we have article photos and stories tales of our extensive travels foreign and domestic. this is just a small sampling
of where we've been. we have a Scientific Travel series we're working on that will combine the Brotha Science and Travel Griot
Been There, Done That
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Adventures of the Travel Griot
Cyprus Excursion, Haifa
Island Nation Moves To Front Of The News
Stopover Point For Lebanese Extraction
Kevin J. Walker
thewordnetpaper @excite dot com
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Kemet & Middle Eastern Travel Photos
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The Word NetPaper Politics
What are the odds
that a Travel Writer would get a chance to use his notes on Lebanon, Cyprus, and Haifa, Israel in one story because they were
all in the news the same week? The Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean are in political turmoil, but their natural beauty
and attractions cannot be entirely dimmed...
With a couple
of current Middle Eastern crises, two places where Angela and I visited in the Middle east and Mediterranean were very much
in the news. Haifa, the pleasant usually quiet sea harbor northern Israeli city just across from Lebanon, and Cyprus which
has had crises of its own.
This was another
war zone that in our weird vacations we ended up. We had just left the Greek island of Rhodes and they had Greek Navy frigates
in the harbor; Greek army convoys on the road, and jet planes circling overhead as a show of force to the Turks just across
the water; and a visit by the President of Greece to reassure the population.
This was all in
response after a provocative Turkish military overflight a day or so before. I missed it because I was asleep the afternoon
it happened after another of my Long Walks. I know I'm a reporter, but I was also on vacation, so there. Still, I made a courtesy
call to the Associated Press bureau in Athens, so my duty was done.
Angela and I hop-scotched
our way from Italy, then Greece to visit the African Hebrew Israelites in Dimona, in the Negev desert of Southern Israel.
We came to Cyprus because our ship to Israel connection was made through here. This was after being marooned on the ancient
Greek island of Thera, now called after Italy's imperialism for Saint Irene, corrupted into Santorini.
This was a way
station, en route to Israel. Although its somewhat part of the Greek Federation we found out that's a touchy subject. More
on that later.
LEBANON AND AMERICA ARE JOINED
can claim connections with Lebanon, an eastern Mediterranean nation. It's a crossroads country much like Egypt, hence its
population is a racial and multi-cultural mish-mash of Christian, Muslim, Jew, Arab, European, American; many with dual citizenship
and as many agendas and alliances. Danny Thomas the entertainer and father to Marlo Thomas ("That Girl") and wife of talk
show host Phil Donohue are just a few Americans of Lebanese ancestry.
This is also why
there was a sea-based evacuation from southern Lebanon because of the military movements by Israel against the Hezbollah,
clients of the nearby Iranians who have been supplying them with powerful and more accurate rockets to augment their mass
produced Katushka rockets that have been raining down on Northern Israel for some years now. They claim to have missiles of
greater range, with the goal of hitting the practically new city of Tel Aviv, midway across Israel.
much drama because its near Syria to its west, and north of the new proxy nation of Israel, which with the help of Britain
and the United States and others, forced out the native population of Palestine over half a century ago. This banditry has
caused enmity to be focused on the largely European Descended Israelis (not the region's Jewish population, which has coexisted
for centuries). In fact under Saddam Hussein, Iraq had a small Jewish population which drew no notice until after America's
city of Beirut has been called the Paris of the Middle East, and for good reason. It is a land noted for its poets, which
apparently includes most of its population. Indeed, Khahil Gibran was Lebanese, whose sublime poetry tinged with the taste
of the exotic lands, inflamed America in the middle of the last century. Even the disastrous civil war between the French
Catholic influenced beneficiaries of their privileged and upper classes and Israeli-influenced mass killings haven't entirely
dampened the spirits of the Lebanese people.
Tyre, to Lebanon's
south and closer to Israel proper has a history that goes back to Biblical and Roman days, and played a part in the battles
of WWII. The Hezbos who control the southern part of Lebanon and are in fact a member of its Parliament have made it a target
for Israel military, who plan to establish a buffer zone clear of any other force that can threaten the northern part of the
country, which is roughly the size of New Jersey.
used its position in the south to launch rockets of increasing sophistication into northern Israel, many of which have hit
the beautiful, shimmering port city of Haifa. The seaport is Israel's third largest city where we sailed by off-season cruise
ship after leaving the sunny Greek island of Rhodes, and onto a stopover in Cyprus as we headed ever southward. We sailed
along the Lebanese coastline on our left for hours in the morning light until we came into view of Haifa, Israel.
