Not having seen the sun rise over the Mediterranean yet, I took my last opportunity, but first partaking the near universal caffeine ritual in one of the several shops visited. A new friend rolled me a cigarette, I succumbed to a brief vice. I asked him what Ataxi meant, it was being said everywhere but I knew it didn’t mean taxi, because of the context. He just said “yellow”. Preparing to write the previous day’s story, so as to not to forget a thing, I put on headphones, which I’m usually against when I want to soak in the environment, but I thought I needed to focus. There was a “media may be damaged” pop up and it didn’t play. Never seen that before. I pulled my headphones out and listened to the traffic, not writing except for the word “taxi” in a painting program, consisting of three horizontal lines of varying length.
Instead of dropping off the iPad I decided to see the sun near the water. The sea wall of Piraeus posed little problem. I found my way down to the beach, passing a few people stripping for a very chilly morning dip. Looking back at the town it was if the ocean had been occasionally eating away at the city, exposing some modern ruins. That and the view out into the Mediterranean were more beautiful than I expected, with a close island separated by blue green water, housing agave like plants, scrub brush, cliffs and a beach chair. I passed a guy fishing and an old lady with an old dog that came at me with pretty wicked teeth. I held the iPad up as my protection as I quickly retreated. Coming upon a dead end I started looking at the pretty tumbles stones and few bits of smoothed glass. I collected a few pieces of clear but while returning tossed them back. It just wasn’t the right object. I picked up a big rock this time to safeguard against the angry dog and the guy fishing scored just as I passed. I dropped my iPad off and headed to the metro.
I planned on taking the line that ran perpendicular to the usual one. I asked the man sitting in front of me where he would go to walk around. He asked me where I was from. I replied softly with USofA. He asked me about Trump, how everyone was so shocked that he had won. I said that I wasn’t shocked. I told him my mother voted for him, I asked how she could vote for a person that said woman should be grabbed by the pussy and she told me not to say that. I replied, I’m not the one that said it. He said Clinton was no good. I agreed. “I voted for Jill Stein”. Yes, not many people voted for her. I was amazed that he knew who she was. He said that Trump was good because Mexico was so bad, 60% of the people criminal. I told him that I lived there for 4 months and that it was more like 5%, but that 5 has all the money and owns the police. They sell drugs the the US and the US sells guns to them. But the other 95% of the people are extremely welcoming, honest and kind. He cleared up my taxi problem. I was pronouncing it slightly wrong, it is Adakzi which means: OK, I agree. He sent me east to what he thought I was after, a richer neighborhood. Getting lost quickly I strolled down some real back door streets eventually finding my way to a huge open market and quickly had some meat on a stick and eyes full of the colors of fresh produce. Looking at the map I had the desire to climb some of Mr Ymittos. The map wasn’t going to be any help in getting me there.
I headed “up” and followed a road that looked like a beginning of a switch back with some busses sitting on the brim. After walking a click around, I had to backtrack because of the dead end. I headed back down and took the first road that lost the least altitude hugging the foothills. There was another option to head up and I took it. Quickly the road grew in size, adding a couple lanes, and curved to reveal a huge 4 lane tunnel. I looked inside and saw some numbers indicating the tunnel was 400 meters long. I studied the traffic a bit and figured how long it would take me to sprint that much. When I sense an approaching cars I would slow my movements to not startle the drivers. I know it was stupid, but I didn’t have the time to double back again. I felt perfectly fine in the huge tunnel and admired the modern engineering. Half way through I discovered there was an error with the numbers. The tunnel was actually 600 meters, more than a 1/3 of a mile. When I made the end I was horrified to discover there was no exit, just a shear cliff and another huge tunnel. Going back, with the cars coming at my back it would be a much riskier endeavor. Like a 3 blood angle, a big yellow emergency van came barreling down honking it’s horn. We talked and he helped make me feel like less of a stupid American. He escorted me out and said, “take left, take next left, go strait, take left. Enjoy the mountain”. I was off.
Ascending a few hundred feet I gained a view of the Akropolis and the other hills of the area. There was a greek couple in a car having the most lovely sounding fight. Bees buzzing and the light but powerful in numbers clicks of the needles and pine cones filled the air. This must be what Mt. Pentelli was like before it burned. There was a choice to ascend on the paved road or a fire suppression road cut on probably a mild grade. I took the dirt road and was presented with a perfect view of the Παρθενώνας. There was also a surprising snow capped mountain in the distance. I spotted a mildly worn footpath that headed up towards the ridge, so I took it. I was able to follow it for about a mile until I had to bush wack up. Another 300 yards and it became impossible to move. Out of options I headed back down to where it was thinner but wasn’t able to retrace my route. It slowed me down a bit. Zigging and zagging, I stumbled upon a Guerrilla Grow. Twelve medium-small cannabis plants in black grow bags. It looked like they had a moderate skill level. They were clones started in rockwool then transplanted into an organic mix with vermiculite and hydroton to airate the soil. I stood there in amazement thinking about how unlikely it is to find something so related to my life, yet the lengths people take to hide their treasure. I looked at the hydroton, that would have been better used at the bottom of the bag, and marveled at the simplicity of the product, yet how incredibly it performs. It’s only made in one place on the planet. A clay mine in Germany. It shouldn’t be viewed like other ag products because of it’s near infinite recyclability. It’s more akin to the rare earth mined for wind power. I found my souvenir rocks.
Waiting to board for Germany, a San Diego tennis player was complaining that the Greek boarding agent was rude because she said that next time she visited she could only bring 1 carry-on like everyone else. The player said that the Greeks were stingy, they didn’t even give out water. I looked at her and blurted out “Americans Suck, We suck. Their economy is in the shitter. And isn’t your hometown getting ready to literally drink it’s own piss”? She replied that the drought was over and I responded, “Just wait, it will be back”. The Greek plane had the sexiest stewardesses and the best food. I chatted a little with the person sitting beside me, Lia Bellyloulou. There was a 1.5hr layover in München so I did some laps before the long Atlantic flight. I saw an American with headphones and winced at how removed he seemed from the place. Like a republican cowboy out some bizarre tv world portal walked a large man with a big black cowboy hat, fully saturated bright red long sleeve button down shirt, blue jeans and cowboy boots. I went up to him and said, “it takes some balls to be wearing that, right here, right now”. He said, “The cowboy hat saves me. No one thinks I voted for Trump because of it. Why should I worry? Because of the handshake”? I answered, “No, he just insulted Merkel. And said that Germany has been cheating the USA”. He just staired blankly back. I started looking at the features of the people in the airport and got some fluttery eyeballs back. I was surprised to find that I fit the Nazi-look stereotype more than anyone else there. Weird.
When I boarded the plane in Washington DC I sat beside a person that could have easily been my brother, we looked like short super soldiers. We started talking about weird food, art and my crazy experience in Athens. I handed him a card with my name and web address. I told him about the Jill Stein event; he responded that other counties still read and therefore have a far more informed understanding of politics. I started talking about some sensitive information about the Farm I tried to start in Colorado. A few lines into the story I looked at him, paused and asked, “You don’t work for the government, do you”. He replied, “Why yes, I do work for the government.” I pulled out a napkin, smiled nervously and wiped my brow. I asked, “what agency”. The 90d. I exhaled with relieve. I was worried it would be the deeE@. He said they don’t like the deeE@. He suggested I get a pair of tech gloves. That’s a good idea. When departing I saw a sticker on his bag. I asked if he was special forces. He was, and then I shared that my father was also a green beret and received a few purple hearts and a bronze star. I hope Americans open their eyes and humans find peace on Earth. We can not live much longer without it.