Friday, June 24, 2005

In Ancient Greece

So I decided to go to Greece last week, partly because I had nothing to do and partly because I needed to give myself a birthday present. 25 I have decided is a good vintage, old enough to appreciate good wine, but young enough to cope with the day after drinking it.

In Ancient Greece I think they must have had really good hair products. This is evident from the fact that the representation in all the marble sculptures that plague the Greek Isles, of hair on the heads of these sculptures, is really well defined. When looking at the Aphrodite of Rhodes in the Archaelogical Museum, I couldn’t help but be jealous of how well defined her curls were, and I wanted to ask her if she used Clairol herbal essences, Pantene or Vidal Sassoon? Pity she was just made of marble.

They also had no regard for safety, or rather, the Australian regulations regarding workplace and safety issues, which barely let you breathe or take a step without reporting it to your supervisor would not be cool here. In Ancient Greece they built castles without rails on staircases, I found myself walking up the side of mountains with torrents of wind swirling, without any sort of warning about the sheer drop, except a cute little picture of someone falling off. This has translated to today where riding on Mopeds without helmets is the norm, Helmets are passé, and when you asked for a helmet, they didn’t understand what you were talking about. I guess they weren’t Vikings they were Philosophers. I don’t understand why they bothered building such major acropolis’s when they could have just lain on the beach like I did.

What else? I like the way they are renovating their ruins. At the palace of the grand masters, in Rhodes, when you look from the outside, all the windows have air conditioners attached to the outside of them. I found that really authentic.

They would also have no use for the Australian Censorship Board or whatever it’s called, due the free display of male genitalia everywhere all the marble/stone G-d’s seemed to have forgotten their toga’s (or is that Ancient Rome?). Talking of marble representations, there was a large scale model of Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’ on the beach at Faliraki. I couldn’t understand what it was doing there, last time I checked Rodin was French and also they have so many sculptures which are cool, why would they deign to copy the French? Sometimes I felt like walking in the ruins was like walking through Sherringhams, the old Garden Nursery that was near where I used to live, because there were so many statues around to pick and choose from to decorate your Garden with.

The Best was finding Boomerang Bar, run by an Aborigine born in Redfern, decorated with signs saying ‘Last Dunny for 2km’ , he called himself Skippy and has been there for 11 years or so serving Fosters. He’s proud of his establishment, but I managed to beat him in a game of Shesh Besh (backgammon), so I can’t give him too much respect.

The difference between the old city in Rhodes and the old city in Jerusalem – In Rhodes they have a sewer system so it doesn’t smell like excrement and the prominence of cats is less noted

P.S. If you didn't figure it out, I was in Rhodes

Monday, June 13, 2005

What is normality

What is normality?

I thought that going to the post office would be easy. I went, it was closed. I went again it was closed, this time I noted the opening hours:

Sunday-Tues 8:30 -1300, 1500-18:30
Weds 8:30-13:00
Thurs 8:30 -13:00, 15:00-18:30
Fri 8:30 -13:00

So I go again when it will be open and there is a sign:

‘We are on strike; closed at 2:30’

So I go again when they are meant to be open and this time they are open. I request to send a package to Australia and hire a post box. The reply ‘We have no envelopes and the man who organises the post boxes isn’t in today, come back tomorrow.’

I came back the next day “he is not in today”

I came back the next day “He is in today” The post box man “We can give you a box but not a key”, I asked ‘Why would I want to hire a box if I can not access it?’ They said “Come back tomorrow”.

We are all brothers and sisters here, so do what you like…

This includes, pushing people out of your way, when you walk down the street, in the line at the supermarket, then again what is a line/queue? When you are just standing waiting for someone, when you are entering a restaurant, basically whenever you leave your house.
Also this means you can place litter anywhere, including leaving toilets on the side of the street. It is amazing how ingrained re-cycling is in my psyche, I miss the 4 different bins to compartmentalise my rubbish.
Everyone has advice to give you about things that you didn’t ask about, for example, the grocery store attendant ‘You need to get married, you should go out with my neighbour’s nephew son, he’s single’

All the random behaviour that I have been describing over the past few posts has been intensely disturbing me, but I have found an answer, it can all be attributed to Jerusalem syndrome….defined by Wikipedia encyclopedia as:
Jerusalem syndrome is the name given to a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed
obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences, that are triggered by, or lead to, a visit to the city of Jerusalem.
The best known, although not the most prevalent manifestation of the Jerusalem syndrome, is the phenomenon whereby a person who seems previously balanced and devoid of any signs of
psychopathology, becomes psychotic after arriving in Jerusalem. The psychosis is characterised by an intense religious theme and typically resolves to full recovery after a few weeks, or after being removed from the area.
The majority of Jerusalem Syndrome patients are harmless and are usually regarded with pity and/or amusement. The most significant exception occurred in August of
1969, when an Australian tourist, Michael Rohan, overwhelmed with a feeling of divine mission, set fire to the al-Aqsa Mosque. His act was followed by citywide rioting. These events helped form the premise of a movie called The Jerusalem Syndrome. However it should be noted that whilst Rohan was both delusional and religious, he met none of the other supposed symptoms of the "syndrome".
It is my opinion, that a significant amount of the population here, are suffering from mild cases of Jerusalem Syndrome, hence the major identity crisis of the inhabitants, the varied religious affiliations and sects. I have to ask myself if I too am suffering a mild case of Jerusalem syndrome, by doing a crazy thing like moving my life here. You see it’s not only the water, it’s the air, the environment as a whole. The atmosphere is all encompassing and to quote an anonymous contributor ‘The more you think about it, the more frustrated you are at all the craziness and irrationalitiy of people. You are annoyed at the impracticality that runs the country, but when you get to the airport you can’t leave and you realise you love it’.
I haven't started roaming the streets claiming I am the Messiah, but when I do, you will know why.