The rain subsides but the clouds remain. Not an ideal environment for my psyche. I need sun. Can't sleep well yet. Must be the change, the jet lag, whatever...
I take a walk to withdraw some Euros from the ATM. Streets are narrow in this corner of Athens. Crowded with cars, motorcycles, I can hardly walk by. Shop signs scream SALE, EVERYTHING 20% OFF. Many shops vacant, empty, dusty. Signs of trouble are evident. I find an ATM near a spot where African men sell bags and purses on the sidewalk. Cafes filled with men and women smoking (smoking has been banned for a few years) and drinking coffee this Saturday morning. I make way back home without much dillydallying lest my mother worry I am lost.
Noisy. I can hear people talking in the apartments across the street, next door. Motorcycles, dogs, trucks selling or buying with megaphones. It's a miracle anyone sleeps here. A woman's plaintive cries from next door upsets me but my mother assures me she's ok.
In the evening I go to a restaurant in Exarhia - a funky neighborhood - with my cousin Katerina. Rififi is the name of restaurant and I tell the waiter that was the first movie I saw when I was about 5 or 6. We eat stuffed mushrooms, green salad, feta cheese covered in honey and sesame seeds, drink white wine. And we talk and talk. She tells me her woes and dreams. I offer support and encouragement. I come home after midnight.
The hours here are confusing: midday meals are eaten around 1 or 2, afternoon is after 8, and night starts at 10. Naps are obligatory. I finally sleep well.