Greece, Day Four: Amphipolis and Asprovalta

I guess I should finish up the whole Greece Trip thing, shouldn't I?

Day Four consisted of leaving our beloved hotel. We packed up and had to be out in the busses by 0900. We were heading back to Kosovo, but we were going to get the opportunity to stop at two places on the way. The first was Amphipolis, where we got to stop by and see another Museum. This was just a quick stop, it wasn't a very big museum, we walked through it in about 15 minutes easily.

Golden leaf thingees the olympians wear! Gold is a big thing in Macedonia, at least way back when it was.

My camera was still acting up, so I didn't get a lot of choice pictures within the museum, that and we had to take pictures without the flash, and this particular camera has to be held perfectly still or it will blur.

Anyway, the next stop after the museum was was what is called a Hellenic House. This was escavated recently and the paint on the wall is still visible. This house dates back to 300 BC, which is amazing!

Yes, we got a lot of ruins, this one had us crawling around on the walls to prevent ourselves from stepping on the tile.

Unlike the previous days, this day was kind of dreary and wet, but the scenic view was still splendiferous. I decided to sit on these steps and had somebody take my picture wiht the background of Greece only to have a bug fly into my eye while they were taking my picture.

And even more ruins. Some people were kind of feeling like the old rocks were getting old, but I enjoyed touring them. I never thought I would get this opportunity so I was all over it!

There are a lot of poppies here. I thought they were perty.

The great wall of Amphipolis was built way back during the time of Alexander the Great. This wall surrounded the city and was, well, it was big.

So I couldn't resist the kodak moment and got my mug taken sitting on it.

And to give you a perspective of the sheer size of this thing.

It is big. We weren't here for long touring the Wall of Amphipolis, but we did take the opportunity to climb all over it.

I leave you with something you may or may not have seen or heard of before. The Lion of Amphipolis. This is a huge statue that dates back to the time of, you guessed it! Alexander the Great! This thing is big! We got a group photo at its feet.

Spending all morning at Amphipolis touring ruins, we got to stop by in Asprovalta for lunch, where I had a Gyro. Actually, I had two. Asprovalta has beaches. And it also has a really pretty church that I went inside of to get a look around. The murals in these buildings are amazing, they are very ornate and extravagent.

I got some pictures of Asprovalta, but not many due to my finicky camera. However, they are not currently on the web.

Which brings me to another homework assignment. Put up some pictures of Asprovalta.

Actually, Asprovalta was a last minute shopping place for us (on top of eating there). We were only there for about an hour and due to the rain, the beaches were empty. I still got a picture of me on the beaches.

When I get around to it, there will be a picture of me on the beach here

But honestly, in all senses, Asprovalta wasn't much different on face value from many places. It was a touristy town, and becuase of its beach, and the content of some of its postcards, I was quickly alerted that in prime season, you will see a lot of people topless.

I'm glad I went when I did. Say what you want about nudes, but there are some people in this world that you never want to see without something covering the blubber of their skin.

After Asprovalta, we got back in the bus, and headed back for the border.

I got my passport stamped heading out of the country (very odd) and I have to admit I was a bit let down by Greece's Passport stamp. The last time I got a Passport Stamp was in Suriname South America. That thing was really pretty.

Maybe this fall I will get some prettier stamps. Or when I go to Bulgaria at the very least. We also got a chance to shop at the duty free shop coming across the border. *cough* RIPOFF! *cough*. I picked up a bag of Bounty Chocolate bars with creamy coconut filling. My latest weakeness.

No, that is not an excuse to send me a crapload in the next care package. You folks have been far to kind to me, I have been spoiled, and boy do we get a lot of junk food in those care packages! And I'm a sucker for Chocolate!

Well, considering I have been back from Greece for Three weeks now, you know the story from there!

IQ Stuff

Your Intellectual Type is Visionary Philosopher. This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways. Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others - and at anticipating and predicting patterns. And that's just some of what we know about you from your IQ results.

IQ Stuffs

Yes, I know I'm good at math and patterns. I think this is what I got last time i took this too (which was about two or so years ago). I need to find other IQ tests.

I have the high speed results elsewhere. But regardless, its kind of fun to take. I don't generally give actual raw scores online. People will think I cheated.



I put up my art page with the ability to leave comments a long time ago, but for some reason they never appeared on the actual page so I never read them. And being deployed, it was hard for me to manage it and to get around to actually read it.

