Monday, 18 October 2010

Running In The Parks.

Back in London and feeling at home. Even better, my first outing this time was a gloriously sunny Sunday morning in the Royal Parks (Hyde, Green and St. James' Parks) to support a friend like few, running her second half-marathon. She did great, suffering from a bad flu considered, and made us all proud. The mental strength and determination required are incredible and it's so special being there to witness it.

Of course this being London and especially a sunny one, there was a whole carnival of colours and eccentricity laid out. Families and bunches of friends, with loved ones running or not, wigs and costumes, activities, food and drinks, games and mobile phones ablaze for directions and then some more. And with most of this hullabaloo bringing people together and helping out charities of all kinds, it's hard not to enjoy it.
Well done Sairan. And thanks for the wonderful Sunday.x

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Green Sprouts.

There are times when people have to take things into their own hands. Things not always move smoothly and then sometimes they're not done at all. When it has to do with public spaces, neighborhoods and quality of social life, Athens is not exactly a marvel.
So it's such a fresh, inclusive, open and bravely active thing that all over the city, people-run and free city parks are sprouting up. They're ex parking lots, municipal squares with ancient trees that were planned for "development" and cut down brutally, demolished or abandoned lots. And now they're colourful and vibrating, they're hand made and recycled, they're real, open and exist solely due to the determination and hard effort of young people. The only way to be better would be to more of them. And there will be.

"There will be riots".

It is true that a certain amount of arbitrary and reflexive rebelliousness is always expected to season the social soup of Greece. It's everywhere and nowhere. It can be deceptively low key and it can put a profound burden on lives at the same time. It's not just expected or customary, it an invisible cloak of inevitability. At least it usually has a funny side and this gives it this sweet-sour aftertaste.

On this note, I was silently bemused with a half-dropped mouth when I heard the coffee shop girl refusing to serve us and hastily closing down shop. "There will be riots" she said rushing back in. Ok, we're in Athens, but why today? There was a protest against the new anti-smoking law apparently. That's the truth; honestly. By arriving at the battlefield I still had not made up my mind about the seriousness of the affair, and had barely uttered a few words. My mouth was still droopy. But all became clear on the spot. It turned out that a lazy reggae-funk party was on the cards and the smoke was not from the police's canisters. As our curiosity weaned immediately we moved on and we looked for some other riots. We were duped!

Not Forgetting.

It's closing in, the second anniversary of the murder of young Alexandros. The walls of Athens carry the murals and the people the hope. And all together, waiting.