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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Gallimaufry#111

THE OTHER SIDE OF GREECE

My first glimpse of Greece from my coach upon arrival in Athens revealed a landscape inundated with ugly graffiti—a stark departure from the pristine postcard images that had filled my expectations.


Think Greece, and the mind is immediately flooded with images of the Cyclades—picturesque blue-domed and pristine white-washed buildings nestled against the azure sea. However, beneath this postcard-perfect facade lies a disparate contrast, exposing a side of the country that struggles with social issues, economic hardships, and the harsh realities faced by certain communities.

Graffiti serves as a canvas for the unheard voices of marginalized communities.





Amidst the bustling streets and historic landmarks where tourists lose themselves in the beguiling Grecian allure, there exist sights that are not easy on the eye. A family of refugees huddles on the sidewalk under a tattered blanket that barely shields them from the elements. Before them, a humble cup holds a few coins tossed by passersby. Homeless souls lie sprawled in the shadows of shuttered buildings, their meager belongings beside their slumbering forms. Young children begging, with innocence lost too soon, and vagrants with missing or deformed limbs and disfigured faces – these images continue to haunt even long after my glorious Greek vacation has ended.
My Corner of the World

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Gallimaufry#110

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM OF METEORA AND MUSHROOM MUSEUM

You probably have seen the following photos as collages in Gallimaufry#100, but collages fall short in capturing the true splendor of these dioramas. 

These stunning visuals, meticulously blending artistry and scientific accuracy, are crafted by skilled artisans and passionate naturalists. They deserve to be beheld in their full glory and shared in a dedicated post of their own.

What sets the museum apart isn't just the quality of exhibits but also the unique presentation.

Exhibits are showcased in dioramas replicating the natural habitats where these creatures thrive, such as forests or wetlands. The incorporation of mushrooms into the museum's dioramas and scenes is a captivating aspect that adds a unique touch to the exhibits.
 In these meticulously crafted displays, mushrooms seamlessly become part of the natural terrain, enhancing the authenticity of the depiction.






















What do you think?

My Corner of the World
#ArtisticScience #CraftedWonders #NaturalistArtistry #VisualMastery #ScientificElegance #MuseumMarvels

Friday, January 12, 2024

Gallimaufry#109

THE DONKEYS OF SANTORINI

As we browsed through the assortment of souvenirs in a shop in Pyrgos, we heard the jingling of a bell. Stepping outside, the sight of a weary donkey laden with supplies tugged at our hearts. While common in Santorini's landscape, the sight evoked sadness witnessing these gentle beings toil under heavy loads.

In Fira, these docile creatures, with their soulful eyes and burdened spirits, are used to ferry tourists—many of whom are overweight—up and down the steep and unforgiving 588 cobbled steps of the Karavolades stairs. They suffer grueling work all day under the brutal Greek sun. Despite their resilience, they face harsh conditions, sometimes without food, water, shade, or rest. Some embark on long journeys to reach the stairs and endure equally long journeys back home at the end of their shifts. 

Donkey taxis at the Karavolades stairs
The Karavolades Stairs
For centuries, donkeys stood as Santorini's unsung heroes, serving as the lifeline of the island's economy and daily existence. Negotiating the island's rugged terrain and steep cliffs posed significant challenges, but the donkeys emerged as the perfect solution. They skillfully transported goods, harvested crops, and facilitated transportation for both people and materials across the vertiginous slopes.

Despite technological advancements in transportation, certain areas on the island remain inaccessible to vehicles. The intricate network of narrow pathways and steep inclines continues to present challenges that larger vehicles cannot surmount. Consequently, donkeys persist as an irreplaceable mode of transportation, particularly in these hard-to-reach locations.
Their agility and intimate knowledge of the terrain render donkeys invaluable for navigating tight passages and reaching places beyond the reach of conventional means. Their unwavering strength and dependable nature establish them as indispensable contributors, revered for their vital role in ensuring the island's survival and prosperity.
The donkeys in Santorini carry heavy loads up steep paths, day in and day out. Their tired eyes and slow steps tell a story of exhaustion and hardship, a silent sadness hidden behind the tourist-filled streets.
Befittingly, donkey statues stand as ubiquitous tributes, honoring the unwavering fortitude and invaluable service these creatures render.
Donkey decor in the yard of an AirBnb rental in Pyrgos
An AI-generated image of the the unsung heroes.
One of them looks up at the sky as if seeking solace from the heavens

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Gallimaufry#108

We were having lunch in a taverna when Petros, the pelican, waddled past our table and headed straight into the kitchen. I was expecting the kitchen staff to shoo him off, but I was surprised to see that no one batted an eye. It seemed like his presence in the kitchen was a regular occurrence, a part of the taverna's daily routine. Then, as if on cue, the taverna owner took out a fish from the fridge and fed it to Petros, treating him like an honored guest.
In 1958, a local fisherman discovered an injured pelican and tended to its wounds, nursing it back to health. Embraced by the people of Mykonos, the pelican was affectionately dubbed Petros (Peter), a playful reference to the Greek word "petro" which translates to "rock" or "stone," often used metaphorically to signify someone old and grumpy. However, after a year, Petros met a tragic end, with conflicting accounts suggesting either a fatal encounter with a drunk tourist or being struck by a car.
Despite the loss, the islanders sought to uphold Petros's legacy by introducing a successor bearing the same name. Later, Jackie Kennedy contributed another pelican named Irene to the island. The exact count of Petros's successors remains uncertain, yet pelicans have become an enduring part of Mykonos's local customs and traditions.
Today, the legacy lives on as not one, but three pelicans take up residence and freely roam the streets of Mykonos town
With an air of regal nonchalance, Petros strolls all over the town, commanding attention with every step he takes. He has mastered the art of posing for photos, apparently aware of the admiring gazes and clicking cameras that follow his every move. Tourists flock around the feathered celebrity, eager to pet and capture a selfie with him.
Petros seems to revel in the attention and enjoys being petted. And he willingly obliges when tourists approach him for selfies.

Here's another pelican who stole my heartWillie from St. James Park, London.

FUN FACT

Pelicans do have a curious and sometimes playful nature, which can lead to moments where they might appear to pose for photographers. They often exhibit interesting behaviors like tilting their heads, spreading their wings, or staying still for extended periods, which can make it seem as though they're striking a pose. It's more about their natural behavior than a conscious effort to pose for photographers.

My Corner of the World