Pickpockets, drug pushers, and prostitutes. Those seemed to be the three prevalant professions in our neighborhood of Omonia. Although the economic gods have not been kind to Greece lately, business seemed to be booming in this district of Athens. Perhaps this is to make up for lost time becauseTuesday there was a 24 hour labor strike and another one is scheduled for Thursday.
The police have been congregating in front of ZARA and H&M in the main square, but clearly they don’t shop there. They get their accessories at some place that sells serious machine guns and shields the size of my fridge. The other night we were walking past a man shooting up heroin in the street and without thinking I yelled to one of the police officers. Then just last night we spent a good 20 minutes at the police station on the island of Naxos. They seem nice enough and their boots are cool, but I’d rather not have any more encounters with them.
I’d much rather continue to encounter stray dogs, although my heart breaks for them. I am semi-motivated to start an animal shelter in Athens and am trying to convince Merrick to do street ministry in Omonia .
There are stray dogs everywhere in Athens, but I will never forget this matted grey dog we saw at the Parthenon. Every rib was clearly visible, and from all angles it looked like a lifeless pile of bones. Except that it was pathetically panting and trying to stay cool despite the relentless sun beating down on its battered body. Right next to the dog were several benches occupied by clusters of tourists who were unaware or unconcerned with the dog’s condition.
On the other hand, I felt obligated to do something, and again, without thinking, I began to empty my water bottle on the dog. Naturally, this aroused the dog. But I wasn’t prepared for the infuriated Indian tourists who could not I believe I had the nerve to wake the “napping” dog. While they were yelling at me, and I was trying my best to understand them and politely defend my actions, the dog slowly stood up and hobbled over to these designer-clad Italian tourists who were earnestly watching the whole spectacle through their Versace shades.
If I wasn’t in the middle of a heated argument with this Indian couple, I would have reminded them that wet dogs have a tendency to shake, but I never took the time and wouldn’t you know it- the damn dog shook all over these immaculate Italians. A part of me wanted to laugh, and a part of me wanted to cry, but the the smartest part of me told me to book it out of there so I just turned and ran.