Day 1, Athens (Thursday 28 June 2012):
The event we went to at the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus!
- The pianist is bent over his piano on the stage, each finger striking the piano keys with deliberate focus and timing. It’s almost the end of his piano solo and I can hear the sound of the poised tension in his fingers growing louder and louder, echoing throughout the ancient theatre. But there’s a dog barking, and everyone starts to giggle. Barking and barking wildly while the notes ring out crystal-clear and sad. The pianist somehow manages to finish his solo.
Day 2, Athens (Friday 29 June 2012):
- A motorcycle whooshes past us. We catch a glimpse of two paper bags of baguettes balanced precariously on each side of the motorcyclist. One hand is wrapped around one bag and the other is holding on to the bike to steer it. Off he goes, past the tourists and the ruins of the Ancient Roman marketplace. Just like any other day. We laugh at the absurdity of it all - the absurdity of the sight at first, then the serendipitous absurdity of the two of us landing up in Athens and laughing at this baguette motorcyclist.
Day 3, Athens (Saturday 30 June 2012):
Can you see the pencil on his ear? And the slightest hint of a smile?
- An old man with a grey moustache blanketing his upper lip looks up at us. Behind us, the helpful passerby shouts something in Greek to the old man, and he grunts, pointing to a table, then looks away and takes the pencil perched on his ear to jot something on paper. And now, a wordless whirlwind of clinks and thuds descends upon us as plates and other cutlery land on our table in a flurry. We watch the old man slop the chickpeas onto a plate and unceremoniously dump feta cheese onto our salads in his little corner of a kitchen. Dishes are set upon the table authoritatively, and we find glasses of white wine in our hand. We have not even looked at a menu.
- In a back alley where middle-aged, well-shirted diners dance clumsily indoors to a light pop tune in Greek. An aproned, bespectacled waitress roughly the age of the diners stands at the edge of this happening and bounces along disinterestedly. The grand layered cake in its full creamy glory bounces steadily on one hand. Outdoors, the other diners appear unperturbed by this event and share conversations over candlelit dinners in their elegant black sheaths and well-fitted striped shirts.
Day 5, Athens (Monday 30 June 2012):
- We take the bus, and ride the metro with ease. Everyone is staring at us. Yet there is this inexplicable sense of confidence that comes with the knowledge and instinct for navigating public transport. It’s like we’re locals. And we feel invincible.
Day 6/ Santorini (Tuesday 1 July 2012):
- The old man who sits motionless outside while we eat at the restaurant next to his home, only moving to wave back to a passing motorcyclist who shouts his name. He is expressionless and serene, observing yet lost in his thoughts. He doesn’t smile when he waves back to the motorcyclist. He just sits there.
- Sunset at Oia. It’s beautiful; everyone’s clapping as the red sun dips beneath the sea. But I feel numb, and I don’t clap.
Day 7, Santorini (Wednesday 2 July 2012):
- On the bus ride back from the beach, we pass by this bench at the bus stop on the side of an empty road vandalised with graffiti in child-like pastels. It looks lonely but full of promise against the backdrop of the undulating black body of the caldera diving under and above the sparkling seas like a fearsome dragon’s spine. Dragon, pastel-coloured graffiti, black dragon, graffiti. I can’t get this off my mind.