Travels: First reaction in Athens

The first destination I visited was Syntigma Square.  There were loads of young people gearing up for the protest which happens to be in a few hours.  Huge flags and large ‘pow wow’ groups filled the area.  I plan on watching it go down and catching it all on video.  I feel another potential CNN iReport coming my way.

One thing about Athens that really struck me was the graffiti.  It’s everywhere.  There’s also no discrimination in terms of which buildings get it – even grand monuments.  It appears that the authorities here have no interest whatsoever in managing this ‘problem’.  Seriously, it’s everywhere.  The Anarchy sign (above) is the most frequent tag.

Last night, I had a spectacular time at the Vintage Shopping Bar – the place was bumping with tunes and good company.  I spent most of the evening speaking to a filmmaker who studied and lived in Belgium for many years but now lives in Athens.  She is from Rhodes and told me not to go to Santorini.  Looks like I should change my game-plan then.

This woman, whose name I never got, had an interesting point – she said Athens/Greece isn’t European, but rather ‘Barca‘, meaning it’s more like Serbia or Croatia than Paris or Berlin.  She also suggested that this was an important time to be visiting Athens as the city is at an unprecedented juncture.  She kept referring to Athenians as schizophrenic.

Athens no doubt has a serious edge to it at the moment.  I’m not sure if it’s because of the economic/social/political climate or if the city has always been this way.  I wonder what Socrates would say.

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