Until now.

I finally got the coding on my art page fixed so that the comments left to me by people would show up on the actual page, which makes me think pretty cool. Though some people show very little class.

Like the second person on this page.

Dude, nobody forced you to surf my site. Gees.

I don't mind when people tell me my art sucks, just as long as they explain why. If they can't explain why they don't like it, that's fine too, as long as they're tactful about it. There is plenty of art in this world that I don't like for whatever reason, and I've seen a lot of art from people who are really good but I just think that the art sucks. That's the beauty of art. You don't have to like it.

I wish I knew when he posted that comment, it was probably several months ago, and it bugs me that I'm only now seeing it, because my art page is a static blog. I use blogger to update it. I use blogger to update a lot of my site really.

UPDATE - Mystery solved, comment made on March 18th. What a loser.

I'm doing more with my art now, though I wouldn't classify it as being Fine Art, more illustration wise. I'm going to try to put up a page for that art specifically. Unfortunately, with only a sketchbook and a scanner, I've gone to doing mostly cartoon type stuff.

When I get home, I think I'm going to sign up for some art classes. I really want to get back into my art.

In a semi-related note. I just watched Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time ever.

What an experience. I'm pretty much speechless.

I don't get it.


Guy Friends

I've made a few friends from Task Force Tornado, the all male unit from Kansas posing as Infantry. One in particular, a guy named Nate, has become a pretty good friend of mine. Actually, I've acquired quite a few good friends from Tornado, I'm not sure if its just because I'm female and they're having withdrawals or what, but don't worry, I've been on my guard in that arena. And I think they got the hint too.

But they're still pretty cool guys.

Meanwhile, Saturday before yesterday Nate asked me if I wanted to go see Fred Trevalena with him, sort of a 'date' but as friends, nothing more. So I went to see Fred Travalena, we had a good time, and he informed me that Saturday was my turn to pick what we were going to do.

At the time I had no idea what we were going to, there isn't a whole lot to do on Bondsteel. YOu could catch a movie in the theater with the horrible surround sound or work out in the gym, or play pool at the MWR building. Or go get a Rootbeer float at the cappuccino bar. Hey, if you really want to get fancy, you can go out to eat instead of going to the DFAC. Your choices are Burger King or Anthony's Pizza.

The arena is pretty limited. And you have to watch what you do, because I hate to say this, but the command can get a little anal at times.

Well, one of the Specialists in my unit had managed to acquire a pretty decent copy of Star Wars, and since I didn't have any other ideas of what to do, I thought maybe he wouldn't mind sitting down and we could watch a movie.

Well, apparently he liked the whole Star Wars thing. He mentioned repeatedly that it was one of the coolest dates he had ever been on, when a girl supplied Star Wars. We went to his hutch, and his roomies wanted to see it too. At first we were watching it on a 13 inch screen when we decided that it was a wee bit to small. So one of the other soldiers got his projector out and we hooked that up to the Xbox and hung a sheet and VIOLA! Instant big screen TV!

I won major kudos, and the movie was pretty good, besides the time stamp of the obviously pirated copy.

Don't worry George, when it comes out for real, I'll get a legal copy.

We got chinese at the DFAC and some fruit juice in boxes, all gathered around and watched Episode Three, meanwhile trying to keep it on the low down before everyone came into the hutch wanting to watch it. And there were a few people who came around wondering why we hadn't said anything to them about having flippen' starwars in the barracks.

I guess that's the best screening I'm going to get of it meanwhile, because by the time I do make it to a real theater with decent sound, Star Wars will likely have left the building.

Unless they have decent theaters in Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, Nate has the 'date' for this Saturday. He's questioning whether or not he can top Star Wars however.

If all else fells, I have a DDR Pad. We were doing that, it was laughable. And funny.

And of course, after Star Wars, you can't forget Karaoke. I sung more songs within my range, though I did have fun singing Joan Jett "I love Rock and Roll", however, sorry, I didn't get it on film.

But I don't think you need it on film after my last lovely rendition.

The take with me and another guy named Richard singing "Lion Sleeps Tonight," by the tokens was particularly hilarious. I found out I can't keep a straight face and hit those high notes when another person is on stage with me.

The guys in Tornado want to throw a party and get me to invite my girl friends from Med Falcon. I noted that the problem with that is I wasn't exactly buddy buddy with a lot of girls in Med Falcon (true, I get along during work, but my idea of fun and their idea of fun don't actually coincide), hence why I have started to hang out almost exclusively with people from outside of the task force. Or guys from within the task force.