HAIFA, ENTRY BY SEA TO ISRAEL
Sailing into Haifa
is a beautiful sight; the old city is perched on the slope going down to meet the sea, and the buildings are predominately
white, the better to contrast with the blue-green of the sea and the sky, with a few puffy white cottony clouds. We'd been
awakened by the captain of our off-season cruise ship after we'd sailed the evening after leaving Cyprus, our stopover after
Rhodes. We were grateful for the wakeup call, as we revere to this day the sight of the dominating Ba'Hai temple, flanked
by the green gardens of the sloping old portion of the city.
Haifa is the start
of Israel's electric train to Tel Aviv, a clean, fast and efficient mode of travel, and once again we were reminded of how
mass transit in America, particularly trains, get the backhand treatment from the authorities while overseas their governments
continue to build and keep up their infrastructure. Which Amtrak has to purchase.
of its size is principally bus based mass transit, with small vans that act as shuttles that whisk people to smaller communities
such as Dimona, where we visited the African Hebrew Israelites. But I digress.
Haifa for a long
time was like Eilat the resort town far at the opposite end at the nation's southern spear point, far from the tumult and
strife from marketplace bombings and ethnic and political strife. That changed of course, and both, like sleepy Be'er Sheva
in the nations south central Negev desert whose claim to historical fame was a onetime home of the patriarch Abraham, all
suffered suicide and/or marketplace bombings.
southern cities we went west to Cairo, Egypt - after a misadventure in Taba, entry point into the Egyptian Sinai Governorate
region, still twitchy and populated by military checkpoints after being handed back to Egypt by Israel as a prize after the
Six Day War between it and a simultaneous attack by Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.
CYPRUS - GREEK, BRITISH AND TURKISH
is in the backdrop in the news, as a staging area and a sort of middle ground for foreign correspondents since it is ideally
and centrally placed between the continent of Africa, Europe and the Middle east. It is not uncommon for reporters to file
stories about countries that are nowhere near the island nation. This would be akin to being a reporter in New York covering
the beat in Los Angeles, and about as effective.
Cyprus is a British
enclave after their own bit of Colonialism. This is all a contrast for the idyllic island on the far eastern Mediterranean
Sea. The divided island nation has a history that for modern political purposes goes back to Medieval times, involving promises
by a King of England to the Turkish leadership.
storylines made the actual "ownership" of Cyprus so twisted it laid the groundwork for civil strife that continues to this
day after the Turks made a move in the 1970s to take back the island that had been ceded to them, ala Hong Kong to the British
for 99 years.
The Turks were
turned back after they'd taken about half the island, mostly the top Turkish half. Cyprus then became like the divided Korea,
the old Germany, and Palestine with their Gaza Strip, West Bank of Jordan, and Golan Heights of Syria - a divided land, tense
with the propensity for military action while diplomats trade words instead of mortar attacks.
Turkey is part
of NATO, and so it was given lots of leeway because of their much needed help as a staging and listening post against the
vulnerable soft underbelly of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
So there is an
infrastructure in the north of Cyprus that is friendly to Americans and the Western powers. This is why the aforementioned
news bureaus tend to cluster in Nicosia in the Turkish north of the island.
It's a short hop
but across a military no man's land dividing the British/Greek and Turkish controlled parts of the island, with border checkpoints
and flashpoints along it. When we were there, a young man had been beaten to death by the Turks on the border not long before,
and tempers were still hot. Things have cooled a bit because of strictures laid down to admit them into the European Union.
There have to go in as one nation, none of this 2-part divisions stuff.
The Old Heads
are besides themselves, but the current generation of the people of Cyprus are ready for change, and to have some change in
their pockets, too! The young cosmopolitans can't remember what the fighting was all about. Turkey as an officially secular
nation is only nominally Muslim even in its mainland, with religious groups being actively persecuted much as they re in Egypt.
