It was a trip in keeping the current vibe of my life.
Left LAX 1 hour and 10 minutes late.
Heard my name being paged as I raced to my connecting flight in Atlanta. "Please report to gate E5 immediately or your boarding pass will no longer be valid." I made it.
Shortly thereafter sky marshals came onto the plane and removed a woman from the first class cabin. The other first class passengers applauded.
We taxied out. I dozed. Fell asleep in my tiny economy seat, actually. Quite soundly. I woke to, "Flight attendants, prepare for arrival and cross-check." Holy shit, I thought. I was unconscious the whole way? No. We were taxi-ing back to the gate. The hydraulic system went kaput. Mechanics came on. We passengers got off. Four and a half hours later, we re-boarded. But alas, the pilots had "timed-out." They went home to sleep while we waited for new pilots.
So I arrived 5 hours or so late in Athens.
The city looks good--clean, very little litter. Although it did look as though the grande dame of Athens hotels, the Hotel Bretagne was in the process of removing plywood panels from their front windows which face Syntagma Square. Workers were pulling the panels down and putting the finishing touches on metal rolling shutters (the same sort of thing I want for my windows on my patio.) Once the shutters were up, an elegant cornice of ironwork was placed over the top. No firebombs will be lobbed through their windows.
So things are tough here in many ways. But you wouldn't know it. It seems like the Greeks are just trying harder to bring beauty into the foreground.