Friday, May 30, 2008

Look Good Enough to Eat

It's hunting season and bikini weather is upon us. So time to buff those bodies up to perfection!

I'm into homemade therapies and discovered to my delight that a friend from bellydancing class is too. When we chatted together during break she gave me her recipe for an amazing body scrub that she uses on herself. I made it last night and though I had to resist the urge to eat a spoonful of the mix, my legs are now buffed to perfection.

For a leg scrub you will need:

2 - 3 tablespoons of sugar
one small piece of cinnamon pounded to a coarse powder or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 a teaspoon lemon or orange zest
olive oil


Add the olive oil to the sugar to make a crumbly paste. Add the cinnamon and lemon/orange zest. Mix it all up and scrub it thoroughly over your legs after you have washed and soaped. Rinse off. Your legs will be silky smooth and the sheen of oil left behind will nourish your skin.

Sexy times!

You know, I was told a few times by foreign women living in Athens that it is impossible for foreign women to make female Greek friends. They said that Greek women treated them with such hostility and suspicion that they had found it impossible to form any friendships with them.

Well, this is what I have found: there is a certain broad spectrum of Greek woman who will not ever want to be friends with you. But that's because she won't ever want to be friends with any woman. She views every other woman as a threat and a rival. She has female friends but she doesn't trust them. Such women are paranoid and rude to me and all other women but syrupy sweet to men. Thankfully I never have to mix with them in a social setting because not even Mr Zeus's female friends, who I count as my own, are like that.

The only place I regularly come into contact with Greek women outside of Mr Zeus's social circle is bellydancing class. Here, the girls welcomed me from the start. They were friendly to me and curious about where I was from. They took me under their wing and never once made me feel like I was any less than them. Am I friends with them? I'd like to think so. Am I good friends with them? No, but that's my own fault because I let the language barrier stop me from calling them up and arranging meetings outside of class so we can know each other better. I plan to work on this, because these are personalities I would feel disappointed to let out of my life.

At the end of the day, people in Athens react to you mostly the way you react to them. If you are rude, they are rude back. If they extend the hand of friendship and you don't take it, they will stop offering. After all, why should they chase me around to be my best friend if I'm not interested? It's already happened to me and I learnt my lesson.

So in my experience that myth of Greek women not making friends with foreign women has turned out to be totally untrue. Women might not have wanted to be friends with me because I was acting like a snooty cow, not because I am foreign and with one of their men. You take a little, you give a little.

With that in mind, here is the face scrub recipe I gave in return for the body scrub:

You will need:
2 tablespoons of gram flour (source from health shops or the Indian shops off Athinas street)
Rosewater, milk or plain water


Mix the flour and rosewater/milk/water into a thick cream and spread all over your face. Rub it in for five minutes and leave to set. Rinse off. Use rosewater to soften and refresh, milk if you have very dry skin and water if you have normal skin. A really good exfoliant and skin tightener.

So from Asia I give you a lovely face and from Greece I give you gorgeous legs. What more does a girl need?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What to Do with Free Porno CDs

In one year I have transformed from someone who killed anything I touched into a novice gardener. So much so, that it's getting out of control. The first thing I do when I wake up is peer over the balcony to check the levels of molestation my pea plants might have endured the night before. I have to force myself to go to bellydancing class because all I really want to do these days with my evening is pour a glass of ice cold water and poke around amongst my plants, repotting this and weeding that, checking on my sickly lemongrass seedlings and inspecting the growth of my plumeria. I nearly fainted with joy at discovering my first tiny pea pod yesterday. This is the rock and roll life I lead.

So where do the free porno CDs come in? Well, it wasn't some cheap ploy to get people on Google searches redirected to my blog, though God knows plenty of them end up here looking for Big Fat Hairy Naked Greeks.

My pea plants, my babies, have endured a double assault since their first days. Not only are they being attacked by whiteflies, but pigeons regularly enjoy feasting on their tender leaves to the point where half my pea plants are actually no more than little stubby stalks poking out of the ground, and still I water them faithfully hoping for regeneration.

This morning when I did my inspection and found that the pea flower one of my more sickly pea plants had managed to put out in the last few days had served as some hoodlum pigeon's breakfast, it was the last straw.

Since the peas are from organic seeds and have been so far grown in an organic way, I didn't want to use anything chemical. I had read that stringing up CDs and dangling them amongst your plants deters birds because they get freaked out by the light reflection. I raided the DVD cupboard and found some freebie porn CDs which I had kept for Just in Case. Some of the tackier newspaper in Greece give away free soft porn CDs. I don't know why I held on to these, maybe I was planning on making some very sexy coasters. Anyway they were there and would finally be put to good use.

I decided to go one up on just dangling the CDs as they were, and also Mr Zeus grandma uses the garden too and I don't think she's be too impressed with a slow, rotating peep show. I had heard in the past that birds also don't like bullseyes so I printed off some bullseye icons and taped them to the CDs. They are now strung up and I'll let you know if I have any success with the method.

As for the whiteflies, these little guys look so innocent but between them and the pigeons, they are totally wiping out my plants. I read on You Grow Girl that you can either buy yellow fly paper or make your own by coating a piece of yellow plastic with oil. Whiteflies like yellow and will get stuck to the oil.

I cut up a yellow plastic bag yesterday and covered a square with oil. And do you know what? It actually works! This morning there are lots of whiteflies trapped in the oil.

To those of you not the least bit interested in gardens, I apologise. It's just that I love my plants so very much! They are the perfect outlet for my mothering instincts.
UPDATE: The porno CDs didn't work at all, which just goes to show that no good can come of free soft porn. Instead my peas look ready to get married as I've drapped them all in white net. Seems to work.

Image: Bollybutton's skillful photoshopping from:, and

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How to Waste Your Time

I have never dyed my hair except for having streaks put in. And even that I've only done three times in my whole life. I've never liked chemical hair dyes with good reason.

But being a woman of the East, I have spent many an afternoon with my hair caked in henna and when my Turkish friend A went to Istanbul, I asked her if she could bring me some fresh henna. Summer is here at last and I felt it was time for a change. Henna is not only one of the best conditioning treatments around for hair, but it is also a completely safe and natural product, so safe you could use it on a baby, and leaves your hair with an orangey red tint most visible under the sun. The lighter your hair the more obvious the results, and hence the many grannies in the Home Country with bright orange hair. Forget the blue rinse, ladies, orange is where it's at!

A's visit to henna my hair turned into an impromptu dinner party. Our guests watched as she expertly mixed the green powder with warm water and olive oil. You are supposed to add an egg too but I didn't have any. The process began with me in an old T shirt and a towel spread on the bathroom floor, and with all the masses and masses of hair I have, poor A was at my place till 1 am coating all my hair with henna paste. Mr Zeus complained about the smell and A told him that if he wants to be with a woman of the East he has to get used to it.

It's funny, even men and boys in the Home Country don't like the smell of henna. It's a product used pretty much exclusively by women and girls to mark happy occasions, so for the females, the smell of henna is one of the most joyous and comforting smells around, invoking memories of happy times and celebrations. But men are so averse to it that rumour has it that brides wear henna for their wedding to keep their amorous new husbands away!

Mr Zeus's friend T said the green paste in my hair was nice, almost like a mermaid effect. What imagination he must have since henna looks alarmingly like a cow pat. I'm so glad that A was able to come to my place or else I would have had to have gone to her and then ride the public transport back home with what looks like cow pat in my hair.

I wrapped my hair in a plastic bag and went to sleep with an old bed sheet over the pillow in case of leaks in the night. The next morning I woke up early and began the long process of rinsing all that henna out of all my hair, and I'm really happy with the results. The Turkish henna has left the hair of this Asian girl living in Athens looking really shiny and infused with a warm red glow.

So henna was a good thing to do with my time. What was a really bad thing to do, the worst in fact, was for me to waste my day off yesterday going to Ikea alone.

