Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On Travel...

First off, I was not in this: 7 in Head On Collision despite being in that region of highway at the operative time. ReptonInfinity and I got to the queue of stalled cars, watched three police cars, two fire engines and a pair of ambulances go by and decided to take the alternate route, which was to go back to Waikanae and head off into the wilds of New Zealand mountains on the Akatarawa Rd. This is extremely narrow and twisty and long, and on the course of the drive Repton came to tell me the story of his one time in detention as a worked example of why taking the route that is longer may be more time consuming but also more interesting. From the timestamp on this article, however, (only quarter of an hour before we got home) in which they still hadn't cleared a lane for traffic, I think we made the right choice. Actually, it wasn't too bad a drive, we were early adopters of the alternate route so proceeded as Mother Ducks to a very long queue of cars.

My best wishes to the people in the car crash and their families. As flippant as my above post is, I know that this is a very difficult time for you.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I'm Back

Hi all,

This is just to say that I've arrived safely. There's not much to say about the flights home apart from: they were long. At Bangkok, I could have seized the opportunity to see a strange, exciting and vibrant city, but instead concluded that I was fed up with crowds and hung around the airport for 14 hours. The people who did go said that they had a really interesting time, although they were rather confused when the taxi driver led them up a narrow stair, past a large number of men staring at them, and presented them with a tailor who said he could make fitted clothes for them and deliver them to the airport before they flew out.

I'm a new fan of homeopathic jetlag pills. I'm feeling astonishingly good, compared to other long haul flights of my experience, a little bit spacy right now, but not as bad as a cold, and I could work or sit an exam if I had to. ReptonInfinity came to the airport to meet me off the plane, and showed a gentlemanly enthusiasm for helping me stay awake yesterday evening, as well as taking me out for a long walk in the sun this morning. Have I mentioned lately what a lovely guy John is?

Monday, December 18, 2006

By the Way...

I should have mentioned this before, but Mark, one of our lecturers has been posting photos in his blog, if anyone is interested. I have photos, but I won't be putting them up until I get home.

Reporting In, Again

Hi all,

I've been offline for the last four or five days (I forget exactly), so this is just to say that I'm still alive and all. We've been doing large amounts on the Pelopponessos, combined with study for the course test, which had us all thoroughly terrified. On Friday, the evening before, we were so worried that we started writing summary sheets on the sites we'd presented and taping them to our doors, sort of like a modern day Wall of Eponymous Heroes. When Mark and Diana (the lecturers) got back from dinner, they realised what we were doing, said "Look at our babies!" and wrote up short sheets of their own. Yesterday evening immediately after the test, it took me an hour and a half to stop bouncing, I was so happy it was over. Alasdair and I even found somewhere to throw a frisbee around (actually quite hard over here), in the central court of the hotel we were staying at. The name of the hotel is Amallia, but you need to have some passing knowledge of the Bronze Age in the Aegean to know why the fact that it has a central court is funny.

The worst travel day was when we drove from Sparta to Pylos to Bassae to Olympia, all in one day, over terrible terrible roads. There were not a few places on the route where the road had four or five switchbacks, just to get up the hill. The front of the bus was rather more full than usual, as everyone with a tendency to carsickness got chummy with Mark and Diana who had the front seats. Olympia was wonderful, although the lovely, beautiful, clean, exquisite air was bone dry and it hurt to breathe, so I was fairly glum and uncommunicative that day, which is a shame. (Stupid asthma.) There I saw what is now my absolute favourite statue, the one of Hermes holding the baby Dionysos which is totally more fantastic in real life than in pictures, because you can pick out the details, and the three-dimensionality, and the lovely curve of Hermes' back. Just lovely. Delphi was also truly wonderful. There and Olympia were the ancient world's two favourite places to buy splosh pressents for, so there is a significant amount of Really Cool things to look at there.

Anyway, my love to all, I'll be back on the late afternoon of the 20th. Take care.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Still Alive...

Today we went to Epidauros (or Epidavros if you speak Modern vs Ancient Greek). This should be on everyone's must-see lists for Greece. The Theatre has the best acoustics I've ever heard in my life. One of the girls on this trip, Alissa, has a very beautiful singing voice, and was bullied into singing for us as we headed out into the far reaches of the audience seating. No change in volume, and just lovely sound quality. Also the two people presenting the site performed a short extract from the Aristophanes play Wealth, with cross dressing, a fake and very long penis, and lots of jokes about members of the audience. The other main site there is the Sanctuary to Aesclepius, which has a very different feel. Walking in, surrounded by pine trees, in a slightly damp morning, we could almost have been in NZ, although the sheep over the fence had long ears and tails, and there were bells on the minder dogs. I walked around in there by myself after we'd been let loose to wander about, and it's a very calming, tranquil place. There's a guy called Henry Miller who talked about hearing the heart of the world beating, in the great calm and stillness. I so totally get what he meant.

Take care all.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christ, O Thou Pelican

I just saw a Pelican!!! It was so cute and pink and fluffy and, and, and...

I'm currently in Sitia, which is quite small, about 9,000 people but has a nice waterfront. Not much to say apart from that this morning in Aghios Nicholaos (ie St Nicholas) was a public holiday to celebrate the Feast of St Nicholas. The other Steffany and I walked up to the town cathedral to see if we were in time for the procession (we weren't) but the people clustered outside were so friendly (they gave us bread tied with purple ribbons, even) that we asked if we could go inside, and lit candles for the people back at home. It was lovely inside, and I'm very glad I went.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Back in the land of Nod

Well, back in the land of cheap internet access. Against my expectation Kolimbari did in fact have some terminals available for hire, just quite expensive ones. Ah Freshness Cafe... you made a lot of money out of us. (We went there for food quite frequently as well.)

The trip is going well, particularly as we had a couple of days off in the last week in which I slept much and am feeling considerably happier about life, the universe and everything. Yesterday we went olive picking, which actually consists of hitting a tree with a big stick.

I am gutted that I couldn't make the finale Mordavia game. Ah, well, people can tell me all about it at the After Larp.