Muli Ben-Yehuda's journal

May 12, 2011

Greek adventure

Filed under: Uncategorized — Muli Ben-Yehuda @ 4:09 PM

Sitting inside working in my office in Haifa on a beautiful day, instead of doing something fun outside in the sun, always feels slightly wrong. Sitting in a conference room in Heraklion, Crete, and looking out of the window at the gorgeous view outside only feels slightly wronger.

Orna and I are currently in beautiful Heraklion, Crete. I am here mostly for work — the IOLanes EU research project meeting and review — and for a little vacationing; Orna is in full vacation mode. We both badly need a vacation after the pressure-cooker of the ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing deadline. During the last couple of weeks of April we worked around the clock, culminating in the submission of three different papers on April 30th. IOLanes provided a much needed opportunity to visit Greece and rest a little.

We were suppose to arrive in Heraklion yesterday morning, but ended up spending a few hours in Athens first, courtesy of striking air traffic controllers. After landing in Athens we took the bus from the airport to the city center, where we walked around and enjoyed Greek hospitality and cooking. We had planned to return to the airport the same way, but when we returned to the bus stop a few hours later, we discovered tens of thousands of demonstrators blocking the bus station and nearby roads. Our first indication of imminent trouble was the large number of uniformed police officers blocking the streets in full riot gear, including gas masks. Moving closer, we saw the more experienced on-lookers wearing scarves or surgical masks. While the demonstration was peaceful at that time, clearly, tensions were running high and violence was not far off. Orna was feeling adventurous and wanted to hang around and try to intercept the bus somewhere along its route, but cooler heads — mine — prevailed. Once we saw the news agent lock and barricade his shop, we backtracked out of the danger area and found a taxi back to the airport. When we arrived to the airport we discovered that the demonstration indeed turned violent shortly after we left. Nonetheless, we did not let the unexpected adventure deter us from enjoying Greek hospitality and most excellent cooking.

Today and tomorrow I am working, and Saturday we will be dedicated to playing tourist. Next week it’s back to Haifa, with a detour to Tel-Aviv University on Tuesday evening where I will be giving the Turtles talk to the local defcon chapter dc9723. Should be an interesting experience with a different crowd than usual — younger and hopefully rowdier 🙂

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