I had a day off yesterday because it was a public holiday in the UK and I'd really been looking forward to it. I imagined all the useful and creative things I could do. I rattled around the flat for a while packing away winter clothes (yay!) before I reached a decision. I would go to the new Ikea and pick up fabrics to give our living room a facelift. What a good idea it seemed at the time.

Off I went. I took the metro up to Aegalio and then I was supposed to get the 829 up to Bravo. I got off the metro and found the bus stop but no route map for the 829. Never mind, it was a one way street so where else could the bus go? To the end of the line, that's where, leaving me to walk through a residential area back to the main road and backtrack to the metro station. Thank heaven for my excellent sense of direction.

Back at the metro and not wanting to get lost again, I asked a periptero guy how far Ikea was on foot. "Do you see that bridge over there?" he asked, pointing to a 10 minute distance (I'm sorry I can't estimate distances in units like meters, only the time it would take me to walk them), "You go up to the bridge and turn right, then it's that much distance also on the other side." Okay, so a 20 minute walk. That was doable.

Periptero guy was wrong though. When I turned right and ended up on a motorway, I walked and walked. No Ikea in sight. I walked some more. I kept walking, all the while cursing how non pedestrian friendly Athens is. Everyone parks on the foot path and I was forced onto the motorway itself. "Oh God, what if I get hit by a car? Cause of death: Foreign girl on Foolish Ikea expedition."

After what seemed like forever, two and a half hours after I left my house, I arrived at Ikea and by then I was so pissed off that I spent 20 minutes buying a few bits and pieces before leaving again.

By the time I got home again it was 5.30. I had left home at 1.30. I had wasted my much longed for day off and in the end the fabrics at Ikea weren't even that nice, I should have just gone to the city centre where I know the shops and how to get to them.

I am especially blessed when it comes to pointless expeditions, no one does them like me. My sister curses me whenever I'm in London for dragging her off on things that should take 5 minutes but consume most of the day. Sometimes I even send her on pointless quests without even being with her by asking her to meet me at a metro station and getting the names mixed up so she ends up on the other side of London shouting at me down the phone that no, Mansion House and Manor House are not the same metro stop.

My pointless quests are born from a special combination of a stupid idea mixed with a very strong stubborn streak (I said I was going to get to Ikea, and God help me I will), dogged determination (I will get to Ikea if it's the last thing I do), a little bit of self torture (Poor me walking along on the motorway like a lost cow in this heat ... I deserve it) and of course the most important ingredient of all, boundless hope (If I walk for another 5 minutes, Ikea is bound to be there...Ok if I walk for another 10 minutes, I'm sure Ikea will be around the corner... this must be the last street before Ikea, I'm sure of it...)

Ikea on your day off. Bad idea.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Wow Wow Wow WOW

When Kylie got diagnosed with breast cancer a few years back, I kicked myself for not shelling out for one of her concerts. If anything happened to her, there went my chance of ticking 'Kylie Concert' off my list of things to do before I die. Thankfully she pulled through and when I found out she was playing in Athens, not a force on this earth could have stopped me from going. If I had come down to my last few euros and a choice between food or the Kylie concert, I would have still gone for Kylie.

Last night I went to the Kylie Minogue concert in the Terra Vibe stadium. The ticket arrangement was a little weird - I'm someone who likes to elbow my way to the very front at concerts, and having purchased a EUR 100 ticket as a treat for myself, I found myself in a designated area to the side of the main concert stage. Bizarre! But I later discovered that being on this slope gave you a great view of the concert as a whole package, albeit from a sideways angle.

I had made my way down to the sidelines of the stage to be as close as possible to the stage, but when Kylie appeared, all I could see was the backs of peoples' heads, so I returned to the slopes where I could see better. Just as a note to the organisers, I do still believe that EUR 100 should buy you a prime spot right in front of the stage. Keep it in mind next time!

What a concert though. Today my arms are busted from clapping so much and I was on a mission to lose my voice from singing. Feel sorry for those around me, my singing voice is like a cat being dangled off a cliff by its balls. It was Kylie's first concert in Greece and her first time in Greece too. I wish she was doing more than one date, I would have gone again tonight!