Its young population
on Cyprus couldn't care any less if they tried about middle eastern politics. As we've seen in American history, populations
removed from the culture of their original land develop their loyalties and aspirations.
"WE WILL DISAVOW ANY KNOWLEDGE" OF YOUR CYPRUS VISIT
In Cyprus, when
you hand over your passport for entry, you get a small piece of paper when you come in from the Greece islands. When you leave
they take back the small script instead of stamping your US passport. Thus, we have no tangible proof other than the photos
we took and the postcards we mailed back that we were ever officially in Cyprus! This is because of the tightrope-walking
amongst the Greek Cypriots, Turkey and Britain.
because it is illegal for US citizens to visit the proscribed nation of Cuba 90 miles off the coast of Miami unless you're
a member of the media or on a humanitarian mission delivering, say medicines; the same sort of wink-wink, nudge-nudge shell
game is used because tourism is very much desired by the Cuban government to replace the subsidies they used to get from the
now defunct Soviet Union. I know people who indirectly come into Cuba from Canada, or from one of the Caribbean nations. Just
Angel and I made our visit
to Cyprus when we sailed from Greece to Israel during our Year of Travel in the late 1990s, which actually turned into two
years, but that's another series of stories about exploring the temples of Naxos, Greece, Jerusalem, and Egypt, and escaping the banditry of Egypt's Sinai Taba town
Cyprus looks like
a miniature United states, with an elongated spike where New England would be, and Texas all smooshed down into the bays and
inlets that makes the Mediterranean nation such a vacationers delight, as well as a handy naval staging area. This was the
place much in the news when Lebanese refugees (they're not "evacuees" any than the Katrina affected were) were sent there.
Some will fly
back to America because they were only in country for weddings and vacations and such. Students have more difficult choices
to make, as do businesspeople and those with dual citizenship.
The long coastline
has plenty of beaches along the southern portion, with pleasant sea breezes ideal for windsurfing, cookouts, and strolling
along the promenades with eateries and an invigorating nightlife on both sides of the wide boulevards of the port city of
The constant 70s
degrees climate of the Sun-kissed nation is ideal, and its an archeological dream for we Seeker of Knowledge types. Since
this is a Greek and British enclave - at least the southern part where we were - the atmosphere was a mix of Greek easygoing-ness
and a bit of the British reserve that seems to have been largely bred out of them much like the laid-back Australians, but
Cypriots even when mixed culturally with Greeks don't go that far. So it was very much feeling like America in a fashion.
and talkative on southern Cyprus. The people there have British accents which to their ears they might be able to discern
between Australian/New Zealand, Indian, Nigerian/Ugandan, Canadian, and South African, even American New England; and their
other provinces from a bygone era when the sun never set on the British Empire.
The city of Limossol
is a long, meandering strip that runs along the southwest Cyprus coastline, and is also defined by the mountain ranges to
its north. Clearly, the onetime British subjects got the better end of this bargain!
note the similarities to Hawai'i, Miami, California and other oceanside, tropical or island locales. Indeed, part of being
a global traveler is keeping in mind how very much alike many urban areas are no matter the language culture or time zone.
THEY DRIVE THE WRONG WAY!
However one thing
in Cyprus takes getting used to, and that is the very different driving directions there, a legacy of its British heritage.
To we Yanks they and their Colonies drive on the "Wrong Side" of the road! An inattentive Travel Griot could get run over
by not keeping this in mind, always. After surviving a real-life game of "Frogger" on the clogged streets of Athens, Rome,
Cairo and Tel Aviv it would have been a shame to get run over on pleasant Cyprus, but it happens to Americans overseas all
One story of how
this came about is that in England their Medieval knights acquired the habit of keeping their lance hand free as they passed
people on the road, and exported this custom to their colonies. Except in America as a rebellious stiff-necked people, it
didn't take anymore than their counting money by sixpence, ha' pennies, crowns sterling, farthings and the like. Our decimal
money is as much of the French-designed Metric System as we cared to adopt.
