And just like Splat!

Athens is not exactly known for its cleanliness.  One classmate of mine asked Joanna (Arcadia social director), “I thought that Athens was cleaned up a lot since the Olympics.”  She replied back, “it is cleaned up.  Now there are people who pick up the trash off the streets every night.”  This is true as I have spotted them occasionally.

 But, Athens is a little grimy.  Everyone smokes.  Everyone.  And, everyone smokes a lot; 25 cigarettes a day? That’s a light smoker.  Also, everyone smokes wherever they want even though a law was recently passed that prohibits smoking inside.  There are still ashtrays at every table and cigarettes are often sold at restaurants and bars.  Even the vendors at the market that I frequent smoke heavily, over all of the fresh produce.  Smoked pears anyone?

 Athens is also full of graffiti.  It’s on the buildings in my hood and on churches too.  Not to mention the presence of stray dogs everywhere.  And get this, today I’m strolling down the street when SPLAT!  A bag of trash comes flying out of someone’s apartment window and lands inches in front of me as it bounces off the dumpster.  Hmm, that’s funny the dumpster is shut closed; were they aiming for me?  Well, it certainly wasn’t the first time I had something unwarranted land at my feet in Greece.

 However, apparently Athens is going through a renaissance.  What used to be an old factory district is now an area full of great bars and large restaurants.  And the graffiti is considered decorative news, not destructive vandalism.  As for the stray dogs, they are all collared and vaccinated-and also quite fat because they get fed often.  I’m not going to be petting them anytime soon, but now they aren’t so bad.  And the cigarette smoke? Well, I’m getting used to it.

 Athens is a little bit dirty, that’s for sure.  But sometimes it’s the grit that makes it shine.  And when the grit lands directly in front of you, it might just make you shine (that is if you’ve got a sense of humor about such things). 




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