Homage to Athena

The last day I was in Egypt, Hamdy and Momen took me out for
one last sail on the Nile, and afterwards we went shopping and for Shesha till
1am. I thought Hamdy would get me some good deals on stuff, but the shops he
brought me to were in full gouge-mode so I had to engage in some ruthless
bartering to get them down to even western prices. Didn’t mind though, I always
kinda enjoy bartering, and there were a number of things that I wanted to get
for gifts back home

Last swim in the Nile
Hamdy climbing the main mast to tie down the sail

Sitting at a coffee shop here at Cairo International
drinking an Americano. Hasn’t been a good day; bad for even a travel day. Got
~2hrs sleep last night before getting up at 4am to catch a flight from Luxor to
Cairo. Did some shopping last night with Hamdy, went to an ATM to withdraw his
tip for the week, apparently can only withdraw EG£2000/day. No
problem, I’ll wait till after midnight, try again in the morning SOL, probably
resets at midnight N.A. time, try 10 different ATMs including 3 at the airport
SOOL. I feel like shit because Hamdy has spent all week helpin me out for
nothing but gas/food/trip expenses and I can’t pay him before leaving. He says,
“don’t worry about it, you can transfer the money later, no worries.” Good guy
Hamdy once again shows his cool and puts me at ease in a less than ideal
situation. So yeah, he’s getting a real good tip once I get to Greece.
Got to Cairo, and found out that my flight from Cairo to
Athens left at 4am this morning. Booked the flights in GMT (-7hr) time, google
took the liberty of shifting all my calendar dates 9hrs ahead to EET (+2hr)
without filling me in. So thanks for that google, and also FUCK YOU! Sorry, had
to get that out of my system; missing that flight cost me a $300 deductible, $350
additional flight, and may have to buy new flights back to Canada in July
because they have to be in sequential order. It’s just annoying as fuck because
I would have much rather given that money (which would go a long way in
EG£) to Hamdy. What can you do but never fully trust google with
important things again… Guess I shouldn’t complain, in a few hours I’m on my
way to Athens for 3 nights, blocks from the acropolis, then off to Crete for a
week at a timeshare resort the parents booked for me for grad. Thanks Mom and
Dad, you’re the best! I definitely feel the need for a holiday from my holiday
in Egypt, which was incredible, but a little overwhelming even with Hamdy
babysitting my ass.
Yesterday we went out for one last sail on the Nile before
sunset. Hamdy reaches into one of the feluca’s caches and whips out a buck
knife, saying “now we will put your head in a box and your body in the Nile!” Obviously
it was a joke, and the knife for a watermelon; but I’m not gonna lie, I felt
more tension than I care to admit. But no worries Mom, in a few hours I’ll be
on the other side of the Mediterranean in one piece if all goes according to
plan. I’m more confident now that the Nile region is more or less travel safe,
and I do hope tourism makes a comeback in Egypt for all those dependant on it
for their living. Even though I try to limit my own exposure to the media’s
fear-mongering, it nevertheless has influenced how I perceive the world, and
has had a profound impact on the Egyptian economy. Many of the temples were
utterly silent excepting my footsteps, the hotels all but empty, cruise-ships
moored side-by-side in long rows out into the Nile, and rarely were moments of
unguardedness left unexploited by those desperate enough to resort to
soft-theft but maybe not so desperate as to attract the attention of the armed
uniforms.
Caught a few nods while waiting in the airport, tried going
to my gate to wait but got hissssed at (which very apparently means “Stop doing
what you’re doing right now!”), and just settling into my hotel in Athens at
last. Was feeling bummed about missing my flight earlier, but really it’s a
pretty good deal trading a few more bits of coloured paper and electrons to
catch a 2 hour ride over an ocean in a composite bird.
I must admit that it feels really nice to be back in the
European culture again – it’s the little things: most of the rules of the road
apply-ish, people drinking beer on the sidewalk, women showing off their bodies.
Had some nice and cheap Greek salad, kabobs, and shared a few beers with Josh
from Australia and Malcolm from Ottawa tonight in the common room of Fivos, and
it was so nice to just sit and shoot the shit and share stories of our
experiences abroad and at home. The Russian receptionist seemed like an angel welcoming
me with her English, warm humor, and friendly banter. I found most Egyptians
eager to initiate and reciprocate a welcome smile or wave of greeting, which I
found really comforting, but you can’t really beat conversing more or less
naturally in your native language.
Yesterday I spent almost all day trying to find a way to
send money to Hamdy, didn’t have a phone, internet at the hotel was shit, had
to wander around most of the day trying to locate an legitimate Western Union,
then make multiple trips back and forth due to needing my passport and such. I
still haven’t got confirmation that it went through, but he should be picking
it up today. I paid him over US$300 ~= EG£2500 which I guess is about
2 months salary for a government worker (basically best job you can get there)
and about 6 months wage for a hotel worker. Also I gave Momen my extra Samsung
SIII phone that I brought in case I lost my MotoX; judging by his smile, I
think he liked it.
I know he’ll get more use out of it then I will anymore, so I’m glad she went to a good home 🙂

Finally managed to get my phone connected to a Greek
network. After that I made the last hour at the new Acropolis Museum. It was
pretty cool, much of it had glass flooring so you could look down over the
remaining ruins of a stone village that the museum was built atop – an amazing
juxtaposition between ultra-modern and ancient architecture. Couldn’t get any
pictures despite the lax enforcement of the no photos rule, because I turned
off my phone but didn’t have my SIM PIN on me so couldn’t turn it back on until
back in my room. This also caused me to get lost for about two hours trying to
find my way back to the hotel. When I did, my feet were killing me and my room
was completely cleaned out – apparently I had forgotten to renew my room for
the last day and they took possession of my stuff. Got it sorted out and went
back out to make the Acropolis 5 minutes before last entry, having only walked
around it in the morning in a successful attempt at evading the tourist hoards.
Made my flight to Rhodes this morning, and just waiting in Rhodes to fly to
Crete

View of the Acropolis from the roof of my hostel, Fivos
View of Athens from the Acropolis
Acropolis Museum entrance-way

 The Parthenon was dedicated to Athena, with the marbles of it’s two pediments depicting her birth and victory over Poseidon, and Athens named after her. I found myself frequently mourning the loss of my friend and unfalteringly faithful companion Athena, my lovely Rottweiler who left us two weeks ago.

Rest in Peace my beloved babygirl

4 thoughts on “Homage to Athena

  1. Cari M says

    A very descriptive and entertaining account of your travel frustrations. Hamdy described my worst fear about you going to Egypt and you are so right – I am greatly relieved that your head is still attached to your body and you are safely to Greece. Sorry about Athena – we miss her too. Every day. I hope the resort on Crete is just what you are needing to get rested up from your adventures. Have a great time relaxing in the olive garden and the beach.

    Reply
  2. lmutch says

    I am enjoying Crete to the fullest, it is literally a dream here 🙂 Can't wait to share more about it in my next post.

    Reply
  3. Tiara Mutch says

    Hamdy sounds so awesome hahah! Great joke!

    Good time to be moving along it sounds like. So shitty about the travel mix ups but I suppose that kind of thing is bound to happen at least once while travelling otherwise it woulddn't be the complete experience.

    Enjoy Greece, can't wait to see photos!

    Reply
  4. lmutch says

    Yeah it's all part of the fun I guess hey, Greece is amazing! Live music and buffet tonight:)

    Reply

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