Guess where we still are? There is an old building up on the hill. Acropo something? Gonna be just great when they finish building it. The computer I am using has big problems uploading pics so you will have to use your mind’s eye for this post.
And they continue for us. The wonderful experiences, constant observations, and even just possibly the occasional insight.
The wonderful spectacle and the strangeness of the ‘Changing of the Guard’ in Athens. And I am hardly the first person to comment on this. A simultaneously grand and simple affair. Very stylized movements followed by a great deal of standing still. And then it is all repeated a bit later when the guard changes again.
And I wonder about the importance of ritual, of ritualized ways of doing things, of tradition, of familiarity and certainty. And where and how and if, it can exist side by side with flexibility, understanding, tolerance, acceptance…and – when it is needed – change.
And it is odd to see ads on the side of bus shelters for cigarettes. And it is odder still to be on a bus when the bus-driver is smoking, as do people in cafes and in fact most places. Odd for an Australian. Not so odd for a Greek. And not so odd for an Australian not so long ago.
And I think about rules and regulations, and how people, places and behaviour change over time. And what we encourage in people and ourselves, and how we do this. And the role (or not) of legislation in all this.
And we go to extraordinary Rhodes and everywhere is beauty. And of course the inevitable tourism which does not always add to the beauty. And the tourists that are part of tourism…er…us really. And there is the large-scale impressive beauty of the old city. And then the everyday constant beauty of the simple streets we walk along. And then the equally impressive but much more low-key beauty of the simplest back yard.
And I ask myself if my home is more or less beautiful than this? Or just different?
And the old castle is magnificent. And the mosaics are incredible and do indeed need to be protected. And as I am a bit of a fan of signs in general, I noticed this one. (Use your imagination please). It reads: ‘PLEASE DO NOT WALK ON THE MOSAICS). The intention is good. The mosaics are old, beautiful and precious. The response though is kind of difficult. The sign is set in the middle of a section of floor that is intended to be protected and yet is the passage to the next part of the castle. Tourists and staff alike walk on the mosaics.
And so I wonder about rules, and their follow-through and just what other ways there may be of encouraging all of us to act well.
And as always, and everywhere, there is hospitality and generosity. My laptop crashes. Bad. Cos the next stop is the island of Symi where the plan is, while visiting friends and walking and hanging out and all that stuff; to take a few days to write up some material for upcoming workshops in New Zealand. And the hotel people tell me of Vasillius, and he comes to look at my computer, and leaves 5 hours later. What a way to spend Saturday. What a generous thing to do.
Staying with Adi in England and touring around his village and coming back to tell him that it is really quite lovely, Adi responds by saying: ‘I am blind to it.’ And I understand what he means.
Our trip, not even nearly over, is fantastic. And I look forward to looking at home afresh if I can. And a crazy thought! I might look at my life and myself even! Because travel can of course create new eyes. And I wonder, with my limited eyesight of familiarity, what I am missing about my own country, about my own life even. And I wonder about how I might be able to improve my eyesight.
And in case you are wondering..yes, I stepped OVER the mosaic floor.