Cats, Black Coffee and Missing Toilet Seats

Virginia Reebs

>> Orange trees of some variety line the streets.
>> She asked the locals if they were edible.
>> And while she was told that they aren’t the same kind you buy in the store, she wasn’t given a clear answer as to what they actually are called.

>> The fruit falls to the ground
>> and remains there,
>> rotting.
>> I keep thinking about how Wyatt would be incessantly trying to
>> eat the mouldy orbs.

>> The sidewalks are
>> uneven
>> and made-up of a myriad of textiles and textures.
>> From sewer covers
>> to water line access plates
>> to asphalt to interlock and
>> cobblestone.
>> Everything is narrow—
>> the streets, the sidewalks.

>> Things are smaller in Europe. Pedestrians do not have the right of way.

>> Every vertical surface seems to be covered in graffiti that I (mostly) don’t understand.
>> There was graffiti on the wall in kypseli that said
>> Tourists go home, migrants welcome.
>> We visited the anarchist area,
>> saw the riot police in their gear,
>> always in groups,
>> and waiting.
>> As always seems to happen, the area is apparently becoming gentrified
>> so the squatters move elsewhere.
>> The abandoned buildings are overgrown with life.

>> She refers to the street cats as
>> “Tsoureki”.
>> Little loaves of bread,
>> perched.
>> Some tame and others wild.
>> All in varying degrees of health.
>> I have mixed feelings about the cats their freedom is also their weakness.

>> When I was in Chania walking the port where all the fancy restaurants
>> are and once were,
>> there was a feral male cat
>> humping a domesticated female.
>> She was wearing a collar.
>> It made me sad
>> because it didn't look
>> enjoyable in the shadow of the closed-up section of restaurants along the water.

>> Coffee culture and hand-rolled cigarettes.
>> Drinking outside and people-watching is one of my favourite pastimes.
>> Here, it’s always black coffee by default.
>> And I haven’t learned how to ask for cream, too, please.
>> But no sugar, thank you.

>> I can’t help but feel so very North American.
>> I’d love a larger-sized cup, too.
>> And more coffee to fill it.
>> But things are smaller in Europe.

>> They drink raki, and ouzo, and metaxa.
>> Ouzo is the clear anise-flavoured one that I associate with black licorice.
>> Metaxa is honey-coloured sweet liqueur. I’ve also had it before.
>> I learned that raki is made from leftover grapes.
>> She likens it to moonshine.
>> The locals sip it from
>> shot glasses while they smoke what I can’t help but think of as joints.

>> Toilet seats are seldom present in many restaurant bathrooms in Athens.
>> I learned that apparently
>> the establishments find it easier to clean toilets without seats.
>> There are signs in every bathroom
>> requesting not to dispose of used toilet paper in the toilet, but rather to dispose of
>> it in the wastebasket in the stall.

>> At the gym I was asked for a doctor’s note to prove I was free of communicable diseases.
>> I learned to convert kilograms to pounds.

>> It’s 20 degrees in November but wearing shorts is a sure fire way to be identified as a tourist.

>> When it rained and the server started taking down the place settings on the outdoor tables, the Englishman at the table behind us remarked “we all know how The Greeks hate the rain”.
>> We couldn’t help but notice the judgement in his voice.

>> Every day here is a holiday.