Talent wise, there are many artists who are better than Kylie. But I love her for the same reason I love Bollywood. She's glitzy, glamorous and fun. The sequins! The glitter! The lighting! Plus as I was able to confirm for myself last night that she sings live, and sings live very well. Which is more than anyone can say for that talentless old hag Madonna who charges stupid prices for fans to watch her mime and do yoga on stage.

She's also very tuned in to her audience and dedicated a whole section of the stage show to her huge gay following. I think all of Athens' gay community must have been there last night! Before the concert I watched as straight couples embraced, kissed, held hands, and I hope that one day Athens becomes tolerant enough for the obvious gay couples around me to do the same. We really take our freedom to express our affection for the one we love in public for granted.

Anyway, her concert was an audio visual feast and the energy was amazing. She closed her encore with I Should Be So Lucky, and all us kids of the 80s sang along at the top of our lungs with our memories of bubble perms, Neighbours and Kylie Minogue cassette tapes. Remember those?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An exhibition everyone should see

And I mean everyone. Yesterday evening I went downtown for the opening of a photographic exhibition that focused on ethnicity and humanity in Greece. It was mind blowing. I can't describe how beautiful the photographs were, so I urge you to go see them for yourselves.

Exclude Social Exclusion by Understanding, Learning, Participating
Photo Exhibition
May 19th - 26th, 2008
Monday to Sunday (11.00am - 2.00pm and 18.00pm -23.00pm)
Kypseli Municipal Market
Negri Fokionos 42

Participants : Dimitris Theodossis

Maro Kouri
Cassi Moghan
Nikianna Sianou
Iakovos Hatzistavrou

Entrance is free, yes, it will cost you nothing but a little bit of your time to see the amazing work that these people have done. To get there, I took the metro up to Omonia and then a taxi ride to the venue which was EUR 2.80. But alternatively, you can get on a bus from 28th October street in the direction away from Omonia square. I can't tell you the name of the stop so while you are on the bus, track the building numbers that pass on your right. Get off when you get to either Cinema Aello or building 144. From there you can walk to Negri Fokionos in a few minutes.
If you click on the map to enlarge it, I've tried to show the directions.

Go discover the colours of the city we live in!

Image: Copyright Maro Kouri

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sinus Busting Curry

Me and pretty much everyone I know lately has been suffering from some kind of blocked sinuses, cold, sore throat or suchlike. I don't know what it is. I blame the hesitant summer. One day it's blazing hot, then it's raining, then it's cloudy and muggy, then it's clear but windy. No full on summer so far, and we wait.

After waking up at 4 am today for a sneeze fest, I am taking action. I present you with my sinus busting curry, guaranteed to melt away stuffy noses, stuffy anything in fact, from the top end to the bottom of your body.

Ingredients (makes 1 curry)

6 prawns
1/4 teaspoon corriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 a dried birdseye chilli (the hottest you can get) alternatively 1/4 tsp chilli powder
3 curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon tumeric powder
1/2 a small onion, sliced
1/2 a small tomato, chopped in big chunks
1 tablespoon Fage yoghurt
one small clove of garlic, finely chopped
salt to taste

Pound the corriander, cumin and dry chilli into a coarse powder. Fry the onions with some oil until they begin to brown and throw in all the dry spices and salt. Fry for a few minutes, don't allow to burn. Add the prawns, garlic and the tomato. Stir and cook until tomatos start to fall apart. Remove from heat and add the yoghurt. Stir in until dissolved and return to a low heat. Bubble for a few minutes until thick. Serve hot with pita or boiled rice.

It should be orange coloured and it should burn like hell (na kaei tou thanatou). I'm eating mine now - I'm sweating but I can breathe again!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tall Tales

I sometimes wonder, if our heads hadn't been so filled with propaganda about what a relationship is supposed to be like, would we feel disillusioned? Magazines, movies, books, TV, they all set out what It was Supposed To Be Like. And no matter how hardened you are to the messages, they become deeply embedded in the female psyche.

