Monday August 23: And so it begins

I had fully intended to wake up early to start learning the ropes from Sofia but my sleep-deprived body had other ideas.  The 19 hours of traveling plus already being low on sleep from finals and packing in London did a number on me—I slept for about 14 hours and napped for a few more during the day.  A cool shower when I woke up around 10am was amazing.  I’m convinced that the greatest things in a traveler’s life are freshly brushed teeth, a shower, and a decent place to lay one’s head.  Post shower, Sofia introduced me to the tasks I’d be doing each day—cleaning and refilling water bowls for all the birds (the hospital specializes in birds) and feeding the non-meat-eating birds.  The hospital has everything from pigeons to flamingos to massive birds of prey and seeing them up close is pretty incredible.  Back in the States, I could never imagine going into enclosures with kestrels, eagles, or peregrine falcons, and yet that’s exactly what I do here.  Pinch me?

Work took about 3 hours and since it was in the heat of the day, I didn’t have much of an appetite afterward.  All I could stomach for the day was some yogurt and peaches…while I’m not complaining, a body needs more than that to get by.  Work was followed with another shower and a long nap.

The wildlife hospital is off of a secondary road between two major towns in Paros.  Walking to the left takes me towards the town of Noussa along with 2 beaches, a bakery, and a supermarket along the way.  Walking to the right for 5k takes me to the town of Parikia, the port, American tourists, and Internet.  When I woke up around 7pm, I walked to the left to get some food from the supermarket and bakery.  It’s about 2 miles to the supermarket and the sun sets around 8pm, meaning that I walked home in the dark.  It was a lovely walk though, lit mostly by the stars and moon since there aren’t many streetlights.  I felt surprisingly safe walking alone at night along an unfamiliar road—I guess that’s Greece for you.

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