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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Notes on Observations and Conversations Overheard at Ancient Knossos: part 2

Knossos – well-restored rooms. Spacious. Light-filled. Vast storage jars called: pithoi. Tick. Three 20-something backpackers read sign outside rooms. Sign says: MAGAZIN. Girl says: “I didn’t know they had magazines in those days.” One guys says: “I think it refers to the magazine of a gun…” Other guy silent. Looks confused. First two dawdle to next set of rooms. Other guy stays. Looks at sign. Looks at room. Looks baffled. (I want to write that he scratched his head but that would be a lie. But I do imagine him scratching his head.) magasin = shop/store in French? Pithoi in rooms – a store room? French archaeologists? Is ‘magazin’ warehouse in Greek? Look this up. Guards start blowing whistles continuously! They shout loudly and rudely at us!! “Ruins are closing. Leave immediately!” Like being in concentration camp/prison! I look at watch – 15 minutes to go!!! They obviously have somewhere to go. Things to do: write letter of complaint to Ministry for Tourism. English backpacking couple look incredulously at guidebook. Poor things just arrived! Guy approaches guard. “Guidebook is wrong!” shouts guard, “They are always wrong!” (Well, mine is right.) “Come back tomorrow,” she barks. “But tomorrow we’ll be at Gortys” (Another ruin on other side of island. Dates to Minoan times. Guards nice there, although still looked like they’d prefer to be at home) “Does Gortys close at the same time?” “Of course!” growls guard, “These are the winter hours!” She whistles in his face. (This is true.) Couple look disappointed in guidebook. Ticket guy must have been asleep when they came through – forgot to tell them they had no time to see anything. Couple run around and take photos. Guard keeps whistling. Terry still taking photos for book. Sees me. Looks at watch. Looks at guard. Shakes head. (Still 10 minutes before official closing time. Takes 1 minute to walk to exit.) Guard looks at us “The ruins are closing!” she barks for hundredth time. Terry says to me: “Don’t worry, I haven’t sworn at her yet.” Guard understands. Looks Terry up and down. Says something in Greek to other guard. Clearly not commenting on his clothes. We admire cherry blossoms on way out. Bookshop. Tick. Souvenir shop. Tick. Café. Tick. Ancient Knossos. Tick.

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