Friday, December 12, 2008

Gearlds Blog: I'm Safe from Riots

Let me start this off by first saying that I am safe! The riots that are going down here in Athens are not too close from where I live, but they aren't really that far away either. I could probably drive and be there in less than 10 minutes - part of me wants to go to get a first-hand look, but the smarter part of me is saying to stay away!!!! I haven't seen any riots in person, only those that have been on CNN. Everything is taking place mostly in the center of Athens, but it has began to spread to other parts of the city and country as well.

You all probably know that the riots started because of the 15 year old being shot and killed last week. Well, here, my teammates tell me that the boy being shot was kind of like the tip of the iceberg that set everything off. The rioting is actually rather normal here, but never has it gotten this out of control. It's unbelievable what these people are doing - shops being burned down, cars set on fire ... it really is crazy here!

The basketball side of being here is going great! We are undefeated in the Greek league - our next tough games will be in January. In EuroCup, we advanced with the 11th seed in the Round of 32 and we played Cesis in Latvia on Wednesday. We were able to sneak out of there with a win by 11 points, so hopefully we can take care of business next week at home and advance again. This is my team's first experience at playing in Europe and we are doing pretty well (knock on wood)!!!!

But when we travel as a team on the plane, we have to wear these three-piece suits - yep, the pants, the jacket, and a scarf! We get a million looks wherever we go - we look straight up like British Airways flight attendants (pictured at right) and the things are so uncomfortable! During our last trip, we were in Frankfurt and a woman asked Toya Davis (Texas Tech '06) if she worked there because she needed help finding her flight!

Outside of basketball and riots, everything is pretty cool here. But I did get a parking ticket here and I have no idea how!!!! If you have ever been to Athens, you know there are no parking rules! People just park wherever they want. As long as you aren't blocking someone in, it's a good parking spot! I drive a little smart car (it's funny to watch people's faces when three 6-feet-tall girls get out of this tiny thing!) and usually it's relatively easy to find a spot or make my own spot like the Greeks. This one time, I thought I had a done a great job of making my own spot and the next morning I come out to find an 80 Euro ticket on the windshield! 80 Euros!?!? For a parking ticket?!?! In this country?!?! Oh well, I still park in that very same spot almost every day and nothing since - I guess cops have bad days here, too!

I wish everyone Happy Holidays and may your New Year be all that you want it to be!


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