Monday, April 10, 2006

The Sniffles

Okay, so a brief weekend delay while Lennart and I sniffled pitifully from the tour group cold that we both managed to get, and we played a bit of the latest(last) Myst game, and got a scratching post for Kem, who is beginning to settle in now. I think he's the most calm and patient cat I have ever owned or met; he didn't make a peep from the time we put him in his travel bag in the apartment in Gbg to the time he came out in the apartment here. He _was_ very worried, with shallow breathing and wide eyes and VERY hot ears, but he sat patiently in his bag. The scariest part was having to take him out of the bag at various security checks and carrying him through the metal detectors while his bag went through the x-ray machine. SO many people and noises and SUCH a scared kitty. But I held him securely while he tried to bury his face in my neck, and then the lady waved the wand over us both. He had many fans, though, telling him how cute he was. Kem wasn't interested in any of that, though, and was only too happy when he could get back in his bag and hide! Anyway, we're all here, safe and sound, and though he's not quite comfortable enough to get really good sleep anywhere but under the bedcovers, he's getting more relaxed each day, and getting back to his old tricks, like pushing things off nightstands and tables when he wants feeding in the night. So the outlook is positive. And as we suspected, he LOVES the really wide window ledges and sits there for hours. Will have to take a picture one of these days, so's you can see.

Meanwhile, Apollonia and Cyrene:

Our images from Apollonia...the Greek port built for the major Greek city of Cyrene.

Our images from Cyrene.

Cyrene was a stunning Greek city, and HUGE, spanning a very large area, with two theatres and many temples. Here there were many more mosaics and tessellated floors and feelings of guilt and joy while walking on them. There was no avoiding it, really, the other choice would have been walking on the walls. Or not seeing it at all, which I couldn't bear to do. But there was also a partially restored floor made of marble mosaic with the most beautiful patterns, and each square was different:

Here's one of the views that took my breath away. After spending a couple of hours seeing many astonishing ruins up on a hill, we trekked down a mountainside to have our lunch at the Temple of Apollo. Just as we were munching our sandwiches and basking in the great view of the temple, the call to prayer was sounded through a loudspeaker, and all was quiet but for an eerie musical Allahu Akbar chanting through the treetops. It was very surreal.

And finally, after a long, wonderful day exploring these ruins, we were bussed to Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, where we stayed the night in a government operated hotel which displayed translations of phrases from The Green Book for our edification:

(And though I haven't mentioned everything, and have certainly forgotten much, the one other thing I really have to point out from Cyrene is the Temple of Zeus. This is one of the most complete temples to Zeus remaining. Most columns still have their tops, and you can see clearly where the reflecting pool would have been. It was truly something to see!)

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