Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Disgusting Brat Cat

Last night I went in my bed to go to sleep and I wanted my kitty on the bed too so I called him. The lights were off so I couldn't see anything but I heard him jump on the bed for a little while and it sounded like he was licking himself (cat bath). Then he jumped beside the bed and it sounded like he was eating his catfood which is on the other side of my suite. So I kind of wondered what he was eating...

I turned on the light and saw that he was chewing on a half eaten mouse! Sick!! He had brought it on my bed and now it was on this little rug I have near my bed. There was blood on the floor, the bed, all over the rug, and my slippers... it was disgusting! So I had to get up, throw the rug and the mouse still on it out the door, scrub the floor, and take off my top blanket. I'll have to do a big wash today. My cat got punished and had to stay out the rest of the night. Yuck!


Monday, January 29, 2007

Greek Frappe Experience

I had a pretty good weekend. There was a big drop in the temperature over night; so on Saturday it was very mild and Sunday was freezing! We may get some winter weather for a while now.

I went to the View Cafe in Hotel Nikolas again on Sunday (it's becoming my favorite place to hangout). I got my usual frappe and used the free internet. I've decided that I should talk about the Greek Frappe. I'm totally addicted to them and have about one per day. It's a cold coffee drink with foam and it's really popular in the summer. Yes, there are frappes in other countries too but they aren't the same. For example in Starbucks, the Frappuccinos are kinda like coffee slushies with crushed iced, Greek Frappes are different. I get my frappe "μέτριος με γάλα" (metrios meh gala) - medium sweet with milk. You can also have it: "γλυκός" (glikos) - sweet, "σκέτος" (sketos) - no sugar, and you don't have to have milk. You have to have one if you come here! It's so nice in the summer, going to an outside cafe in the evening with friends and having a frappe...classic! Here's additional info if you want to research it a little more, lol:

Army Update: Tony is doing pretty well. He's still on the boat and they are at Kos right now which is a really nice island. When he's on duty (3 hour shifts) he has to keep an eye on the radar and radio in every half an hour. He's one of two guys trained in communications on the boat.

He'll be back in Samos on Wed or Thurs. He's getting pretty sick of being in such close quarters with the other guys. About 15 of them share a little room with rows of bunk beds very close to each other. They usually have a DVD or two going during the day or evening for whoever has free time and they are allowed out pretty often which is nice. This is a similar boat to the one Tony's on, he'll send me pictures of the real one once he's at Samos.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Travel Map

Here is a cool little map where I put place marks of where I've been, lived, and want to go one day. It was fun to make! If you want to make one, just click on the map and make an account.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Walk to Naoussa

The weekend was beautiful! Sunday was even tank top weather and there were a few people swimming.

On Saturday, I went for a walk in the northern most harbour; from Kolimbithres to Naoussa. It was a nice walk along the water but it was very very windy! The sun was out though, so it wasn’t cold. On my way I passed a resort, right on the water, and ended up walking through the grounds to get onto the road from the beach. It had a heli-pad and a big pool right on the beachfront. Must be a nice place to stay.

When I made it to Naoussa, I explored the town a bit. It’s different than in the summer that’s for sure. Below is a pic of an area that, in the summer, is full of little tables and chairs and people everywhere! At night, it’s even crazier and you can barely even walk through the crowds. On the right, is a little but popular bar we went to for some fun dancing in the summer. Now it’s completely shut down and there is no one anywhere around.

Here are a few more pics of Naoussa.

I brought a few movies to watch upstairs in the evenings and both were really good and very intense: United 93 and Beyond Borders. I recommend both as they get your emotions going and Beyond Borders can really open your eyes.

Tony is still on Leros. They were planning on leaving the island for Kos on Friday but they had to keep their eye on a Turkish boat so he doesn’t know when they’ll leave. It looks like I won’t see him till after my trip in Feb, so over a month to go. That’ll be 2 months without my Tones! :-( He found out also that they used to ship mentally unwell people to Leros during the war and there are about 600 of them on the island. A lot of the people that live there work in the local institutions. Interesting.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Name Day for Antonios

Yesterday was the Name Day for all of the Antonios's (is that right? Antonios' or Antonios's?) Anyways, for those of you who don't know what Name Days are, they are celebrated like birthdays here. Each day of the year celebrates a different name, the female and male version of the name (like Antonios and Antonia). And usually the kids get named after their grandparents therefore Tony is named after is grandpa and he has a few cousins with the same name too.

After Karate, Markos told me to come over to his parent's (Tony's grandparent's) house for dinner. So that was nice, there were a bunch of people over and a lot of good food to eat. It was fun! Tony took a picture of his grandpa on one of his visits (below). They got it framed and gave it to him. He's so cute! He feeds those animals behind and Markos built the rock building in the back.