Mostly guys. Hardly any girls. Cooincidence? I wonder?


Episode III

Everyone is talking about Star Wars right now. Why not? Supposedly the final episode is better then the last two combined, not that I would know, I'm deployed in a combat zone with the nearest theater playing it (in english) is many many miles away.

Unless you count piracy. Which is prevalent here. Becuase Kosovo has no copyright laws.

And we have to get our fixes in some how.

Well, one of the good Specialists in my unit had managed to acquire a copy of Episode III and has been playing snibbits of it out of order, mainly dueling lightsaber scenes, and now I know who kills Count Dooku.

He tells me that he'll ruin it for me further after lunch.

We even had the unit Psychologist come in asking if he needed to seperate us (or confiscate the movie) to which the good Specialist said no and he whispered "darn".

I just want to borrow it so I can see it in full. Unfortunately, in that regard, rank has no privelege. Especially concerning this specific Specialist.

Guess I'll be watching Episode III on a laptop.

Not that it really matters, I'll likely watch it again when it makes it to the post theater (with the crappy sound system) that I get to watch it for free on anyway. So regardless, George Lucas won't be making money off of me anyway. So I feel less guilty about the pirated stuff.


Sing Along Time

My internet stopped freaking out long enough for me to put a video up. It only took slightly over an hour or so, which is impressive considering usually it will stall long enough to register a download time of about 3 days.

So anyway, about four or so weeks ago (I don't remember, it was just a long time ago) I got to do Karaoke. Now, I don't hold a tune and I'm not much of a singer. I know that.

I just didn't realize exactly how bad of a singer I was. I mean, I knew I was bad, I just never knew how bad.

I also learned another thing. The PT uniform is very unflattering. Somebody mentioned that I should pull down my pants or something, I didn't realize that I had them pulled up above my belly button, or whatever. I look like a freakin' geek in highwaters. Well, now I'm making a conscious effort to keep my PT pants hugging my waist. Though with an elastic band around the top, they don't like to stay put around my hips. They like to ride up. Hence the High water effect. *Grr. . .*

So I put together a stupid little video of me singing excerpts of four different songs. I don't even remember what order I put them up in, but it includes Matchbox Twenty Disease, Three Doors Down When I'm Gone, No Doubt Don't Speak, and a duet to Kid Rock and Cheryl Crow Picture, which I sang with a guy named Mason. And, for kicks and giggles, I included an excerpt of the concert with Lit, including one of the highlights of my participation in the song My Own Worst Enemy where he gave me the microphone for a split second (I feel like a major dork in this video however, but I had fun and that's all that counts.)

So, without further ado, here is the Karaoke video.


Greece, Day Three: Philippi Part II

After touring the acropolis, we headed back to the main part of our tour to grab some grub. I had a Gyro without the Pita, which is called something else but still pretty good. However, I like the Pita.

One of my battle buddies treated me to some ice cream. Although I really didn't need it, I couldn't resist the ice creamy chocolatey goodness. And its an american ice cream bar, or something, because it has an American Flag printed on the side. Or maybe its a wannabe american icecream, to capatalize on that which is America.

YOu know, I really didn't need that Ice Cream Bar.

Then we headed back to the Ruins via the Ampatheater again, and I saw these ruins behind me and wanted another picture (complete with Ice Cream Cone thingy)

I just thought this archway was way cool :)

This be the reconstruction effort that is currently underway to restore parts of Philippi, I just thought it was cool and took a picture of it. And its one of the few where I'm not actually in the picture!

I think every time I saw a piece of Philippi sitting there with lettering still etched in the side, I got a picture of me with it. I don't think I could resist, or something

This is a partial greek statue that resides in the northern part of Philippi that still stands, and has weathered over 2 millenia of snow, sleet, rain, the ottoman empire, and tourists.

So what's one more going to do?

I'm sorry, I just looked at this thing and all I could see was CLIMB ME

I think when you think of ancient ruins, you think of pillars. I saw some more, with ruins strown about behind me, and so I took this as a sign.

Um, you might get sick of me posing for pictures, but I'm sorry, I ain't done yet.