So would it be different if our minds hadn't been constantly bombarded with great love stories, impossible romance, impossible bodies and moon-howlingly good sex?

Then I realised that no. It would change nothing. Because even if you erased every relationship related piece of info from the 20th Century, we would still have fairytales. The lie of what relationships are like began way, way back.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone re-wrote all the fairytales in a more realistic context?

"Cinderella woke up one morning feeling particularly pissed off. She got out of bed, brushed her lovely blonde hair and slipped on her glass flip flops (the ones for inside the house). She groaned miserably as she realised she'd forgotten last night's laundry in the machine. Now it would be smelling musty and she'd have to do it all over again. As if the Kingdom wasn't suffering enough environmental problems without her wasteful ways!

Tackling the remnants of Prince Charming's midnight chess games, she grumbled angrily to herself. Goblets, platters, golden knives and forks so carelessly strewn everywhere. Why, she had spent most of yesterday cleaning the West Wing and now it was a royal mess again. Prince Charming could be such an ass sometimes.

As she was thinking this, Prince Charming appeared merrily at the doorway. 'Good morning!' he chimed. 'What a lovely morning in our Kingdom!'

Control yourself thought Cinderella, it's too early in the morning for a fight. But she couldn't help it. Her hormones were all over the place lately and before she knew it, she was saying things that not even her fairy godmother could take back on her behalf.

'Oh a good morning is it? For who? I certainly didn't get any last night, did you?'

Prince Charming's dazzling perfect smile disappeared. He was aghast and stared at Cinderella.

'Is that how you say goodmorning?' he enquired.

'Why do you look so surprised! You don't take me out, we haven't been to any balls since Snow White got married and that was two months ago. And look at this place! I don't work my fingers to the bone for you to mess it up again, I did enough of that for my ugly sisters!'

'Maybe if you had grown the pair of balls you so love using to crush me with earlier, you wouldn't have had all those years of oppression from them! Frankly I think you just liked being the victim!'


'But you hate them!'

'I don't care!!!! They are not the issue here Prince Charming!'

'Okay whatever, Cinderella. When you're done having your period, call me and we'll talk. I'm going to have coffee with Rumplestilskin.

'Come back here!' *Slam*

Cinderella was seething now, but upset with herself also. She really shouldn't have gone off on one like that. Especially when Prince Charming looked so adorable in his dashing uniform. Which he wore all the time, even to bed.

She wished she could call someone to talk about her problems. But the Fairy Godmother had moved to a far away kingdom to get her Phd and her friendly forest creatures were all busy with their babies. She sighed as she sat by the West Wing's window. It would be another evening of tears, talking things through and trying again. At least she knew that they loved each other and would work things through. She just wished someone had told her there is no such thing as Happily Ever After"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Blog for Human Rights

Today is Bloggers Unite for Human Rights. I began running through a list of human rights issues to highlight here and the list grew and grew and grew, until I realised I couldn't possibly shine a strong enough light on the problems faced by our fellow human beings. Torture, rape, trafficking, war, starvation, humiliation, not knowing how or where your day will end, not knowing how many of your children will make it through childhood, not knowing where the bullets come from, not knowing if the checkpoints will let you get to a hospital in time, nourishing and cherishing your land only to watch it get snatched away, being told the place you lived, the streets you grew up on, are no longer yours and have had a border drawn through them.

Every day, everywhere, we humans seem to go out of our way to hurt each other. Why? Don't we all, in the end, come from the same place?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

26 and Putting Pen to Paper

Inspired by the Autograph Collector's blog, which invites you to submit a blog post, hand written in Greek, here is my offering. After much conjugating and dictionary trawling, I think what I have managed to say is:

"Yesterday evening I went out wearing a beautiful lace sari. And everyone looked at me like I was a UFO. It's okay, if you think about it I am an alien.

Sorry for my Greek. I'll get beats if Mr Zeus sees all the mistakes I make. Don't tell him!"