I had a interesting convo with Tony on the phone too! He is still at Leros (until Friday) and while we were talking, he decided to go for a walk from the boat into town (Lakkis) ; they usually take a taxi. While he was walking along, he saw some really neat, big, old buildings and he kept walking and he saw a guy staring at him, then another, and another. He wondered why they looked kinda wierd and why were they staring? There were also plastic chairs set out around these big old buildings which looked odd. Finally a fourth guy came up to him and tried to say something but couldn't talk properly. He tried to ignore those guys and kept walking till he went through a gate and saw that he had walked through the grounds of a mental institution! Haha!! It was quite hilarious once he figured that out!


Monday, January 15, 2007

Coffee at Hotel Nikolas

On Saturday the weather was windy and grey. I didn't want to get on my bike at all because it looked like it could rain at anytime. Sunday was a different story. There wasn't a cloud in the sky! It's funny, I'm getting really spoilt with all the sun. When there is a day that is cloudy, it's kinda shocking and I think "oh what a crap day" when really, one day of cloudiness or a bit of rain is NOT that bad! I can't imagine what it'll be like next winter when I'm back in the UK or Canada. Yikes...

I went to a cafe in Hotel Nikolas on Sunday because I felt like going somewhere social. It is a very popular hangout and it's situated on the edge of a cliff over looking the water and has a big patio with a great view. I brought my laptop because there is free wireless internet. I had a frappe, surfed the net, and talked to Tones on the phone, it was so relaxing. Once my laptop battery died and Tones had to go, my bosses and a few other people I know came in. So I ended up sitting with them on the patio in the sun. It was so nice to just close my eyes and feel the sun on my face.

I also practiced my Greek a little with Mikhalis' daughter. She is about 13 years old and very sweet. We tried to make a bit of conversation. I feel very "slow" when I try to speak Greek because I really have to think about what I'm going to say, first in English, then translate it to Greek (if I can), then say it properly with the right word endings and emphasis on the right syllable. Tricky. And tyring to understand it when being spoken to is another story because I'm a visual learner, not auditory. Oh well, I'll just have to practice, practice, practice.

I get along with my bosses very well (I have 2, Mikhalis and Yiannis) They are in my karate class also (at a higher level) and so are their wives whom I also get along with. They are also good friends with our sensei Manolis who comes in our work place all the time to chat. Manolis is fun and has the craziest, loudest laugh! I laugh when he does eventhough I don't know exactly what they are saying because it's contagious. They also have other friends that pop by who I know now, because I see them all the time at work. Another friend, Yiorgios, gives kiteboarding and diving lessons, so I might look into that when the water warms up.

I guess that's it for now. Tony left on a boat this morning, so I'll find out soon how he's doing and where they are off to. Update: I just talked to him and they are at the island of Leros right now. He is on gaurd for 3 hours then he has some free time to check out the island.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Army Update

Today Tony found out he was 1 of 14 guys chosen to go on a boat for 15 days. They’ll have to keep an eye on the water and watch for illegal ships coming in from Turkey or other countries. They get to stop at 4 different islands too. He’s looking forward to it and hopefully he’ll have a little more free time too. Lately he seems to get only 2-3 hours sleep and barely any free time! So it’ll be a nice change.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Next Trip

I just booked my flights for my next “mandatory” trip. It’ll be at the end of Feb and I’ll go to London for a mini visit. I want this trip to be very cheap and short while the weather is bad and then save my money for a longer trip somewhere different next time (I have a few places in mind!). I’m only taking 2 days off work and going for a weekend. Gareth will let me stay at his place which is great! Since I know the city, I’ll just museum hop if the weather is wet and cold; there are still lots of museums I didn’t get to while I lived there.

Markos comes back today from Victoria (Canada). I bet he missed the sun! I think he had a really nice time from what I’ve heard. Hopefully he has some pictures to show.


Monday, January 08, 2007

The Highest Mountain

I had an interesting weekend! On Saturday was the “blessing of the waters” ceremony. It’s celebrated as the anniversary of the baptism of Jesus. In the morning, Linda and I went to the main church where they had a service. After the service, everyone headed to the dock and the Holy Icons were paraded while the priests and alter boys followed.

When everyone arrived at the dock we watched as the priest threw a cross into the water three times (the first two times the cross is tied with a ribbon so it could be pulled back out) and pigeons are released each time too. On the third throw, some brave guys jumped into the water and raced to get it. The one who gets the cross has good luck for the year and he also gets a cross necklace. There were only 3 guys who decided to take the jump; it was windy and quite cold!

