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Monday, May 27, 2013

Outtakes From Our Trip To Athens - Jet Lag - Going To Bed At 8 PM - Raising At 4 AM

Whenever we see a "Library" sign - I take a picture of Lulu. 

I refuse to fight jet lag. The time difference between Greece and Florida is 7 hours. It is 5 AM here now which makes it noon there. Even after years of studying and teaching about time zones - it still amazes me that in some places while we are awake - people are sleeping and it is night. On Friday - at 4 AM I gazed up and saw the Parthenon lighted up at night - and then at 6 PM on the same day I landed in Tallahassee. All in one strange Friday. 

Now it is Monday - I wake up at 4 AM - wide awake - and at 7 PM I will be nodding off for bed. 


Greece is a relatively poor country. It is certainly not Africa nor India poor - but with 27% unemployment - they are very happy to wave the Common Market flag. We did not see a lot of beggars in the street - and we seldom explored out beyond the tourist area - but you got a feeling of the locals being very happy you were there. Maybe they were just happy for our Euros and Dollars.

Athens was the most scooter friendly place that I have visited. With gasoline at $9 a gallon - and the average family income of $20,000 a year - every Euro or Dollar counts. Income is mainly made by the service industry - 85% -- manufacturing - 12% -- and farming - 3%. 

With the warm and dry climate - a great alternative for transportation is the motorcycle or scooter. The top selling scooter in Greece and all of the world is the Honda 50 Super Cub. It has been sold for over 50 years and they have sold over 60 million of them. That is more than the Model T Ford or the VW Beetle. In 1965 I bought a new one for $225. In Athens they are all over the place. Not only are they dependable and thrifty - but they seem to last forever. People of all ages - both sexes - and all professions drive them. They fit them everywhere - drive and park them on the streets or sidewalks. Some folks take them in the front door overnight. 

This red one reminds me of my 1965 Honda 50. We did not call them Super Cubs - but the rest of the world does. It has a 49cc engine - gets up to 200 MPG - can go 45 MPH - and has an automatic clutch. It uses regular gasoline - and hauls two people. Funny - I said there were few beggars and there is one in this picture.

Another Honda Supercub - this one in blue.

This Supercub was really old - the plastic fenders were faded. The bike is in better shape than the street.

BMW made this wonderful C1. It was scooter with a top - it really kept you dry. It had a roll cage. They only imported them to the USA for a couple years. I would love to have one.

One I really loved was this Honda Gyro. It is a real workhorse. It only has a 50cc engine but it has two rear wheels. The front half of the scooter tilts but the back wheels and engine stay upright. They have been making it 40 years in Japan. A guy that visited Japan last year said there were more of these than any other vehicle there. Because of 3 wheels they can be registered as a cycle - cutting down on insurance fees and registration fees. They are like pick-up trucks - very stable - you do not have to put your feet down at a stop light. It is the closest thing you can get to a mobility gray head scooter without Medicare. One is on my wish list. Simple pleasures.


Athens was the birthplace of democracy. For 2500 years they have picked leaders by the vote. Not everyone voted then - women did not get to vote until much later. 

Guess what this was. It was used in 450BC. It is a random computer. It was used to select people for jury duty. Somehow names were put in the slots - and then little marbles were placed in the top and they rolled down and picked the jurists. We saw this at the Agora Museum. 

On a tram tour - we zoomed by this Olympic Stadium. This was the main arena for the 1896 Olympics - the first modern Olympics. It was only 6 blocks from our hotel but we never walked in that direction. I wish we did now. 

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