Maybe I should have put together something more profound. But you know when you think about something for ages and when you finally say it, nonsense comes out? Sort of the same.

I'm supposed to tag 5 people but really I think everyone should do this. If you're not sure you can use an online translator. People will get what you mean to say.... I hope...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Petrol Crisis? What Petrol Crisis?

EllasDevil on his blog has highlighted Athens' current lack of fuel which has meant that petrol pumps up and down the country have run totally dry. The unthinkable has happened. Athenians are being forced to walk short distances! To walk! They never do that! Walking when you could have been driving turns your bleach blond hair black again and makes all the hair on your chest fall off. I kid, I kid!

But did the lack of petrol stop people being out in force in their cars these last few days? Did it hell! I took a walk yesterday evening and noticed next to no reduction in the number of cars on the main road. So long as the people who really needed the fuel were getting it, like ambulances and food transporters, I thought the strike would be a good thing and would finally force the drivers of Athens into the city's admirable public transport system.

But no! Public transport, didn't you know, is the reserve of the poor and the foreign. No car owner would be caught dead on it.

The Greeks and their cars are totally inseparable. A few years back the government tried to cut back on downtown congestion by allowing even number plated cars to drive on one day and odd on the other. That should have cut the congestion by about 50% in theory, right? All it did was make everyone run out and buy a second car, so they had one even and one odd. Genius!

I've also noticed and failed to understand the large numbers of gigantic cars in Athens. It's a really badly planned city with tiny, winding roads. Therefore it makes sense to have a compact city car that's easy to move around and easy to park. Heck no! I want to show off how much money I earn, or at least make my neighbours jealous and give the impression that that's how much money I earn. So I'll buy a huge black SUV and park it poking off the sidewalk and halfway into the road. So what if it's too big to negotiate tight corners? So what if I'm actually too small to be in control of such a car and send it juddering around into everyone's path? It's my right to be a pain in your ass, and I want to be a really big pain in your ass with my really big car.

Logic. That's a Greek word.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Boys Are Stupid!!!

Reading Hope's blog and battling with my own personal frustrations, I put on a T shirt this morning that I bought when I got dumped by my first
boyfriend after a short and extremely confusing liaison. It says "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" and it still stands today.

Really, boys, what is with you? We're not that hard to operate you know! Read this article, this guy worked out exactly what women want from his 2 year old niece. READ IT!! It really is that simple you morons!!!! Man I wish I could go into details but I can't because I'm not one to discuss such matters out in the open. Suffice to say if you dropped by to pay me a visit you'd probably find me getting rid of cobwebs in lofty corners to garner something positive out of all this wall climbing I'm doing lately. Or doing the world a favour and saving water by doing my laundry with my tears of frustration.

Oh I can't blame it all on men. It's my fault too. As of late I've entered one of my temporary depressive phases as I've realised that maybe at My Age, it's time to let go of some of my more whacky life ambitions. One lifetime won't be enough to do them. One lifetime won't even be enough to do the serious ambitions I have.

With a heavy heart, this is what I am resigning to the scrap heap. Some of these are decades old, some are more recent. All of them were things that a part of me really believed I'd do at one time or another:

1. Be America's Next Top Model. On weekends in London I used to walk around, walking tall, in case a half-blind model scout with no sense of height perception spotted me and decided I would be the next big thing. Swan around in clothes all day for money, how easy. I could do that! I could have done that! I'll never do it.

2. Be a top latin dance star. There is nothing in the world that gives me a sense of release (well, at least lately) like dancing does. Most peoples' lasting memory of me from uni days is That Girl Who Was Always Dancing. I can't watch dance competitions without my adrenaline shooting through the roof. "I could so do that!" I say to myself. I've been saying that since I was 19. Now I'm nearly 26. I never bothered taking the salsa lessons. It's probably too late to start now. Still, perhaps I'll buy myself the costumes to wear. I only really ever wanted to do it for those amazing costumes.

3. Be editor of the Guardian. I love to write. But I don't love it enough to make it my entire focus 24/7. Hence the Guardian editorship shall never be mine.