This is all that remains of Bascilica B. Just ruins, but these are actually pretty impressive, I saw a drawing of what it probably looked like and I thought that was pretty dang sweet. So anyway, you have this entry way type place and thats pretty much the main gist of Philippi. This place is literally in ruins.

And right before the Bascilica, stood a pillar with something written in Greek on it. I hope I didn't desecrate anything by taking a stand and posing for pictures.

Some more. . .

Behold, the private water closet for the supreme beings that ran Philippi. Unlike the puny underlings, who had to share the public toilet (and a few priveleged folks that had indoor plumbing!) this is where the great ones urinated and defecated! Alexander the Great may have even once stood on this very throne!

Um, hold on for just a moment.

By the way, the following are the public toilets.

I managed to sit on one of those too.

The highlight of my trip, sitting on an ancient Greek Toilet. I think they are better then some of the common european toilets, let me tell you. But thats a post for day Four. (which was the shortest day of them all)

I love these walls. We crawled all over them.

Um, don't mind me, acting like, once again, a dork. I just saw this broken pot and said "that looks like an egg!"

I'm just curious how long these ones have been around.

What, you think I would pass by a perfect opportunity to take advantage of these old pedastel type thingees just laying around?

Just over from under my left foot, the second line. It says Philip. See! Something discussing how Philippi is named for King Philip of Macedonia. Or something. Anybody speak Greek?

Tis ancient coffins. Made out of concrete. Which tells me that unless I want my bones excravated in a thousand years, don't get buried in anything fancy.

Greek Kitty! I'm telling you, cats are everywhere here, man!

A monument simply known, as a three niches. You can sort of make out the left one, but its hard to see.

And I had to climb up into it.

Um, about this time, my camera started freaking out and I thought I had dropped it, or something. Which made me a tad bit frustrated. And as you can see, I took a lot of pictures.

Of course, then we went to the Site of Lydia's Baptism, and for you Christians out there, she is the first European to be baptised into the church as described in Acts 16 as well.

It was a really pretty and quite a relaxing place. It wasn't very far from the ruins of Philippi, only about a mile or so away.

Because my camera was freakin' out, I didn't get any pictures of the site with me in them, but I did manage to get a shot of it.

One of the soldiers even got baptised while we were there. I think it would be pretty cool to be baptised in a place such as this, but being in a religion that believes in Baptism by full immersion, its a bit shallow and that would actually be difficult here.

But still, it was a very neat experience, and I probably would have been a lot more spiritually inclined if I had a functioning camera that I wasn't fretting over. I mean, I seriously thought I had broken it or something.

Turns out, it just ran out of batteries. I put regular Double A's in and discovered this thing chews them up and spits them out with no more thought about it.

Anyway, there is a Greek Orthodox Church on the site and we went in there and had a small devotional and sang a couple of Hymns. One I had never heard before, the other turned out to be one of my favorites. (which for the life of me I don't remember, I would have if I wasn't trying to recount these events two weeks later, my feeble mind is fickle on such matters! I guess I shall consult the tape, I video taped us singing a verse within the church.

They had a little shop at the site of Lydia's Baptism where you could buy an assortment of various different items of religious nature and I picked up a little picture of Paul. Since this was a trip about him and his journeys, I thought it was appropriate.

After spending an hour in Lydia, we headed back to the hotel, where we were treated to Dinner. I had chicken, it was good.

Like my hat? I picked it up at Kavala the day before and started wearing it around. We also got back to the Hotel pretty early that day, around fourish, and I spent the evening walking around on the beach and getting into my PTs and diving into the swimming pool. See, I had no swimming suit so I had to make do with what I had.

No pictures. Just a recount in a journalistic fashion.

But this day really was one of the highlights of my time here in the Balkans in general. Philippi was particularly amazing, just to be able to see all of these ancient sites was pretty sweet in my opinion. And it got a traveling bug going within me, see? I really would like to take advantage of my youth and see the world.

I'm doing it little by little!


More Fun With Photoshopping

I should have seen this one coming. . .

I just knew somebody would take the bait on that one, I just knew it! And I posted the picture anyway!

Courtesy of Gadfly :)

Small Break from Greece Trip

You know, things have been going on besides my trip to Greece (which happened over two weeks ago, and I'm still trying to post it) so I thought I would mention some of the other things going on.

