June 13th, 2012
First day in Patmos. We got here on the ferry about 3 in the morning. Somehow walking around Athens yesterday in over 100 degree temperature felt like it was going to do me in. Walking through a thicket of heat down busy streets, catching the metro to the boat and then walking to the ferry, I felt as if I was going to melt into the pavement. Getting onto the ferry felt like a resurrection.
How is Athens different since 2009 when we were there last? Some countries that you read about in the news having financial difficulties still seem to be fine when you visit. But not Athens. Graffiti marks walls everywhere. Children come up and beg while you eat dinner just like the last time we were in Chiapas. The children are small and thin. Diners give them some of their food and the kids sit on the ground eating greedily. Homeless people are everywhere. Tourism seems to be down. We hardly saw any Americans in Athens which is always a blessing. Our friend tells us that Greece was a village economy and wasn’t ready to be part of the EU. And austerity didn’t work either. Everyone seems worried about keeping their jobs. It will be interesting to see what happens with the upcoming election. But without a doubt, Athens seems to have descended from a 21st century city to the Third World in a matter of two years. We were glad to get out of the city and be on a ferry headed for Patmos. The ferry ride took about as long as Mark’s flight from New York to Athens.
The Blue Star ferries have an overall length of 176.095m and a length between perpendiculars of 160.575m, with a beam of 25.7m. They have a design draft of 6.350m, a depth main deck of 9.4m, and a depth to deck 5 of 15.1m.
The ferries have a registered gross tonnage of 29,415gt and a net tonnage of 10,048t. The deadweight is 4,563t and at 6.5m draft, they have a deadweight of 5,075t. The ferries have a total capacity of 1,600 passengers. http://www.ship-technology.com/projects/bluestar/
They have little cafes and nice restaurants too. At two in the morning, we stood at the stern watching the huge wake behind us in the dark waters. The churn of sea. Passengers sprawled forward and aft on the decks, in chairs and on the floors. Some had dogs with them, some were wrapped in blankets.
We went down to rent our motorbike today. I like it better than I did last time, holding onto the back with the grocery bags while Mark wheels around one sharp curve after another as he climbs the hill to the Chora. The groceries were cheap. We bought beer and wine, feta, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes, some cherries and apricots and couscous. That should take care of us for a few days. Tomorrow, I go swimming. Lambi Beach. As far out as I can go. And then writing. Which is what we came here to do. It’s so much easier to write when you’re someplace else.