Funny weather, autumny, breezy. The building under construction next to where we live had doors installed today, but no door handles. So, doors on four floors of empty flats flap shut and then back open continually in the breeze.
Just back from the dentist, no root canal, not this time.
The last two weeks have been pretty full of things to see and do. I will use the pictures posted as signposts, to remind myself where and what in telling you.
So, where did I leave off, ah yes, that beach where the kite dies, a couple of weeks ago. I did not mention that there is a quarry next to that beach, and a monastery and some tavernas. In the Outpost, when not swamped with mega-hotels, beaches tend to be endowed with industrial landmarks: quarries, power stations, cement factories — and so on. Anyway, here is a quarry-related warning sign.
During the following week, our mood could be reflected on images like the following — actually of Landmark in the Outpost Capital.
Last Friday we went back to Finbar's, for a St. Pat's / Jod Birthday party. We had lots of fun, again. We have been pushing it by now, so we'll wait a bit before we go back there for a third time.
On the following day, Jod's mum came to visit and on Sunday we took her to Second Most Famous Outpost Mountain Village ('SMoFOMoV' henceforth). I was taken to SMoFOMoV four years ago, by Adversary. Adversary was a lousy driver, so our way there was scary. Moreover, because I am a huge mountain lover, I found SMoFOMoV almost unremarkable then. In other words, last Sunday was my first time back there after four years. This time, I found the place delightful, elating, beautiful: green, running water, trees, cool dry weather. This is what four years in the Outpost can do to you: they make you deeply appreciate the humblest of mountain streams (like the one running through the village),
the most modest patch of vegetation, or the smallest extent of non-brutalised architecture.
Last week again felt pretty much like this:
Yesterday we were offered a guided tour of a neolithic settlement, actually a UNESCO World Heritage site. Now, as you might have figured out, archaeological and historical sites are aplenty here, remember, this used to be the centre of the world once. Actually, the main produce of this country is History and wine (although its potatoes are also among the best in the world). Anyway. What we learned from our guided tour to the site was actually too little.
The reason was that our guide, a polite and friendly employee of the Principality's Bureau of Antiquities, was not qualified to be our guide, as he just works there and he is in fact specialised in the History of Archaeology. Thankfully, the site guard was at hand, very knowledgeable and helpful.
One thing we learned was that excavations in the site (discovered in the 30s, I think) are going really slowly, carried out by the French Archaeological School. The reason is that the Principality's Bureau of Antiquities has only "twelve souls working for it". So they fund no excavations. This, I am sure, strikes you as very odd for a place with a history of 10,000 years of continuous settlement.
Second, our guide informed us that Outpost "history is produced for us by the Americans and, given that Americans want very specific things from us (Loxias: not their oil, for there is none), you realise the state we are in." Most participants nodded in anti-americanist assonance.
Third, evil Americans are so bent on producing history of the Outpost for the Outposters, surely to rule over them and "sow doubt on their identity", as someone said, that they are running thirteen archaeological missions in the Outpost. Whoa! All that money! It must be crucial for US foreign policy (surely behind all American enterprise, business-related or not) to sow doubt on Outposters' identity. I am so ignorant.
Fourth, neolithic settlements gave great views, especially in the Spring:
The particular one also featured a cute tree: