The Birds of Chaos

Last spring, my friend had a "destination birthday" and I and about a dozen of his friends flew to Turkey and Greece to celebrate his 30th. It was a fantastic trip, I'd highly recommend Istanbul, but I woke up this morning laughing at one incident on one of the Greek isles.

We were near the end of our trip and a group of us were lazily enjoying the oceanview from a restaurant. It felt like paradise and my friend Gina and I were soaking it all on when all of a sudden one of us stopped, "OH my GOSH!!!"

And in the middle of all this peacefulness, way out on the water was a large fishing boat - and the real-life enactment of some kind of scene from an Alfred Hitchcock film. BIRDS! SWARMING! I have never seen anything like it and I wish I had a photo but picture this:

but on water. Around a ship.

For whatever reason, this juxtaposition of peaceful paradise and whatever the heck the poor people on that ship were experiencing, made us giggle the rest of the day.

We were supposed to leave for home the next day but major rioting caused our flight to be cancelled. Along with most other modes of transportation in Athens. And since we didn't have anything else to do (and because I Always Have To Be Where The Action Is) - we went to watch the riots.

Here's where being curious will get you tear-gassed. I've never seen anything like this in all the protests I've seen, or participated in, in D.C. These people are ANGRY. They are setting EVERYTHING on fire; riot police are shooting out tear-gas left and right; people keep passing us with chalky, tear-stained faces; and they bomb a few banks around the square we are in, killing some of there own citizens.

And of course, I have to get closer. So while people who have just been gassed are running AWAY, I start to walk IN, until Gina strongly suggests we leave the area for a little while.

So we did - and the rest of that city was like nothing was happening. You'd go down a peaceful street full of shops and restaurants, then turn the corner and see the war-zone scene again in the square. It was crazy. We went back in and took more photos:

And Gina starts uploading photos to Facebook, because this thing is crazy!, and one of our friends on the trip, Karl, sees the uploads.

From the cozy Athens internet cafe HE has spent the day in.

So then Karl is all "WHAT THE -?!" because HIS day has been extremely peaceful, catching up on emails while sipping lattes. Then he looks on Facebook and sees that other people, ON HIS SAME TRIP, just went to war a few blocks over.

At the end of the day, when we all thankfully made it back safely, Gina and I start giggling again because we realize: Karl was that picture-perfect lunch on the island the day before.

And we were the ship being swarmed by birds.

I'm leaving for a short trip to Miami tomorrow (incidentally, ANOTHER "destination birthday" for someone's 30th) and I sincerely hope it is more paradise, less birds.

I'll let you know.