cat, purring under her hands as she fed her at our place.

It brought tears to my eyes because I miss her.

My cat as a chess meme

My cat as a chess meme

After spending almost 12 hours with the field school team, I just want to go back home and hug my cat, feed it and hell, even clean up her litter box. Cutie and I both recognize that our cat is part of our small nuclear family. We are staying at a house, but its not a home.

Tonight I just don’t feel like dealing with people I probably won’t see again (and have not bonded with), deal with Greek politicians and other nonsense. I have that stupid Phil Collins song “Take me Home” over and over again in my head because I’ve been away too long from home.

Home where my heart is.


The sun is trying to kill me. Or something else.

I am taking a break from hand washing clothes to blog. I HATE being tired because there is so much to do at the headquarters where I am volunteering at. I am baffled at why I get so exhausted from hand washing clothes here in Greece where in the US I don’t get exhausted.

It’s probably due to the heat or some mosquito that bit me and I am now getting sick from.

Today I had to skip work because I woke up with a monster sinus headache along with nausea. Since the small village of Narthaki does not have a pharmacy or an pharmakeo to walk to, I had to make due with benadryl and a pain killer and try to sleep it off.

Three hours later I show up, not as sick but willing to do some pottery washing. The director of the place flat out told me that I was no use to her while sick and that I should relax so that I don’t get sicker.

So I returned to the small house, dizzy and nauseated with hurt feelings (still trying to come to terms with my illness).  I rest some more and then try to eat something and figure out what I can do.

Since I am a workaholic, I couldn’t just lay around and do nothing. So I did some laundry:

And I am still not done :(

And I am still not done 😦

I feel ashamed because of my low energy levels. Yesterday I was fine. But the day before that I had to deal with heat exhaustion and skip the afternoon pot washing to try to cool off. That is another pet peeve of mine: no matter how many breaks I take (to the point of just dunking water over my head to cool off) I can’t seem to cool off long enough.

I WANT to work hard enough to justify the wonderful food we get at the end of the day. But since my scope of archeology is next to zero, the most I can do is wash pot sherds all day.

Maybe my conspiracy theory is not too far off.

And the thunder rolls

It doesn’t feel like work.

After showing up at the apothiki to continue work (right after the end of the Greek siesta hours), I was informed that due to the upcomming bad weather there was no work for the rest of the day.

So I retreated with Cutie and got a frappe to wait until 8:30pm for dinner at the nearby taverna.

Behold the real frappe:


If this is full-time volunteering, then this must be how philantropic millionares spend their time. But that is just nonesense. Maybe the Greek schedule is messing me up. But I’m not complaining.

A short break thanks to the rain

The air in the beautiful village of Narthaki, Greece is usually as dry as the desert. Except today.

After spending the entire morning washing pot shards, it started to pour and thunder while we were eating lunch (large kebab and french fry sandwiches!). We retreated to the balcony to finish lunch, hoping it would eventually stop. But it didn’t.

No one cared if the chairs got wet.

No one cared if the chairs got wet.

Since lunch hour lasts 2 and 1/2 hours, I took the time to do some minor chores until 5:30PM. (Yes this is one hell of a lunch break!). The residents also take a siesta at the same time since 2-5 is considered to be the hottest time of the day where NO ONE works. It’s a rather strange work schedule since the team I worked with today took 2 breaks before lunch.

I showed up at the apothiki/headquarters at 5:30PM to report for duty. Because of the weather I couldn’t wash any more pot shards or help label the finds (these tasks required the dry Greek weather). I was dismissed for the day while the students worked on their laptops or journals. Cutie went to class/project briefing while I retreated to the house.

This house is driving me nuts. The plumbing is messed up:  when I took a shower I had to stop the flow of water every 5 seconds so that the drain would not flood the house. As soon as it started to thunder, the electricity went out so I was showering with a flash light. In spite of trying to be careful, I had to re-mop the bathroom floor several times.

I an trying my best to adjust by enjoying the good things as much as possible (alcohol & wi-fi). The plumbing situation is driving me bat shit and I hope I don’t accidentally go off on anyone.

From big city to small village in 3 weeks

I went from walking all over a beautiful and ancient city of Athens…View from northwest of the Acropolis cat in ruins near wall of kimon spider web wing near wall of kimon






















































And ended up in a small village of Narthaki:

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(Actually this is the house Cutie and I are staying at while in Narthaki).

I apologize for the short and rather dull update on my current trip. I have been washing pot shards all day. That was the main reason I went to Greece: to help Cutie with a dig he is participating for. Don’t get me wrong: I loved the opportunity to go to Greece (and experience Athens), but because of the following B.S., I wouldn’t stay there for the whole seven days as I did:

1-Pushy waiters who won’t leave you alone if you happen to walk past their restaurants

2-Lack of public places to sit while walking around Athens.

3-The exchange rate with the Euro.

4-Rude and impatient store owners (most of them. For the record I actually about 3 merchants who were actually polite).

5-Everything closing so early that it is a miracle the city hasn’t fallen apart.

Hence why, if you want to stay in Greece for a long time, your best bet would be a small village where people are nice to you. In Narthaki, the residents are so nice and do not display ANY anti-American B.S. to you. Not to mention it’s peaceful!

That’s my view.

What do you think: are you more of a city or village person?