In the evening I made maki sushi for the first time. Sushi isn’t popular here so you can’t find it anywhere but I found a store that sold most of the ingredients for it. I started off without the raw fish (my fav) and made a california roll instead. I couldn’t find crab, so I used lobster and it was goooood!

Sunday was mostly sunny and got quite warm during the day. It was a clear day so I decided to ride up the highest mountain on the Island (called Mount Pandes, I believe) A lot of the time it’s covered with clouds and I’ve even seen snow on it (in Nov I think). It gets really cold up there.

I took Markos’ bike since it has to be ridden while he’s away. It was a very nice ride to the top! I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there but I knew I had to take a road from behind Lefkes village. I took a detour and ended up at a monastary so I had to turn around. It was a windy rode with concrete and unpaved patches. Sometimes the road would wind along a very steep mountain side and there are no guards, so you have to pay attention! The first pic below is the mountain from about half way up. See the antenea things on top? That's my target.

When I got to the top, my hands were freezing eventhough I had big gloves on; it was cold. There was such a great veiw! I could see a bunch of other islands too, like Syros, Delos, Antiparos, and Naxos… It was kinda isolate because there was no one up there but me for a while – one car came later. I assumed there’d be people manning the station but I didn’t see anyone. And there are no other buildings or things around, just the long windy road and rocky terrain.

The way back went a lot faster because I new where I was going. Here’s a great view of Lefkes and Naxos in the background (second pic).

I stopped at Lefkes to look around for a bit. I went for a nice walk and here are some pics:

Later in the day, I went for a walk along the water in Paroikia. Here are some pics from that:


Friday, January 05, 2007

One More Celebration

This week has been quiet at work since everyone is still in holiday mode and on vacation. Next week things will be back to normal and I'll start karate again. Tomorrow, there is a celebration for the anniversary of the baptism of Jesus. A cross is thrown into the water and some brave people will jump off of the dock and race to retreive it! Who ever gets it will have a good year. It should be interesting!

I updated my poor neglected website today; here it is if you want to take a look: - it's a portfolio of some of the stuff I like to do. Let me know if there are any glitches.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

I’m back at work today and I had a great New Years!

On Friday night, Linda and I got ingredients for tacos which isn’t a popular food here so hard taco shells are difficult to find. We ate a bunch and it reminded me of Canada for some reason (I guess cuz I haven’t had them since then) and Linda hadn’t had a taco in years, so it was a nice treat. I also found ingredients to make sushi, so I want to have a Japanese night sometime.

On Sunday, I attempted to drive the jeep! It’s a standard and I don’t do standard – I’ve tried before but I always stalled. So I was surprised when I was able to drive with out anything going wrong (maybe because I deal with gears on my motorbike?). We also went hunting for potatoes. We had these hoe type things and dug around in one of the gardens for about 20 mins and uncovered about 3 potatoes lol! So we gave up. I don’t know if we were in the wrong spot or just had bad luck? Linda below. I also tried to chop some fire wood but I spent about 45 mins out there and had one piece chopped! Yikes. I was doing it the wrong way and the wood feels like it’s petrified (very dense like rock) Excuses excuses!

On New Years Eve evening, we went over to Gillian’s (Linda’s friend that was over for Christmas). There were a few people over and we played Trivial Pursuit, Rummy, and ate a ton of food and drank wine. We counted down and saw the fireworks in Athens on the TV.

On Monday I had the day off and we were quite busy! We went to Tony’s grandparent’s (yia yia and papous) for lunch. Tony’s uncle Pandelis was there too. Their house is so cute and is very old school Greek. We had a really filling lunch with rabbit, salads, rice wrapped in grape leaves (dolmathakia), homemade fries, cake, etc…..

After that meal we went for a walk with our neighbour Michelle around a nearby mountain. It was really nice and warm during the day but it started to cool down in the evening.

At around 9ish we headed to Tony’s aunt and uncle’s (Maria and Yiorgios) again for dinner. Oh my goodness! I can’t believe how much food Maria prepared! There were 13 people there and there were 13 different dishes! Some were in two platters for both ends of the table, so the table was packed full of food and so were we by the end of the night. We left at around midnight.

Now I’m back at work and I’m looking forward to 2007. It should be interesting! I get to experience Easter in Greece (it’s a bigger deal than Christmas here), my parents and brother will visit in May, Tony will finish the army in the summer, I’ll move back to the UK in Sept for a while before coming back to Canada…

Have a great year in 2007 everyone!!

PS: we made short bread cookies and I made a Tony cookie! Yep, I’m a dork. It has his pouty lips and greenish eyes!