so i am currently in athens, greece, in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood but happy nonetheless to have some cable tv, a.c., and a computer to access the internet...all complimentary, what a treat! AND i don't have to pay to use the bathroom or for water at a restaraunt in this city. so far that is...
i left the quaint town of nafplio, greece earlier today and it was bittersweet, because i was happy and excited to be moving on to new places, but sad that i was just starting to really get a feel for the town and the people and then had to leave. i guess that's traveling for you. the guy that was part of the family who owned my hotel was definitely key in making my impression of nafplio a near-and-dear one. his name is mike and he's mid-fifties and hysterical. every time i walked through the lobby he had a huge grin on his face and was so happy to see me. he was silly and kind and it's like we were old friends! amazing. i was picking up some postcards to mail off before my train left for athens and there was a worker outside the shop i was looking at who i followed inside to buy the cards i had picked out. there was a middle-aged woman & man behind the counter smoking, and the older man who i had followed in began to join them. i said i wanted to buy the cards and as i fumbled around for change in my pathetic little coin purse the woman just smiled at me and asked me if i smoked. i said no, a bit hesitant to explain that the smoke gives me a headache sometimes, because i was afraid of offending them in turning down her offer. she laughed and nodded though, saying they were puffing away up here away from all of us in america. as if maybe it was a good thing i wasn't always around the smoking? she said she was going to offer that i smoke with them, and i felt so flattered and so appreciative for the warmth these strangers whose store i had just walked into were showing me. how kind of this woman to invite me to join their little social smoking circle! i was sad i couldn't partake but we chatted a bit more & i walked off with a photo of the city she gave me and a smile. mike + my little shop friends= what traveling is all about.
fingers crossed there are more such wonderful interactions and stories to come.