Fred Travalena came by the Balkan states to perform a show for us. Though he caters to an older crowd (I had never heard of him) he proved to be entertaining as he is a pretty good impressionist. He had a few people down pretty good. Though he came across as being a conservative, it didn't stop him from poking fun at some previous republican presidents and candidates in harmless jest. I had a pretty good time, I think I need to take more advantage of these USO tours. They have been a nice break from reality from time to time.

Also, Lit had a great interview in the Guardian magazine. Click on the DANCON issue and scroll to page 20 to read it. The author also posted the full interview on his own website, which was cool (they say 'y'know' a lot) They say they're going to talk to some of their buddies about coming up here too.

USO and MWR are definitely doing their part. Can't wait to see what other things they have in store for us.


Greece, Day Three: Philippi Part I

3 down, one day to go. And I took a bunch of pictures in Philippi so I think this one will have to be sectioned off into two parts. And it will likely turn more into a picture show with me narrating now and again.

Wednesday was completely devoted to Philippi. Philippi is in ruins now, but it is quoted extensively in ACTS 16 of the New Testament. Specifically, they talk about two places in Philippi, the Prison and the Lydia's Baptismal font.

I got to visit both, along with some kick butt ancient ruins! I've always wanted to visit ancient ruins, and this was my chance!

We got to Philippi around 9 in the morning, and we first made our way to the ampitheater.

That's my shoddy excuse of putting pictures together to get a panoramic effect. I once did the same thing to my bedroom. (unfortunately I don't know what happened to that image, I think it went down the same time my website crashed last September)

Anyway, here we had a bit of a history lesson, learning about Philippi and what kinds of cool and gnarly things happened here back during the battle of Philippi in 53 BC. Also, Philippi is named after King Philip, who was the father of Alexander the Great.

Of course, I had to get a picture of me in the Ampitheater.

And in various different poses within it.

Ok, a majority of these pictures have me in them. I was constantly passing around the camera for photographs, although I did take a lot of pictures of the surroundings. As well as video. I had my video camera on me, I was constantly tape recording around these parts.

Columns! Actually, I think these columns were recently restored or something, becuase I was looking at pictures of Philippi taken in the past through books and stuff I was looking through and these weren't there. But I still thought they were hella cool!

Philippi provoked a childhood instinct within me. If it was there, Climb it. So I was all over this place exploring. And I saw one or two pillars just standing there asking for me to stand on them and pose. Kind of going in to terms with my Internet Patron War Goddess or something, I couldn't resist.

And then, there was the first piece of architecture directly quoted right out of the Bible.
And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat [them].
And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast [them] into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
~KJV : ACTS CH 16 V 22-28

I present to you, Paul's Prison.

Behind me is a mountain, which sits the Acropolis of Philippi. Going back to my motto of the day, if its there, climb it, I headed up the side and started checking out the scenery. It was pretty awesome.

That would be Philippi in the background, or whats left of it.

Still climbing, we got on top of the Mountain and took a good look around, and started taking lots of pictures. To include the buildings behind us, which back in the time of Paul, would have been a kind of look out tower to keep an eye open for the enemy. Or whoever. We just ended up walking up there and goofing off for the next hour and a half, or so.

My next destination, just behind me.

The following picture is the highest point of the acropolis. We had people climbing on top of this thing, yet for once, I didn't heed my motto and maintained a safe altitude within it. I had a shaky grasp and I didn't want to risk falling here. The climb up to this thing wears you out.

But if I get another chance to make it back to Greece (very strong possibility) I'll be sure to have another go and then I will climb on top.

Me and some of my Battle Buddies crawling around the forementioned entrance. They started stripping of their shirts, (to be a guy) yet later they were all pretty red so I didn't feel so bad :)

And you can see somebody in the background climbing around.

Just because I didn't climb to the very top of the Acropolis, didn't mean i didn't climb it!

You see that little tiny window on the picture up there? This is it, and that's me posing in front of it. I look nice, red, hot and sweaty. Ick. It was a warm day.

That is not Philippi in the distance. Just a town that borders Philippi called Krinides. But this is an example of the view. Though it was a bit hazy.

Yes, I conquered this mountain! Me! Take heed in the beautiful view that surrounds this ancient rock!

And down in the distance, sitting on the dome of the rock, is the banner of Greece fluttering in the breeze. My next destination.

They don't seem to have the same etiquette for their flags as we do ours. Still, it is an awesome site!

Flag poles are not exempt from my motto.

Next up: Philippi, Part II, the ruins themselves. To come shortly to a website near you!