Unconditioned Air

Arriving in Athens – 11:30 pm, 29˚C- equipped with a few Greek words, very little money and even less of an idea for accommodations. I had planned on taking the Metro, a well air-conditioned local rail system, into town. That plan was a bust because the Metro stops running at 11:00. No worries. After hustling around for a while, building up quite a sweat down my neck and back, I found a bus for £3 that would take me where I wanted to go. I hopped on, found a cozy seat next to the window and pried it open for a much-needed refreshing breeze.

The drips of liquid seeping from my pores acted as freon bringing my body thermostat back within normal range. I cracked my Europe For Dummies book once more and found an address for an affordable hostel. Thirty minutes later, I whipped off the bus and quickly hailed the first cab in the line-up. Just my luck, the taxi driver knew even less English than I did Greek.
I pointed to the address, which he didn’t seem to recognize.
I asked for the amount, which I couldn’t understand
and we both jumped in and off we went.

The driver was an older fellow with a leathery-skinned, but surpassingly hairy face. He was not running the A/C and only had the windows cracked enough for a narrow stream of cigarette smoke to seep out.

Stop #1: The car abruptly halts and he proceeds to pop the trunk.

“This is not the Aphrodite hostel” I exclaimed.

With an irritated look on his face he got behind the wheel and started driving again.

Stop #2: Another random hotel. The receptionist at this hotel spoke a little English so I asked him how much for a night.

“£65,” he said.

I chuckled and then I asked him to tell my taxi driver where to go. They exchanged dialog as I faded back into the muggy, smoke-filled cab.

It was now – 1:30 am, 97˚F – and we finally arrived at the Aphrodite Hostel – phew. I checked in and was shown to my room. I walked in. The lights were off. There were seven other backpackers already asleep. I washed up, found an empty mattress and quickly realized that the air was not conditioned! Without any control over the situation, I shook hands with unconditioned air, closed my eyes, and without hesitation, dozed off.

Next day, I awoke and began asking around for anyone headed to the Acropolis. Maria, an attractive, young, adventurous girl from Colombia had the same destination. It was a scorcher. I could see the waves of oily air over every horizon and no matter how much fluid you funneled, you would never need to relief yourself. We toured the ancient ruins trying to get a feeling or at least an understanding of what it must have been like during the late Bronze Age. We then rode the well air-conditioned Metro back to the hostel for a quick snack of late bread and ripe fruit just before another sweaty night.

A good comparison to this unconditioned air could be the sauna at your local gym – You enter. You Sweat. And you exit.
My room at the hostel was very similar—
You enter. You sweat and lie awake rolling around for what feels like hours trying to cool off as you listen to everyone else doing the same thing, except for the one guy who is already asleep and snoring so loud he was topping the Richter scale.
And you exit.

Needless to say, I would find conditioned air for the following night at the Zeus Hostel, for a whopping 4€.  It was only quick 15-minute ride south in the well air-conditioned Metro rail.

If you find yourself in a sleeping situation without air conditioning, remember a large frozen water bottle makes a great cuddle buddy.

View Photos From Athens

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13 Responses to Unconditioned Air

  1. kevatga says:

    Simply Amazing!

    Your photographs tell a story my friend. I am happy you’re having a great time over there…keep writing and I will eagerly await your second post.


  2. kevatga says:


    Kev your site is amazing! I sat and reflected on the pic of the Colosseum. What great architectural designers! The ancient Romans new what a ‘fish eye’ was but your ‘fish eye’ lens captured it’s soul.love mom

  3. kevatga says:


    How about the time you witnessed that girl spread out bald-eagle style on the ceramic floor, hunting for coolness like a dog? Oh wait, that was me. Note to self: next time, pack a mobile fan.

    • kevatga says:

      To the one who edits my posts – Please show me “bald-eagle” because I’m only familiar with spread-eagle. Thanks.

  4. kevatga says:


    Can’t wait to hear more about your travels!

    • kevatga says:

      Thank you Kristine! I cannot wait to post more entries. I’m looking forward to my return home because of your “donated” home-cooked meal!

  5. david williams says:

    Excellent blog! Reads great! I’m not going to Europe this year, but this is the next
    best thing. Your drinking out of the “fountain” in the street was priceless!
    And I thought that Italy was a developed country! Love, Pops

  6. Caylee Bale says:

    Never knew you were so good with words! Sounds like you are having a blast (minus the sweating part). So glad you’re having an adventure, and taking amazing pictures so I can see what I’m missing out on ;) You’ll have to remember all the little details so you can give me some advice for a trip! Miss you, and be safe!

    Best Wishes, Caylee

    • kevatga says:

      Hi Caylee,

      Thank you for the writing kudos. I’ll be sure to take great notes on the little details and tell you all about them when I return home – which is still to be determined ;-) I miss you too and I hope the wedding plans are coming along smoothly!

      All the best,

  7. Gregg Greenier says:

    This is a great post. I am eagerly waiting your next content. Continue on the first-class work.

  8. Josefine Balling says:

    Seen your site via msn the other day and absolutely like it. Continue the truly great work.

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