Monday, July 27, 2015

Olympian Greek Drama

Despite current economic crises and the fact that the Romans were the flashier big brothers who appropriated much of the early Greek culture, when I think of Greece I think of philosophic freedom of thought, a triumphant amount of scientific exploration and of course, the mythology of gods and goddesses galore. I have long since considered myself an expert on Greek mythology, due to the fact that I once wrote a short musical entitled "Step on Beelzebub's Toes, Aphrodite, Crush Them" and read all of the Percy Jackson books. So the reality of course is that I know very selected pieces of information, based on whatever whimsy I take into my magical little brain. Even so, before the ladies of the sea and I even stepped foot on the Greek Isles, we had all chosen Greek goddess names, based on our personalities. I assisted with the process as best I could, trying hard not to be too anal retentive about what I thought we should all choose. Since I had already gone a bit bonkers via the rules of color coordination when choosing the palette for our t-shirts, my only caveat for goddess names was that they must in fact be goddesses, not muses or various other mythical creatures.

In the end, Dancer Friend chose Iris, the goddess of rainbows, because she is a cheery, upbeat, creative sort. Coincidentally, Iris is only one letter away from Irish, befitting a gal who currently lives in Ireland and who spent her formative years being a competitive Irish Step Dancer. Our lovely Doctor Friend chose Nike, goddess of Victory, quite an appropriate name because she is the only one of us who consistently runs to the point of marathons and frankly wins when it comes to responsible and admirable careers. I will call the other lady, Rally Friend, because despite the fact that she was and is currently preggers, she was sort of amazing when it came to putting up with our tipsy antics and oddly enough seemed to have more energy than the rest of us despite being banished to the trundle bed on the floor. Interestingly enough, her chosen goddess name was Hygeia, representative of hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness. Though not the doctor of the group, she is known for a hysterical love of organization, domesticity and borderline OCD. I was, of course, Aphrodite, for all of the obvious reasons including obsession with love, pink, dresses, and overwhelming narcissism.

Now that we have our characters in order, I will commence to describing the setting of the day. Our final stop on the cruise was to a port called Katakolon, on the mainland. The small little port village offers very little in the way of entertainment, the real reason for stopping at this location being to visit Olympia, the original site of the Olympic Games. While it absolutely would have been nice to see another island and enjoy more of the typical summertime nautical excursions, I really do love history and frankly relish any opportunity to hob nob about ancient ruins.

Now, onto the plot! It's possible this was the hottest of all the days on our trip, though it's also possible that it only felt that way because there was no raging wind to cool us down. We took a bus from the port to Olympia, fully equipped with air conditioning, wifi, and a tour guide. It was a lovely ride and offered up a bit of history as well as current events about Greece. We were told it would take a couple of hours to wander the ruins and peruse the museum and that the bus would be waiting to bring us back at a designated time. We weren't entirely positive how much interest we would have in the museum but it ended up being a welcome respite from the blazing sun. First however, we walked through the ancient ruins of the Olympics, a true wonder of the ancient world. At the entrance, there was a cordoned off area where excavation was still underway. Throughout the site, there was stone and rock piled up everywhere, sometimes very discernibly a building and other times nothing more than a lingering memory of what could have been. We obviously took many photos, ranging from the serious to the absurd, utilizing the modern efforts of technology to manufacture shots of us in our greek goddess t-shirts amongst the pillars and pieces of yore. Despite the fact that there are strict areas where you absolutely cannot touch or even lean against the ruins, some are much less severely guarded. Every once and while, a member of security would whistle out to make it clear someone had been naughty, though I was told by one man sitting in a little security booth that he would not yell at me if I touched the ruins because I am too pretty... Damn straight, Aphrodite... love scene in every true heroic tale.

As our adventures came to a close, we headed back to the port where we were able to finish any last minute souvenir shopping and search for an authentic Greek gyro... will they find it? Will they not? Climax! Followed by our long-awaited feast and accompanying glass of ouzo. Rumor had it that the ship would be hosting a toga party in one of the lounges that evening so me being me (costume and props!) I went out of my way to buy a bright pink scarf and turquoise necklace so that I could really fulfill my role as Aphrodite. The party was of course, lamer than lame, since it was primarily young children who were allowed to be up and about after 10pm. Too bad for them I was one of the only ones who looked awesome enough to really be a goddess. So after one drink, we quickly ran from the scene (plot twist!) and settled ourselves down in a much quieter lounge where we could loudly play Heads Up and end our mythical tale in peace... denouement.

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