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  • Somehow, I seem to have fallen into a cat lady vacation. At a certain age and of a certain marital status, assumptions are made. Four single women? In or near their 40s? Tsk, tsk.

    Sometimes, it seems, those assumptions are true. Three of the four of us are cat owners. And then, there's me. I don't touch the things; cats make breathing hard.

    After many hours of travel and very little sleep, in sight of the Acropolis at the very beginning of our very first day, just steps shy of the gate, we stopped to watch cats lazing in the sun on top of a car. Mewling sounds were made on the part of my travel partners as I read my travelbook.

    The cats seemed well loved, fat, clean, and healthy in so much as I could tell such things about cats. For a very long while, we watched them play on the roof before they leapt to follow the woman who brought them treats. (If not for her, we might have stayed forever at the side of that street.)

    Greece is filled with cats. They lurk on every corner, on doorjambs, and window sills. They wander among the tables during breakfast at the hotel, and they dart for the doors to bedrooms whenever they're left open. For the past three nights, two of my travelmates brought at least one (sometimes two) into their hotel room to spend the night. I shared a room with the third and kept the door closed. With rickety stairs up to the bed, I ended up on the couch for three nights. I longed for some of the comfort those cats found.

    Most of the time, two of my travelmates carry bits of meals in their pockets to share with the animals - bacon, lamb, octopus. Random dogs have started barking and following. At one point, someone suggested a driveby baconing of a dog in a cage; the dumpster-diving cat didn't seem to be out yet.

    One of the group asked about the source of a restaurant's decorations and whether she might be able to speak to the owner. Our server looked up nervously, seeming to wonder whether she should trust her English and understanding and wondering whether she should trust us. I smiled.

    "She wants to buy the pillow," I said.

    She sighed with relief.

    "I will ask."

    I smiled again and thanked the woman in Greek.

    She disappeared for a while to talk to the owner and came back to apologize. He was busy. He liked his things. He couldn't sell, and the artist, his cousin, wasn't available. My friend almost gave up, but I asked for a number, an email, a website, for something so my friend could buy a cat pillow or painting.

    Our timing's been thrown by the need to stop for cat figurines, cat earrings, pillows, and plates, and to scratch behind random ears. We almost missed wine, sunset, and photos in search of a purrfect souvenir in an Oia shop.

    "No time like the present!"

    "Indeed," I thought as I watched the sun dip lower in the sky and the smiles on my friends' faces. "There is no time like the present."

    The sun would set with or without use to rise and set again again during my crazy cat lady vacation. I had plenty of time.
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