4. Get chased by famous people wanting to be my friend, I mean begging to be pals with me. Give me a break, like I said some of these are really old ambitions.

5. Becoming really good friends with someone who I had no idea was world famous. It seemed like fun at the time.

6. Learn Persian and Arabic. One of the two might be possible, but there's next to no chance of me having the time or motivation to learn both. I can't even speak Greek properly yet!

7. Start singing one day and people to say to me, "Wow, Bollybutton, you're an amaaaazing singer." I can't sing at all, I'm not being modest. One's ambitions should not overshoot one's abilities.

8. Be an astronaut. I love the stars, the universe, the galaxies and curse my total incompetence at maths. Maybe I could have realised that ambition. So instead I'll get myself shot out into space when I die. Good compromise, no?

Remember when we were little, if someone asked us what we'd like to do when we grow up, we rattled off four or five options which we planned on doing all at the same time, and it seemed totally logical. All that time and possibility stretched before you. Where does it all go?


Friday, May 09, 2008

Birthday List

It's my last Friday as a 25 year old. Last night I went out with my sister and some friends and made a hot mess of myself with a cocktail and a tequila shot. No one was impressed by my lack of drinking ability, but the laugh was on them when I woke up this morning feeling a bit rough but hangover free.
In tribute to my waning days on the right side of 25, here is my birthday wishlist in no particular order:
1. A surprise birthday party. I've been hinting at this ever since last year when Mr Zeus said he'd throw me a beach party for my next birthday. I see no evidence of either a beach party or a surprise birthday party. Men don't get hints. I should have just said "Mr Zeus, throw me a surprise birthday party please." Oh well, a girl can dream, right?
2. A one year supply of regular date nights, preferably involving dancing, or even just walks on the beach.
3. Someone to come in and get rid of all the clutter in our tiny one-person flat. I'd love to wake up and find a minimalist flat one day. I'd love to actually throw things away rather than bump them down to the basement. Damn Occupation Syndrome.
4. A secret admirer. Because every woman should have one of those.
5. A not so secret admirer. Because while secret admirers are good to have, not so secret admirers are better because they tell you they adore you. I'm being selfish but this is a fantasy birthday wishlist. I'd like an admirer to worship me and shower me with compliments and the occasional present.
6. A funky new haircut for the summer. Won't happen, because hairdressers don't invent funky haircuts for curly haired people. Fiends. 
7. Free reign of the roads in Athens. I'd like to actually use my driver's licence instead of just look at it. 
8. Satellite TV. I'm not entirely sure how great an idea that is seeing as when I'm in the UK I can flick through 100 channels and still find nothing worth watching. It's just that I've watched so many Jean Claude Van Dam movies in Athens because that's the only thing in English on TV on particular nights.
9. I would like 15 events this year to which I can wear my dazzling rainbow of saris and traditional clothes. In the UK I could hardly ever wear my trad rags because of a. lack of events b. terrible weather. In Athens, I can't wear them due to lack of social awareness. Whenever I pull out something for a wedding, for example, I'm advised not to wear it because my strange exotic clothes will drag attention away from the bride. Grrr! Get over it!
10. A TV show which involves lots of really hot guys parading around doing pointless things while wearing sequined thongs. I want equality on our screens. Show me some creativity, people. Enough with all the blonde semi-naked ladies on Greek TV from dawn till dusk. Balance the equation a little.
11. A delicious Indian takeaway to open right next door.
12. Fresh corriander to become available in all the laikis and supermarkets.
13. To see all my friends again, together in one place.
14. More tea. I ran out.

Get fish-slapping on Messenger! Play Now

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Greek Easter Part 2 and Kalo Mina

First of May! Whoop, whoop! We're in Bollybutton's birthday month! Incidentally, you may wish to know that Home Countryish for month is mahina. Mina, mahina, same thing.

Here's Part 2 of my Greek Easter 2008. I'm starting to love Greek Easter. The days before hand have such an air of anticipation. It almost feels like festivals Back Home. The whole country is gearing up, preparing, soul reflecting and cooking in anticipation for the big day.

