Monday, December 20, 2010

First day in Athens

I was really excited to see Athens, though I really didn't do very much research before hand. I was warned way back in Amsterdam that I would be dissapointed. "Those people have built over their treasures, there is nothing left to see!" I was told by a Dutchman. This warning was one of the reasons I decided to change my plan up a bit by going to Prague. I'm quite glad I did because in my opinion the Dutchman was right about about Athens. There's some amazing archeological sites to see, namely the Acropilis, but you really can see the major sites in two days. I have to say I found the rest of Athens pretty dissapointing, though you should note that I did not go out to other Greek Islands. I was told I missed out, and I probably did, but that's one of the sacrifies I had to make by going to Prague instead of staying in Greece longer. I suppose there's always next time but I'm really in no rush to go back to Greece.

Pretty much the instant I got off the train in Athens I was targeted by scammers. My first encounter was with an old man that was just a bit too friendly. I was walking around looking for my hostel. He approached me, very friendly, with a smile and asked where I was from. "Oh America! My son, he is in America, studying in Texas. OKay but where is your father from?" Again, I am not accepted as an American beacuse I am not white. Annoying. This stupid conversation went on for a bit more, all the while I was watching his hands and staying very aware of my pockets. Eventually he did point me in the right direction of where I should go based on my map and invited me out to get drinks with him later. I said okay to get him off my back and headed off to find my place of rest. While walking away I encountered yet another friendly old man that wanted to know where I was wrong and heading off to. This time I just ignored hte guy and kept walking.

When I arrived and checked in I asked the guy working at the counter what my encounter was all about; it did seem really fishy afterall. "Ah, initiated already" he said. Curiously, I looked at him waiting for his explanation. He continued, "What they do is invite you into a bar that belongs to a friend of theirs. You get a couple drinks and then they hit you with a tab of like 500 Euros. Then the doors close and two big guys come out that are happy to take you to the ATM and get your money."

It was a weird feeling. I was happy that I had suspected the worst from this guy and not fallen prey to him. Well, I wasn't really planning on getting drinks with him anyway; not that I'm opposed to hanging out with old dudes, but my instincts were not to. I also thought, these greek scamsters are kind of dumb, they should use hot women to lure guys into their bars, not old men. On the other hand, I apparently look like a big easy target and this was just the beginning.

Evening was approaching so I knew I wouldn't be able to see much. I asked the guy at the front desk for some recomendations of what I could see still. He recommended heading to the Acropolis, near it is a large rock you can climb on with a great view. I decided to take his advice.

On the way to the Acropilis I ran into the old Greek guy again. "My Friend..." I ignored him and kept walking. "Why you act like you don't know me!??!" Whatever, I just left him there. Go and get a real job, your country is broke because people like you don't want to do real work. Lazy Greeks!

Here are pictures from the rock. The view was really amazing. I also go to over hear a young couple that apparently met in Athens. "Come on, we're here only once. You're here only once, I'm here only once." They continued to talk, but basically it was totally obvious the guy was trying to bang the girl. He continued by talking about how he met other travelers before and how they invited him to their wedding basically trying to affirm what a great guy he is. I don't know if this shit works, but the girl wasn't quite ready to bite yet.... yet being the key word. I eventually left them to continue taking my terrible pictures.

The rock where you can get a great view of the Acropolis.
The Acropolis

Afterwards I just wandered around eventually ending up by the Library of Hadrian (no pictures). It was a pain in the butt finding my way back that night, but I made it.

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