Ελλάδα: εζάρτημα εφτά
Waking up in Kos was altogether pleasant, especially because I put the very effective air conditioner on in order to alleviate the high humidity. The room was nice and dehumidified, although I feel bad about using the air conditionar as a glorified dehumidifier. I suppose it is better than using it as a cooler to a temperature that is too low. I walked out of the hotel and down the street, stopping to gaze upon the grassland and goats that were on my way to Kos town. The walk was very long, and I was sweating quite a bit by the end of it. I believe that I will be taking the bus to Psalidi and the conference hotel tomorrow.
Kos is an insane tourist island, very filled with shops where you can buy anything you would need on a vacation to a beach - sunglasses, maps, ice cream, etc. There are also far too many restaurants and coffee shops. They are literally every block or so, and sometimes even more frequent. The restaurant I found last night is definitely not the exception, but they do make good food. After arriving in Kos town, I walked around for a while, and looked at the Hippocrates Tree that they have here (he was born here apparently), and then found a bus stop and waited for the Bus to come by. It was a good thing I did, because Psalidi and the hotel were still another 5-6km down the road easily.
Noone was at the conference center, being closed for registration, so I used the conference wired access shortly (wireless wasn’t working) and checked email and enjoyed the cooling power of the AC. After that I walked across the street and had lunch at a small taverna. I had a gyro pita but it wasn’t very good at all. Usually I have gyros without tomato and onion, but on this trip I decided that I should try one with everything. Not only didn’t I like the tomato and onion, but the meat was very dry and tough. I wish I hadn’t had the meal there.
I got a snack from the store next door, and then waited for the bus and went back to the Gaia Garden. I hooked up with Diana on Skype and we got to talk for a while after we worked out some issues with her mic. That was really great because I was able to use my MacBook’s camera and she could see me while we chatted. I could be called an early adopter, but skype and video have been together for a while. I still think we’re on the leading edge of the curve though. Video for long-distance chats is a big plus. It’s not as useful for ordinary conversations done every day on the phone, but I can see a major advantage when you can’t really physically see the person for a while.
One thing that I noticed about Greece (Ελλάζ) is that there are very different rules about restaurants. As far as I can tell, you walk in and sit down wherever you like, and then you get a menu and order. I was very not used to this at first, but I am now preferring it to the American style of being seated in a specific section. The meal then continues basically as normal until the end. When you are done with your meal, you have to ask for the check. This is different, but it bugs me somewhat. When I am done with my meal I want to leave the restaurant. From a restaurant perspective, it doesn’t cost them anything to have you sitting there for a bit longer, so there’s no real rush to get the check to you - unless they are full and people are waiting. The restaurant looks more busy, and you might just decide to order something else. However, after years of training that asking for the check is rude to the waiter/waitress, I can’t get used to asking for it every time. It just grates on me. It doesn’t help that I don’t know if I’m actually being rude or not. I assume I am not because I’ve sat for 15-20 minutes without getting the check before.
I went to the same restaurant yesterday that I went to two days ago, and at about the same time. It really does have good food, and it is not busy when I want to eat which is around 10pm, and they also have some interesting sport on the monitors (volleyball tournament, track and field). The server was surprised when I ordered the dishes in Greek (ΦΙΛΑ ΚΑΡΙ and ΠΟΡΤΑΚΟΛΑΔΑ, in this case) and asked me where I was from, and whether I had been to Greece before. Also where I was staying. I was happy that he was surprised and at least seemed pleased. He asked if I wanted coffee or ouzo after I finished, and I apparently got some coffee free - the coffee was excellent too. I think I’ll go back again today.
Today, the actual conference. Hopefully they will have the wireless worked out by then.