01 August 2007
Kαθρέφτης της πόλης το Διαδίκτυο - e-tipos
We're in Eleftheros Tipos today
Όπως αναφέρει σε σχόλιο η Kat, σήμερα "εμείς" (οι ξένοι μπλόγκερς στην Αθήνα, καλά μερικοί τουλάχιστον) είμαστε στον Ελεύθερο Τύπο σε ένα κείμενο στην κατηγορία "ψυχαγωγία". Για μένα αναφέρει ένα κείμενο που είχα γράψει τον Σεπτέμβριο του 2005 Big City Syndrome in Athens? οπού γράφω για την ατμόσφαιρα στο μετρό και γενικά την συμπεριφορά τον ανθρώπων στην πόλη μας. Μου φαίνεται όμως ότι ο Μάριος Ροζάκος μπέρδεψε την Μαδρίτη με το Παρίσι στο κείμενο. Never mind :-), αυτό που λέει το κείμενο εκφράζει κάτι καλό.
Η επιλογή τον blogs που αναφέρει μου έδειξε κάποια καινούρια στην μικρή γωνία της μπλογογειτονιάς μας. Στα τέσσερα blogs το δικό μου είναι ο "παππούς", οι άλλοι είναι στο παιχνίδι λίγες μήνες (ενώ με πολύ πνεύμα, όπως η Kat που γράφει πια σε σχεδόν καθημερινό ρυθμό, και με πολύ περιεχόμενο). Θέλω βεβαίως να αναφέρω και αυτούς που είναι στην λίστα τον "Other Weblogs" μου (δεξιά κάτω στην σελίδα) και στο Expat Blogs directory για την Ελλάδα. Τι λένε οι Mikro; ...δεν κοιμότανε ποτέ αυτή η πόλη!
03 August 2007
Everybody leaving the city... now!
The city is becoming more empty by the day. The news predict the big travel bang for the coming weekend, when the "masses" will leave for their August vacation, causing long lines and congestion on roads, ships, planes. The coming of vacation time has been rolling on for quite some time. This is the time where the "stay behinds" (even if temporarily) have to check beforehand if the place of choice for going out (or getting food) is open or not.
Our cow-orker today phoned in to order pasta and said: "Are you open? OK, I'll call back! [click]". Only then did we assemble orders. Ordering cooked Greek food (μαγειρευτά) wasn't recommended at all, that kitchen art form is dependent on a regular flow of customers. When everybody leaves town, the kitchen can't produce and the quality sinks. They will be back in September!
05 August 2007
zwiki.org Domain Trouble
Awaiting Domain Renewal
Currently zwiki.org is awaiting domain renewal. The domain name can't be resolved, so you can not reach zwiki.org by browser right now. Quote Simon on GeneralDiscussion: "zwiki.org is expiring and I'm having trouble getting my registrar to accept the payment." If you are in a hurry and need to access something from zwiki.org, you can add the following line to your /etc/hosts file:
... don't forget to remove that line once regular DNS service picks up zwiki.org again.
Update: Problem solved! The domain is renewed, DNS is flowing again, we're open, visitors welcome!
06 August 2007
Deep Blue on Hydra
We have arrived on Hydra island, got our room, then had a long good walk along the coast (beautyful path) and now we are on the beach.
Swimming, laying lazy in the sun. For an hour or so there was a cloudy sky, but now we're back to the regular frying program.
It's not as rocky on this beach. The water is nice, but I like the deeper blue of the rocky swimming place in the main town.
09 August 2007
Two Island Days, Summer in the City
Never long enough
We spent two days on Hydra. It was wonderful again. Went swimming in that place near the town, where the water is deep and blue, and the children jump in from the rocks 3 or 4 meters up high. With the swimming goggles, I could see the bubbles underwater, as they dove in. We walked around a bit more, and I took a lot of pictures (watch this space).
