Saturday, August 27, 2005

%@!*ing Euro

I'm not someone who parades around cursing and swearing, but even I couldn't help but giggle over the bountiful ways in which the Greeks insult themselves, each other and other nations. Four letter expletives are sprinkled liberaly over all conversations like lemon juice to a main meal. F**k features everywhere, f**k you, f**k your family, f**k your house. W****r is also used in a casual sense, between friends as in "Hey w****r how're you doing?" "Long time no see, w****r!" I don't know how that came about, but no one seems upset about it, unless you say it with a certain emphasis. I need to improve my language skills to be able to understand the melodious string of insults that flows forth at even the simplest of mishaps, it's hilarious. But my personal favourite is a timeless classic. Lest you dare forget that Greece is the best nation in the world ever (only Greeks are allowed to comment on any of its crap aspects) when watching international news reports of, say, the UK or US trying to tell the world what to do, your average Greek might delight you by saying with utmost sincerity:
When we were building the Acropolis you were still living in caves


Thursday, August 25, 2005

We'll always have Athina...

As the sad day of my departure draws closer, today's blog is dedicated to all the things I will miss once I am deposited back on the unfortunate shores of the UK.

Bug Eye Sunglasses:
To the modern Athenian woman, these are as much a part of being a woman as bras and lipstick. Oh the advantages of looking unbercool while gazing at any part of anyone's anatomy undiscovered. I will miss them.

Nai nai nai... yes my delicious snack, no more shall you delight my tastebuds in the early hours of a warm summer dawn after a night of socialising. You, the true souvlaki, are so abused, mutated and corrupted in the UK that I spent three years of my student life thinking what a great deal I was getting. No more. I can never touch another souvlaki again unless it's in Greece.

The Acropolis:
I pass it every day on the bus when I'm going downtown and only a few days ago it hit me just how luck I was to be seeing the Acropolis every day. In the middle of all the modern craziness of Athens, it's like a monument to serene greatness. I love it. It sure beats crappy views of run down bits of London on buses which threaten to explode at any given moment.

Venture to any metro station or random street corner and you're bound to find a koulouri stand selling rings of sesame coated, bready delight to fend off hunger pangs and stuff into the mouths of screaming children. At 50 cents each they're a great way to get rid of spare change. The secret ingredient is the film of pollution covering each one. Mmmm....

Olive oil:
I'm spoiled for life now. I can never again buy olive oil from a supermarket after the heavenly oils I've sampled in Greece. Fruity indeed.

Devil-may-care attitude to life:
I will miss this most of all. The Greeks like no one else I've ever seen really squeeze every last drop out of what life has to offer and don't apologise for it. Two days ago I was going downtown on a bus when I noticed a man chasing the bus on his scooter blowing kisses to a woman on board, and it struck me as a highly romantic gesture, the sort of thing you do when you're all dolce vitad up. The Greeks have fun, the flirt, they laugh, they get angry, shout and scream, kiss and make up, complain about the Euro, take out bank loans on the pretext of building a house which they then go shopping to Kolonaki with, the men are men and the women exude feminity without feeling threatened by it. Perhaps all this combined is why they live so long.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I almost forgot to mention my biggest triumph of the year. I went shopping to the Athens sales.

And how! Three pairs of very nice jeans for €5 each! And they fit like a dream. One is white full length, the other is white cropped and the third is super fun with colourful stripes and a studded waistband with holes, meaning you have to go commando to wear them.

A small price to pay for looking so good. So that's why women in Athens look so good, the pay is crap here thanks to the Euro, but clothes are so cheap it costs nothing to make an effort! Hooray! Now I have new threads and my hair doesn't look like the woman in this picture. Life keeps getting more and more perefct.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sweet, sugary goodness

There's this singer, right. His name is Sarbel. I can't find a good enough picture online to do him justice but my oh my, what a lovely piece of work he is.

Half Greek, half Lebanese, born on the 14th of May 1982 JUST LIKE ME! His parents still live in London and he's pursuing a musical career in Athens. Hmmmm... there's a hobby to keep me busy on crappy winter nights back in London, hunt down where Sarbel's parents are and deposit myself on their doorstep.

He sings a song with a chorus line that translates to "Save a piece of yourself for me, like chocolate"

Sarbel, my dear man, if you are reading this, why ask for a piece when the entire bar is right here waiting for you.

Let the fur fly!

Okay, I know this blog is all about my summer in Athens and stuff, but how many times can I rub all your noses in my trips to desolate beaches where the only light at night is the complete band of the Milky Way across a shooting-star streaked sky? Or about how I learnt to swim in warm waters where I could see the fish right to the bottom? Or my beautiful tan? Or the great food? You get the idea. So once in a while I shall deviate, and today is one of those days.

Today I'd like to draw attention to these six stick insects, the Pussycat Dolls. They've released a song called "Don't Cha" which basically entails the chorus "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"

Heck, yes! There isn't a man alive who would say no to that question, and if he does it's only because you his partner are hovering over his head with a shoe, either that or he's gay. Personally, I'd die of shock if you could find me a hot blooded man who would say "No my dear, I do not in fact wish you were hot like her." And where does that leave mere mortals like you and me?

Well, I confess that they're ruining my life is a bit of an exaggeration. I too enjoy a dance along to their pretty danceable tune. But come on ladies, did you really have to ask such a sore question and beam it across hundreds of nations to the ears of thousands of men? Mark my words, this song is responsible for the disintegration of many a relationship.

Thanks for nothing, Pussycat Dolls!


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

For God's sake, where is the frappe!!

I just got back after spending 17 days in Spain with three Greeks. The thing which I learnt is never to separate a Greek from their frappe. Bless their little hearts, necessity really is the mother of all inventions. Here's what to do if you find yourself caught out without an ample supply of cafes where skinny waitresses can serve you endless frappes:

  1. 1) Locate your nearest coffee shop
  2. 2) Have ready with you an empty water bottle. If you don't, buy a water bottle and tip its contents down a drain
  3. 3) Through elaborate sign language, acquire one glass, a few sachets of sugar, a few sachets of coffee, a straw, a glass of ice water and a little milk (optional)
  4. 4) Pour sugar, coffee and a little water into the empty water bottle you have prepared.
  5. 5) Shake bottle vigorously until you have a creamy light brown concoction
  6. 6) Pour mixture into empty glass
  7. 7) Top up with ice water, a little milk and a straw
  8. 8) Enjoy
  9. 9) Compliment your invention loudly so that the Spanish get an idea of what they're missing

10) Complain to each other about how bad the coffee is outside Greece

Ten out of ten for getting around the problem. Oh, and as good as Spain was, I agree that Greek olives are head and shoulders above theirs.