So, initial thoughts on Athens: the practically brand-new airport makes Heathrow (at least Terminal 4) look like a sad old relic. But they’re going to need more than that to get geared up for the 2004 Olympics — and everything is still under construction (even on the weekends, I’ve been told.)

Not least among these will be more airport shuttles. I was crammed — with my ever-expanding luggage — into a city bus with 48 other travelers* and their luggage for the 75-minute journey to the city center. This after being crowded at the bus stop by people who jostled for boarding position while puffing madly on cigarettes.

Not to make far-reaching generalizations, but it’s impossible to imagine the Singaporeans doing this. Just as it is difficult to imagine a Singapore** resident asking me the question I got upon leaving my (impressively dingy) hostel this morning:

“Do you play basketball?”

* All the Greek taxi drivers have been on strike since 0500 Thursday, so this number may be inflated. However, it’s a 35km journey, so it’s probably pretty expensive.
** In Singapore, for example, I can’t stand straight up in the phone booths (the on-hook phone doesn’t even come to my navel.) No joke.

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