Let me start by saying that Athens has done nothing but amaze me from the second I stepped out of the airport and into the first taxi (which was an adventure in and of itself). The city is so fascinating for so many different reasons, and the initial shock and excitement of being here hasn’t worn off yet in the first week. There are so many people, and so many things to see and do; the lifestyle and culture is very different here in Athens. I think the thing that I have found impossible to get used to is the inability of one to get away from remnants of the ancient city. Everywhere you walk you run into historical sites or gorgeous monasteries.
Athenian people have proven to me to be very entertaining and interesting. People here are very different from people in New Hampshire. One example of this is the nonchalant qualities that I have noticed Greeks to possess. For instance, if you are at the bank in an average size line at home you may stand for a maximum of ten minutes, but in Athens it is not surprising to wait for 45 (something that we found out while waiting for Ron to exchange his money). People simply seem to take their time here.
Another difference between home in and Athens is the style and person appearance of everyday people. Here in Athens people are very stylish and dress to impress constantly. A typical U.S. wardrobe seems a bit under the scale of Athenian fashions.
Finally, one of my favorite parts about the people here is that they seem to never sleep. People are always out and about, even in the wee hours of the night and into the next morning. It is incredible, like the city never sleeps. People fill the streets and the constant flow of traffic does not deaden even at the most inactive time of night.
Traffic in this city is something that can’t be overlooked. It is crazy, and not just on the street. People here ride motorcycles on the sidewalks and down pathways. Walking seems a little risky no matter where you go. This may seem scary enough, but actually being in a vehicle on the roads is an even more daring adventure. Going back to my first taxi ride in the city, I can tell you that traffic laws are simply suggestions that most drivers aren’t willing to listen to. Red lights, for our cab driver, didn’t seem to exist, and he had us on the edge of our seats the whole way to what we thought was the apartment. It turns out, though, that he didn’t actually know where he was going and dropped off on a different street than we needed to be on. This was scary for us because we were separate from the group and in a foreign city, but we figured out how to get to where we needed as this became the first of what I think will be many more adventures here in Athens.
As far as my first impressions go, I have to say that this city is wonderfully crazy, seemingly endless, frustratingly confusing, mind-blowingly historic, and flat out incredible.