This means that
when you enter a bus in Llimossol you come in behind the driver, and the bus is pointed the opposite direction. These are
among the few things to remind you that indeed you're not in Milwaukee anymore!
Got an opinion on this article?
Kevin J. Walker,
Netitor of the Word NetPaper
e-mail: The Word NetPaper
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Kemet & Middle Eastern Travels
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Africans in World Cup Soccer Matches In Host Germany
Face Problems With Hooligans;
Using Soccer Mania In Getting Out Of Taba, Egypt
by Kevin J.
The Word NetPaper
Cup time for most of the planet, unless you’re in America. Magnify the frenzy around Superbowl by fifteen times or so,
but stretch it over a month, and then you’ll begin to get the idea.
nations of Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Angola, and Tunisia are expected to comport themselves well in the World Cup games of
soccer in Germany this month, and into July. Even for a sport whose games don’t take breaks that’s a loooonnng
time for a series to be played. Even in comparison to the NBA Finals.
Descended are making their presence felt, no more so when Ghana takes on the United States June 22, Thursday at 9 am Central
Daylight Savings Time. Other teams of note include Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Costa Rica. Madagascar is not in the games.
be multi-appearance matches, in keeping with their egalitarian Parliamentary political system, which uses multi-elimination
methods. Thus there is no Win Or Go Home. You win/lose, and then play somebody else; and still could make it into the finals.
Brazil beat Germany and went onto the Finals in 2002, and so now the Nazis and White Aryan Supremacists have a real reason
to hate those of African descent.
There have been
some concerns about the reception in Germany for African Descended TRAVEL
GRIOT IN EGYPT> soccer players, let alone for African
teams. Monkey “oohga-oohga!” noises have been made when the athletes take to the field, with some of the soccer
hooligans holding up bananas and putting their curled arms beneath their armpits like stereotypical chimpanzees. Some players
have even been physically attacked by fans on the field.
be playing Iran June 21, and a neo Nazi rally is being planned that same day. The leader of Iran denies the Holocaust, which
is an official crime in Germany. He said he may attend the match with his country’s team, and the Nazi rally is in his
honour. That should be interesting.
maniacal crowds and the attendant nationalism have long been fertile recruiting grounds for European Skinheads and other White
Aryan Racial Supremacist groups, who go by the telling acronym WAR, for what they plan for the upcoming World War III.
– IN JUNE?!
sports finals, the Hockey championships for the Stanley Cup are also being played. I don’t know about you, but I have
a real problem with a Winter sport holding their finals in months with marathon runners falling out from near 100 degree heat!
Wisconsin recently a marathon was ended with 500 runners still out on the course when several were felled by heatstroke. And
here hockey players are in full gear, with the water chillers and the Wisconsin-invented Zamboni polishing machines going
stateside isn’t as intense but there are pockets of it. Viewing is aided by the more favourable time zone distance since
Germany is about nine hours ahead of Central Time. The morning matches there tend to fall into the 11 am to 2 pm period here,
meaning people who are real soccer/football fanatics could get into the games during their extended lunch hours. Bars and
nightspots are counting on it, and some are adopting open door policies for the early morning games. If there’s a World
Cup game on, c’mon in, pull up a seat. And have a beer with your lunch with the bar peanuts on us.
OF TABA TOWN
My own acquaintance
with soccer has been fleeting. I’m an American. Basketball, Football, Beer, Baseball and Brats and all that are my main
sports of viewing interest and activity. Sometimes, aside from the Olympics, there is tennis, Greco-Roman wrestling, and distance
running/marathons since these are sports I did while in school.
the importance of soccer and an understanding of its appeal to those overseas while Angela and I were abroad and steadily
making our way southwest to Cairo, Egypt toward the end of our Month in the Mediterranean when we were in Greece, Italy; Greece
again; several lovely Cycladian islands including Santorini/Thera and Rhodes; Cyprus; Israel/Palestine/Jordan and the African
Hebrew Israelite community outside Dimona; and now Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
We were told
by the few freelance cab drivers left that they couldn’t take us straightaway to Cairo, which was 8 hours due West,
but across the forbidding Sinai Desert. For frustrating reasons I don’t really care to revisit we missed our critical
bus to Cairo. For reasons known only to them you could easily only be taken south to the tourist center of the Medieval St.