Now we're back in Athens. We're showing my father and Ruth around. We take good care in dealing with the heat. Even though it's significantly cooler than the heat wave days, the city is a hot place in August. No wonder everybody flees it whenever they can. A lot of restaurants are closed (not in the tourist areas of course). We had good luck that our friend Panos recommended Το Φασόλι (to fasoli, the bean) in Exarheia. A deviation of the traditional Greek foods that our guests had lived on. The "bean" has a fusion of modern and traditional Greek dishes, a very nice ambiente and friendly service. They will be closing for their summer vacation this Friday too (and we'd say "well deserved!", we will come back). For ourselves... we'll be soon out of the city heat for a bit longer too.
10 August 2007
Bringing in the Flag
Here's to the patriots
Yesterday evening we went with our guests to the top of mount Lycabettos. Walked, that is. It's a nice ascent, and in the late afternoon, early evening it isn't so hot, while a bit of a breeze also helped. After we enjoyed the view (the sea of concrete from horizon to horizon) and tried to make out familiar features ("hey, that's the big OTE building near Victoria, we used to live near that!"), we watched the sunset. Always nice to see from up there. After the sunset we waited a bit around to see the city's lights come on, while the sky gets darker. I always enjoy that bit. And after that, we were witnesses to two soldiers officially bringing down the Greek flag for the night.
14 August 2007
Relaxing at Rio
Here I am, standing on the foot walk of the big bridge from Rio to Antirio (from the Peloponisos peninsula to the mainland of Greece). Last Saturday I had set out to visit Panos (libero of HelMUG fame) and friends on their family house near Patras. Their place is wonderful. An old stone house, with thick walls, wooden floors, an enchanted garden (in which I had a great afternoon nap). Great company too, we had lots of talks about football and Switzerland.
Saturday evening Panos and me went for a walk on the bridge. We walked to the half point, then turned around. Took lots of great pictures (no time to assemble them yet). Some scary moments, when we had to walk over a metal grille, looking through on the sea a big, big plunge below. Windy too. On Sunday I had to leave, to get Eleni from the airport. Back to Athens again, but soon to leave on further travels.
15 August 2007
Here I am, on the next hop of my vacation. I'm on the island of Skopelos, on the Kaïki (a boat shaped like the greek sailingboats) of friends.
There isn't much space, it's most of the time too hot or too cold... but it is just wonderful. We're moored in a little gulf, so to take a swim we just jump overboard.
The boat has been reworked lovingly to be a hobby boat. Unlike most kaïkia it still has a sail.
18 August 2007
After 3 days of staying moored and enjoying to go to swim 3 times a day, we hopped over to a small, almost unhabitated island next to Allonisos.
Travelling with the small boat was nice. At noon we waited close to Skopelos for the wind to calm down.
Over here it's very quiet: No shops, no restaurants, no electricity.
23 August 2007
Back in Athens
We're back home. Athens is hot again, especially after having breathed the cool air near the sea so long. Also especially after the f$%# air condition in the bus from Agios Constantinos harbor - the bus driver was determined to deliver his passengers deep frozen. Tonight I won't do anything more.
25 August 2007
Watching Firefighter Planes
Forest fires are burning in the immediate surroundings of Athens again. Firefighter planes drone on over our building. We went up to the terrace and watched a couple of Canadair planes, a russian Beriev, and a helicopter. There's lots of smoke and appart from the fire on Ymittos (which we can clearly locate) there is a big yellowish cloud which we don't know if it's smoke or a normal cloud.
This thing makes me angry and sad. I wonder how much it all costs. Or how much just the planes and the fuel cost. Is it really worth for some vultures who are looking to get a fast buck with some real estate?
At least it seems to me that bringing in the Beriev from Russia was a good thing after all. After the first drop by the Beriev (we can't see the actual drop from our building) the dark smoke on the Ymittos fire lessened significantly.
It's Raining Ashes
Looks like world's end
Even though in.gr reports the fire on Ymittos to be over (and we can see it's over) and only mentions a fire in Penteli in passing, ashes are raining down on us. It also started to smell like fire.
The sun is shining yellow and dark through a big cloud, giving a light that makes us think it's already evening. Our Internet and phone connection had problems, while the electricity showed some flukes too.
We went up to the terrace again. No more firefighter planes to be seen or heard. But a huge cloud over most of Athens' center. The sun is very yellow through the cloud. Back down in the apartment, we have closed most windows to keep the whirling ashes out.
