Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There is no Planet B

Greece. Is. Beautiful. Don't believe me? Check out these:

I literally don't even know where to start with Greece. I seriously have so much to say! I'll spread it out over a few blog posts so that you don't get bored. But I can sum it up in just a few words: Greece was incredible! If you've never been there, put it high on your bucket list. No one should die without seeing it.

The trip to Greece went a long way on the "unplastic life" thing. You know, the existential part of my anti-plastic campaign. Life is definitely NOT plastic in Greece. And, despite our initial inclination to serially sight-see (run from important place to important place like headless chickens), we managed to chill out and adopt Greek speed.

I spent a lot of time doing this:

while staring out at this:

Mom and I even fell asleep, lulled by the perfect weather, amazing view, and relaxed pace.

Granted, while I was there, there was some kind of spat that resulted in police walking around in riot gear with tear gas, but fortunately the actual "incident" happened when I was blissfully off on Spetses.

And Greek drivers aren't exactly relaxed, given that they tend to park like this:

But I didn't have to drive, so I just found it amusing.

Afterall, when you're literally wandering around where Socrates walked

it's harder to worry about the little things. Something about the history of a place like that makes me feel like, whatever the concern, it will melt away eventually. Plus, I took lots of time to look at and smell these (it really does help!):

Greeks, like many Europeans, take the time to enjoy life. They walk a little more slowly. They savor meals. They make things look pretty. They prioritize things other than expedience, so often the culprit of plastic in American life.

That said, I did see plastic everywhere. I mean, I see plastic everywhere HERE, so it's no special issue with Greece. Though it is somehow more jarring when you're at ruins of buildings that have been around for 3,000 years and see plastic lying around. More posts on the ubiquity of the plastic later.

For now, I want to introduce you to two people I met in Greece.

1. Meet Olga Kaertidou. She's an Athenian who was on weekend holiday to Spetses on Saturday. When she walked by us carrying this awesome bag, my dad kindly chased her down and photographed the great message. We chatted with Olga and her friends for a bit and learned that they were wandering around the island collecting recyclables! That made me smile a lot!! Thanks, Olga, for putting up with us and allowing me to post you and your bag on my blog!

2. On Friday night, we had dinner at this fantastic little restaurant called Hatzi's on Spetses. The chef's daughter is an economics Ph.D. student at George Washington University, so we bonded over studying in DC. And the food was delightful.

But the best part of the night came when we started chatting with the French family seated at the table behind us. They had adorable twin three-year-olds, which started the conversation. Eventually, it wound its way around to occupations. It turned out that the father makes recycling centers that are used all around Europe, including in Greece! You know, like these. I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity. I was so star-struck (and the kids were so sleepy) that I didn't manage to ask for a picture. But I was pretty thrilled.

So, yes, wandering around ancient ruins and staring out at the Mediterranean Sea did me good. Deep-in-the-bones good. I love Greece! And my generally peaceful attitude as a result of visiting a beautiful place just makes me that much more committed to ensuring that these beautiful places survive. Because, you know, there is no Planet B.

(Photo credits to my awesome parents.)

1 comment:

Leah said...

OHGoodness. How lucky you are to be in such a paradise. Enjoy!