Catherine’s monastery near the Gulf of Oman, but not east. Not even if you offered to pay. The monastery was put there
during one of the Crusades, and was believed to be one of the Old Testament Biblical places, apart from Jerusalem which is
more for Christianity.
We had to
speak to the Big Boss Man of Taba for permission. He and his crew were in his bar watching a soccer match. After spending
half a week marooned on the Greek Isle of Naxos I’d had quite enough of quaint out of-the-way Mediterranean towns, and
our timeline on our discounted tickets was growing near. We had to get the blessing of the Goombah if we were to make it out
of the border area and onto Cairo, and the nearby Pyramids of the Gizeh Plateau.
I left Angela
with our things while I went inside to parley. This was Man Stuff. One thing you find out quick when you travel is that Feminism
and women’s rights is practically nonexistent in many areas of the Middle East, especially when you get outside the
larger cities. Angela was not a happy person, but I was cool with the setup.
WITH JABBA THE HUT
GoodFella who owned the only bar in town was like a Boss Hawg who had his fat fingers in everything, and people paid him homage
as if he was the Godfather of his little desert fiefdom. When I was led to him in a side room area he was sucking on the little
hose for a countertop Coke syrup dispenser. Looking at the pudgy, sausage-fingered, slit-eyed desert gangsta, I had to stifle
a small giggle because for an instant while he rubbed his fat tummy across a too-small T-shirt he looked like Jabba the Hut
with his hookah. (I also made a mental note to not order the Coke if we indeed got trapped in this Taba town in transition).
any advantage, like the beer ad that showed the two visitors scanning the bar for the local brew, I noticed for whom our perhaps
patrone and his boys were cheering. It was for Madagascar, which is an island on the Indian Ocean side of the continent. They
were playing Spain or somebody, and that team got no love here. We were for the Africans!
I know nothing
about soccer-- excuse me, --football, except that you’re not supposed to use your hands. Unless you’re a goalie.
And it is unsuitable for American TV because they play straight through, without commercials. I mean breaks. It’s also
a low-scoring game, which it shares with hockey. Somebody recently suggested making a soccer goal worth seven points instead
of just one, so it would seem more exciting. Therefore, a 3-2 game would then be 21-14. Perception is important.
is that socc --football is big everywhere else in the world except America. This last is taken by some elitist and the Blame
America First crowd as proof that there’s something wrong with the US. Of course it could just as well be taken that
there’s something wrong with the rest of the world in their love of the sport, or that they need to progress to our
level of consciousness, but that’s just me.
small crowd of Sinai good ol’ boys in the dark bar near the border with Israel in the Sinai desert in Taba Town were
cheering some plays and not others, so I started to catch on to the rudiments of what they choose to call football.
OF SOCCER TO GET OUT OF TOWN
I saw a beginning
of a grimace on one of Jabba’s krewe at a referee’s call. I tossed my hands up and shook my head; frowning in
a near universal display of disgust and resignation at something one of the accursed referees did, may their mothers be cursed
for ever birthing them, those offspring of mangy dogs!
This was an
easy call. People the world over dislike refs when the home team is taking it on the chin. I shrugged my shoulders and glanced
about, inviting anyone nearby to join in on the condemnation.
started to think or act like they thought I was a pretty OK guy. We just might make it out of this desert hick town of Taba
and to Cairo tonight after all!
at the southern point of Israel that isn’t usually shown on the evening TV news that overly concentrates on Tel Aviv,
the Gaza strip and Jerusalem, wasn’t a one-camel town. After all, as the first town on the northern Sinai border with
Israel it played the role of Neutral Ground host to the Israeli-Palestinian talks with America’s Secretary of State
at their fancy new hotel.
