Wednesday, 26 April 2017

One night in Exarcheia - Ouej in Athens-

Welcome back,

"Is everything okay? I heard there are some problems in Athens." asked my worried father in the phone.
"I guess, everything is .. pretty calm down here" I said as I glanced down the Acropolis neighbourhood from my balcony looking for approval from old ladies walking their dogs and colourful buses loaded of tourists.
Nothing new.
Nothing exciting.

I just had greek coffee and I was bored and hyped.
I starting randomly watching the news with my flatmates when I noticed at the bottom of the screen a writing in english "Riots in Exarcheia"

I asked Hercules, one of my flatmates, (with the help of Google Translate and signs language) what was going on.
 He told me that Exarcheia is an anarchist neighbourhood in Athens where riots and drugs are common. He showed me proudly all his crane tattoos and added that he got it in Exarcheia.
I looked outside at the balcony.
It was the golden hour.
I could see the sun scroll down the hill of the Acropolis.
In search of adrenaline in this boring holiday, I asked for the directions and took my camera.

I was going to Exarcheia.

Broke as a joke, I could not afford a taxi, so I gotta thank the late metro and my legs who both operated smoothly to take me safe and sound to Exarcheia.
If you are asking yourself how was Exarcheia?
Well, surprisingly calm. 
It was signs, banners and flags hanging in trees demanding a better life conditions for the refugees. 
It was As tags standing for "Anarchists" in the ground

I walked down in the dark empty alley decorated by the anarchist graffiti about police brutality and stained with human damages of the economical crisis, homeless sleeping on the cold concrete holding preciously their founds in dumpster diving. I walked down another alley lighted by a couple of yellow bulbs. Only armed with my camera, I faced the suspicious looks of few strangers holding half burned cigarette between their yellow fingers. 

It was a holiday, the streets were deserted from the exceptions of few individuals in sport overall exchanging "goods" with toothless women sitting in dirty stairs.
Wandering, I found myself in a restaurant bar where music from a live band was blasting. Everyone wore a costume. It was Mardi Gras holiday. 

The lead singer dressed as Jack Sparrow was playing greek music that has in its melodies the remains of the great ottoman empire. He stopped a moment and offered the mic and his guitar to a girl in the audience, while he held his son who jumped on stage.

The girl anxiously faced this surprising audience. He was the center of the stage. The lead singer with a child hanging to his neck like a little monkey gave an approval look to the girl, encouraging her to sing the first note. 

She sing beautifully.
Smoking lungs and toasting glasses, smiles and happiness surrounded this restaurant in a garage of Exarcheia. It was truly a calm place. 

With love, 


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