In Greece, red eggs are an integral part of Easter. At midnight on Easter, you play a game with them whereby everyone takes an egg and takes turns knocking egg to egg, small end to small end or big end to big end until there is one unbroken egg standing and that's the winner. The prize is... nothing. Maybe a nice egg salad later.

Mr Zeus's mum brought me a packet of red powder dye and gave me instructions on how to make the eggs. Your eggs need to be at room temperature so the heat shock of boiling them doesn't make them crack open. Then you fill a pot with enough water to cover the eggs, lay a kitchen towel in the bottom of the pan and lay the eggs on top of this. The towel stops the eggs from knocking against each other and breaking. You now bring the pan to a very gentle boil on a low heat setting. When you're satisfied that the water is boiling, leave them for about 10 minutes.

Remove the eggs and cool until you can handle them. Check for cracked eggs and remove these because the dye is meant for the outside of the egg and it's probably not good for you to eat it. In one small half glass of red vinegar, dissolve one packet of dye and stir well. Fill a pan with enough hot water to cover all your eggs. The water should be hot but not uncomfortably hot or boiling. Pour the vinegar and dye into the pan with the water and stir, stir, stir!

Next, you lower the eggs into the pan so that they're covered with the red liquid. DON'T drop them in because you'll crack them. Now here is why it's important that you have enough water to cover the eggs completely, they need to soak undisturbed. I didn't, and proceeded to poke and prod my eggs continuously to make sure they were getting enough dye and ended up leaving my red eggs scratched and scarred from the spoon. Leave your eggs to dye for 3 minutes, then remove and leave to dry on kitchen paper.

Finally, take a napkin, dab it with olive oil and polish up the eggs so they look shiny and nice. You can buy egg dye that comes with polishing liquid but I didn't use this because it's some kind of skin irritant and flammable... not sure I wanted to rub it all over a food item. Olive oil was advised by FMIL and I was happy to stick to that.

My first Easter red eggs are not a bad effort despite a few scratches. But next year they'll be PERFECTION, wait and see.

Another first as I mentioned was my first May Catcher. After gorging yourself on Easter Sunday, it's customary to take a walk picking the wildflowers that blanket Greece at this time of year and weaving them into a wreath to hang on your door. The wreath is supposed to 'catch' May and bring it to your house. I've never seen anyone do this, but I'd heard of it and wanted to carry out this tradition.

My wreath is an artistic construction of two shades of purple wildflower as the base accented with little yellow and pink flowers and seven stunning red poppies. It's not just etsi kai etsi, it's fabulous and it's my first ever so I'm pretty proud of it!

Other things I did on Easter was the usual routine of getting to 11.45 pm and running around in a mad panic arming everyone with candles to go to Church, badly dressed as always. We were late and just missed them setting an effigy of Judas on fire. But at least we got our candles lit. Then everyone did a u-turn, piled back in the car and went home to eat. Mr Zeus made a cross on the doorway with candle soot, we played the egg cracking game and I turned the eggs into a salad while the magaritsa was dished up.

Magaritsa is a soup of liver, kidneys, lungs etc. with spring onions and lemon and egg, naturally! It tends to be hit and miss from year to year. Last year it was delicious, this year it was nothing to write home about. I don't like food finished with egg and lemon because I find it overpowers everything else and all I can taste is lemon. My future in laws love lemon and lots of it. They put kilos of the stuff on all their food but on small scale cooking for me they leave a bit with no lemon. Can't be picky at Easter though! Imagine magaritsa with fried onions and garlic, cumin, fresh coriander and chilli powder, left to simmer gently all day... mmmmmm.

After eating you go to bed to prepare for the following day of lamb turning, lamb turning, cooking, matriarchs-in-the-kitchen dodging and eating and eating and talking and talking. It's exhausting, it's stress full, it's greasy and smokey and it's also crazy fun. Greek Easter - the birthplace of competitive eating.