We could see
it gleaming off in the distance over the flat desert but had no wish to spend the night there if we could be in downtown Cairo
at the once opulent hotel Carleton where we had reservations. Besides, Taba’s looked expensive, and we were running
low on cash especially after early on our Mediterranean trek by making the ultimate Traveler’s No-No of doubling back
after first landing in Athens, then making our way to Italy by ferry boat, and back to Athens.
was my first real practical experience with soccer mania outside of the US. Work is slowed, TV sets are tuned in, and the
street corners afterwards are abuzz with discussion of the game action, and the bad calls by the incompetent referees, who
aided in the cheating against their beloved teams.
WHEN IN ROME…
got out of Taba Town and into crowded, exotic and steaming Cairo that night, but not by my ploy with glad-handing and backslapping
Jabba the Hut and his butte-kissing soccer-watching tavern krewe. He turned us down flat. But we were well experienced at
the black market by then, as well as the old adage of “When in Rome,” or in this case Egypt, you Do As The Egyptians
So we cheated
our way out of Taba town. Oh, grow up and get that expression off your face!
This is permitted
when you find you’re in a crooked game and the dice have been loaded. Suckers who then play by the rules get taken,
and we weren’t na´ve Americans, we’d been around plenty. “Rich Americans” as they call those of us
who travel for leisure or enlightenment are always fair game; everyone from low level hotel workers to bureaucrats in suits
will have their hands in your wallets and purses. Its like a sport. They must sit around afterward and swap stories about
their big scores on us.
We had a need
in Taba, but they wouldn’t even let us pay our way out of it; we had a strict deadline, and so we made a way. Middle
Easterners would understand perfectly. The full story will be told in an upcoming Adventures of the Travel Griot, with some
I still must protect those who helped us. After all, kingpins, even in two camel desert backwater towns, didn’t get
there by being nice guys. Besides, for all we know Jabba is right now sucking on his Coke syrup hose, surrounded by a new
krewe of fawning sycophants, with his dark restaurant with Broadband Wireless Internet access, and is now a canopied Fern
Bar for travelers just across the border with Israel.
surfing the Web when they’re not watching the World Cup games on a flat panel, large widescreen plasma TV, or drinking
a Coke, now in air conditioned comfort for those who don’t care for the big expensive hotel a couple of miles across
9 thurs. 1999 filename: athens adventure.tg
CHRONICLES OF THE TRAVEL GRIOT, by KEVIN J. WALKER
website: "The Word NetPaper"
Adventures In Athens
The Travel Griot in Greece
by The Travel Griot
Half of all the citizens of the nation of Greece
live in the city of Athens, which was recently rocked by an 5.4 level earthquake, just ten days after a deadly quake rocked
nearby Turkey, killing approximately 14,000 people there.
Athens was luckier, due no doubt to more stringent
building codes, and the death toll so far seems to be around forty persons.
I was privileged to travel to the ancient city in
February and March of 1997 during our self-declared Two Years of Travel, where Angel and I spent a month in the Mediterranean
exploring Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.
We'd already explored American areas such as the
Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, which will be subjects of Chronicles of the Travel Griot.
In these next couple of "Chronicles of the Travel
Griot" articles we will take you on a tour of Greece, staring with Athens. Athens, after its classical period ended about
1500 years ago was just a site of ruins until the late 1800s.
Then another wave of Greco-Roman fever swept Europe
and America, which lusted after all things Grecian and Roman. Urns, pottery shards, even statues with no arms, they wanted
anything to have to do with the people and the era.
The modern era of Athens then began, and hasn't stopped
since. The city is huge at 15 million persons, crowded, noisy, and is beyond a metropolis, its a full-fledged megalopolis,
a modern city-state like New York City, Chicago or Cairo.
I loved it!
The area where the original ruins at the foot of
the Acropolis is called the Plaka, a working-class area of the city with inexpensive food and lodging. since we were in the
Mediterranean for a month we were well acquainted with such places!
The shops and restaurants nearby the Plaka are a
delight for bargain hunters and lollygagers. Since we were on vacation, we did that a lot!
Since traffic is so congested, mopeds are a substantial
mode of travel, so the pedestrian had better be wary! It was nice just sitting in Syntagma Square, in the heart of the city
near the Presidential Palace and the Greek Parliament buildings.