Update: Most news sources report the cloud to be coming from Evia, which is quite a way off.
26 August 2007
Burned Internet Connection?
While the country is on fire
While Greece was burning yesterday, at around 14:30 - 15:00 local time the Greek Internet provider OTEnet and likely the parent company OTE (who is also the "old" telecoms monopoly here) had major problems...
Continue reading "Burned Internet Connection?"
Das Leben der Anderen
Während es anderswo brennt...
Wir haben uns im Open-Air-Kino "Das Leben der Anderen" angeschaut. Der Film gefällt mir wirklich gut, liess mich mit guter Stimmung zurück, trotz allem traurigen was drin passiert. Im Thission war viel los - während es auf dem Peloponnes brennt, tanzt Athen. Ich selber bin immer etwas bedrückt, mir ist das Zeitgeschehen zu ernst, auch wenn es gut tut, mal ein paar Stunden an was anderes zu denken.
Jetzt, wieder zu Hause und eben lese ich, dass das antike Olympia von den Flammen verschont blieb, zumindest die schwersten Verwüstungen wurden abgewendet. 
Die Luft ist schwer und warm. Wenn mal ein kühlerer Windhauch aufkommt, riecht es immer noch nach Brand. Die Höchsttemperatur ist nicht besonders hoch (37º heute), aber es gibt keinen kühlen Wind mehr, selbst im Schatten und jetzt nachts ist es heiss. Durch die Brandluft fällt das Atmen auch schwerer und ich fühle mich oft müde.
1: Update... anscheinend wurde Olympia doch nicht so ganz verschont. Zwar sind die Museen und die archäologischen Stätten ganz geblieben, aber die Umgebung mit Wäldern und Flüssen wurde grösstenteils zerstört. Das genaue Ausmass der Schäden wird noch diskutiert...
27 August 2007
Αυτό το flyer μόλις μου το στείλανε με e-mail.
Συγκέντρωση διαμαρτυρίας, Τετάρτη 29 Αυγούστου, στις 7 το απόγευμα, στην πλατεία Συντάγματος και σε κάθε κεντρική πλατεία, σε ολόκληρη τη χώρα. Φορώντας μαύρα.
I've just received this flyer by mail.
Protest demonstration, Wednesday August 29, 19:00, Syntagma square, and on every central square all over the country. Wearing black.
Click on image for the full flyer!
29 August 2007
Green Ribbon for the Greek Forest
Show your support
Show your support for the Greek forest, for the people and animals that suffered and died, for nature in this beautiful country. Higher resolution PNG here. Original comes from wikipedia, Greek flag generously added by Stratos from Graphics Garage. (Please don't "hotlink", copy the image to your site!)
And no mistakes this has nothing to do with any political colors in Greece!
Black outside Parliament
We're outside ur parliament, protesting ur bullshit
The square starts to fill up. Syntagma square outside the parliament is a sea of black.
We're not sure if there aren't less people than on the Parnitha demonstration. But maybe it's that they are slower in arriving and stay more on the center of the square.
So is there any human being in there? Or just politicians who want their seats?
31 August 2007
Greece on Fire... what happened so far
My personal account
For those tuning in late or having only heard some information on
international news media, I'd like to give a little bit of overview and
background information about the fires in Greece in the summer of 2007.
As far as we got right now, because some of the fires are still burning.
Let's start in chronological order. I'm following my own experience
here, if you want dates and exact places, have a look at
on wikipedia. If you want to
read how I (and the people here around me) experienced things here in Athens,
Continue reading "Greece on Fire... what happened so far"
Betabug on TV
A few words about the fires
Yesterday I was contacted for an interview by AmberMac, a journalist working for the Toronto / Canadian CityNews TV station. In the evening (Athens time, noon Toronto time) she interviewed me via Skype video call. It took some patience, as the connection frequently dropped and even more often I had to ask her to repeat questions. They selected about three quotes from me, mixed in some footage and you can see the result online at the cityline.ca/international site (flash required).
There isn't much to say about the content, a few seconds of news coverage does not leave much room. I think they chose adequately relevant pieces from what I'd said. It's a pity that I'm talking about Canadair fire fighting planes and the pictures show helicopters though :-).