Ελλάδα: εζάρτημα τέσσερα
The good news is that the talk went really well.. The bad news is that I was dead tired afterwards, so this post will be very short and somewhat uninteresting. The talk was attended by a few, including a Slovenian that I had met at the banquet the night before. I don’t know if he enjoyed it much, because I wasn’t able to talk to him afterwards. After the talk, which Nikos and Hyeun said was very good, I went to a second session which was on robotic swarms. Unfortunately, there were only 3 speakers out of 6 that were there! This was very disappointing because it was the session that I looked forward to the most.
Afterwards Hyeun and I went to a restaurant that we hadn’t been to before and I had more σουβλακι. The meal was good but not as good as some others that I had been at. Hopefully I will be able to get to Psiri and at least one ouzeri while I am here. After lunch, I was dead tired from working on my presentation at the night and also waking up earlier than I usually would. I decided to go back to the hotel and talk to Diana a bit, which was very nice because I hadn’t had much time to talk to her the night before. I ran out of minutes though, and need to buy more. She was happy to hear from me and clearly through the new phone. Even with the cheaper rates of the pre-pay cellphone I only get about 45 minutes per 33€.
The rest of the day and night was spent sleeping - I don’t think I had slept so much in my entire life! The thing is, that being in a foreign country with a foreign language is very psychologically tiring for me. I am always worried and self-conscious about trying to speak the language and I think that everyone who I even attempt to resents me for even attempting it. So I only try in small bursts, and then retreat into my shell a little more until I get the courage to try again. I really wish that I had someone who knew Greek that I could practice with so that I am not so self-conscious. That is one thing that I think I will do differently when I travel again - I will try to find someone via Skype that talks the language and wants to practice english, and also is willing to put up with me trying to learn basic conversational whatever.
I woke up around eleven and played a game or two, but then went back to sleep again. Breakfast was later because there is no conference to go to today. I was planning on spending the day in, but I think I will go to Acropolis and look around, and possibly go to a museum which is on the tourist map I got at the airport that advertises some Escher paintings in it’s permanent collection - I would very much like to see those as I am a great fan of his work. I feel kind of bad going without Diana, but I am sure we will return and go. It is a nice place after all, and I think would be even nicer if I wasn’t staying in such a horrible hotel. I hope to have cell camera photos of the hotel for you tomorrow on my new phone.
Now I am sitting at a Starbucks, getting ready to walk a while to Ακροπολ. The only reason that I am here really is to be on the Internet for a few minutes - it is a place I know that I can connect. One thing that I have been very pleased with while I was here was the availability, ease and general cleanliness of the Μετρο (Metro) - it has been enjoyable every time, except for one trip I took yesterday where it was packed to the gills and a tourist family was taking up a lot of space. I would be more incensed with them, but I remember that I am also a tourist and probably am annoying everyone around me, although hopefully not as much as them! Anyway the Metro is very nice here, and they use a similar system to the Minneapolis light rail where you buy the ticket and get it validated, and then you can ride without having to go through turnstiles or whatever. There are people apparently who check tickets for validation every once in a while, but I haven’t seen them. The tickets are also a very reasonable 0,80€, which amounts to about $1.