A bottle of Santorini Boutari wine (semi sec) some
bread, honey butter and you have a picnic, plucking oranges from the trees nearby which along with lemons, grow wild around
the Mediterranean much like apples do back in the States.
We went through Athens much, using it as our base
as we criss-crossed the central city as we back-tracked to Italy, then came back through Athens on the way to sailing ancient
trade routes to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.
Next week: More on Athens as we arrive, settle in
and immediately start exploring the ancient sites and the modern attractions.
[A] ATHENS IS HUGE, AS SEEN IN THIS PHOTO TAKEN DURING THE
TWO YEARS OF TRAVEL of Kevin J. Walker, the Travel Griot, and Angel. The photo was taken from atop the ancient Acropolis looking
down upon the sprawling city. The recent earthquake that struck the city hit the northern suburbs of the megalopolis, one
of the world's largest cities. This view looks north towards that area. At the bottom of the frame is the Plaka, the ancient
marketplace area at the foot of the Acropolis, which is fenced off as historians and preservationists do their work inside.
[Photo: Kevin J. Walker]
[B] ATHENS, AS SEEN FROM INSIDE THE CITY AS THE TRAVEL GRIOT
and Angel get settled in their hotel room in the heart of the crowded city. It is a rare apartment or hotel room that doesn't
have a balcony, which is like a basic right in the Mediterranean. Walker and Angel spent a month in the region. Seen in the
background is the famous Acropolis, the ancient seat of government and whose architecture was copied from the Northeast Africans
("Egyptians") at whose world-famous universities they studied, as chronicled in the Greek's own words. [Photo: Kevin J. Walker
[C] SAILING PAST ATHENS FOR ALMOST AN HOUR, and the sprawling
city is still seen in the background as the Travel Griot stands by the railing of the Mediterranean ferryboat taking them
to the placid islands of Ios, Thera, Naxos and Rhodes after the hustle and bustle of crowded Athens. What looks like rocks
on the shoreline are actually buildings upon buildings of the congested city.
By convention, structures near the shore or on hillsides
are white, to better contrast against the cobalt blue of the sky and the aquamarine colour of the water. The gigantic ferryboats,
which can park six semis in one of their holds, are like the Greyhound buses of the Mediterranean sea as they ply between
the islands that make up half of Greece.
To respond with your opinions about this article
or any other matter, please contact: Kevin J. Walker.
kevin j. walker milwaukee,
wis. usa 53201
website: "The Word NetPaper"
sept 16 thurs. 1999 filename:
athens adventure II
CHRONICLES OF THE TRAVEL GRIOT, by KEVIN J. WALKER
website: "The Word
Adventures In Athens,
The Travel Griot in Greece
by Kevin J. Walker
[A]: ATHENS IS HUGE, AS SEEN IN THIS PHOTO TAKEN DURING THE
TWO YEARS OF TRAVEL of Kevin J. Walker, the Travel Griot, and Angel. The photo was taken from atop the ancient Acropolis near
the Parthenon, looking down upon the sprawling city. The recent earthquake that struck Athens hit the northern suburbs of
the megalopolis, one of the world's largest cities. This view looks north towards that area. At the bottom of the frame is
the Plaka, the ancient marketplace area at the foot of the Acropolis, which is fenced off as historians and preservationists
do their work inside. [Photo: Kevin J. Walker]
[B] ATHENS, GREECE IS A LAND OF BARGAINS, AS ANGELA strolls through the Plaka shopping
area by the Acropolis near the city's center. The Women of downtown Athens are very fashion conscious, and very well aware
of their appearance, and appeal. Their reputation for sexiness is not wholly undeserved. [Photo by Kevin J. Walker]
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That’s "Hello, Milwaukee!," in Greek. I think.
Or I just asked for room service, or insulted someone’s
It’s been awhile since I had to use my Greek
to get around, which really isn’t all that hard to learn. But when you’re trying to catch a train or get something
to eat, you pick up these things pretty fast!
Last issue we talked a bit about the city-state of
Athens, as we launch the Adventures of the Travel Griot in the Mediterranean. During what became Two Years of Travel, Angel
and I in a month’s time there in 1997 hit several nations in the eastern Med.