Monday, May 4, 2009

And I say yes I do yes

It is really freaking easy to get lost in Athens. And that's if you have a decent sense of direction, which I don't. The Greeks aren't real big on signage, as evidenced by the professional placard we encountered while fumbling toward the Acropolis on our first day.

And that, as we were soon to find out, was one of the *clearer* signs in Athens.

People who know me well understand that I have a few character traits that just ain't gonna change. 1) I have the most backward internal compass in the world. I do believe the term directionally retarded has been used in more than one instance, probably not unfairly. 2) Despite evidence to the contrary, I am always absolutely certain that I know exactly where I'm going. 3) And I'm obnoxious about insisting thus. And, last but not least, 4) When I get hungry, I get mean. Not just cranky, not just mutter-under-my-breath snarky. We are talking full on foaming-at-the-mouth-like-a-rabid-dog MEAN.

Which is how, on our first day in Athens, we found ourselves wandering around maze-like streets at 2pm, with maybe 3 hours sleep (out of the last 24) under our belts, starvin' Marvin, with no relief in sight...huh?

Back up a minute, Belvedere. There's at least 4 restaurants on every block in Athens. And half of those restaurants have handsome Greek dudes outside of them, trying to convince you that their souvlaki is the only thing in town worth eating. So what's with the "no relief in sight" bullshit?

Honest, the "no relief in sight" is not bullshit. And this is why. There is no relief because rabid-dog-mean Dana is dragging her resigned and exhausted husband through the Plaka, insistent upon finding the one restaurant she needs to eat at, the one recommended to her by a random hotel employee, the one that her husband insists that we've passed by twice--which of course is crap because she knows exactly where it is--

Yeah, I don't know why the guy married me either.

One hour later, we still haven't found it. And I haven't gotten any nicer. And I think the Karma Gods decided that I needed a little kick in the pants, so we rounded a corner and saw:

Okay, probably only about 3 of you are laughing right now, but it's worth it. Allow me to explain.

I'm a former English teacher, which means I've taken more literature classes than is healthy for any human being and is probably the reason that I'm stark raving mad and have a tenuous grip on reality.

For some reason, damn near every professor my in undergraduate and graduate studies had a love affair with the Irish author James Joyce. "Brilliant," they said. "Complete genius," they said. "The greatest writer of all time, hands down," they said.

I said, "WTF? This guy is totally writing drunk."

But I, diligent student, continued to read Joyce and they, my very learned professors, continued to insist that Joyce was Genius...which resulted in my acute distaste for Joyce.

Seriously, put me on a desert island with nothing but a copy of The Dubliners and I will be roasting my own toes on a spit within 2 days. He makes me that mental and sure, I expect to grapple with Joyce in a classroom or in a coffeehouse or in a pub in Ireland. But that wanker followed me to Greece!

ps: The black and tan and chips were delicious.


  1. Now, I fully understand why we are friends. A. My compass, too is completely broken and assbackwards. B. I get very, very, ferociously cranky when not fed on time and finally, C. I HATE JAMES JOYCE.

  2. That is too funny! Love the beautiful picture of all the white houses. It is just as I imagine Greece. Enjoy!

  3. Oh, tee hee. It's karma, dude!

  4. James Joyce baffles me - I tried but gave up... I guess I'm just not clever enough to understand him...

  5. Forget Joyce and get thee to Psarras' Taverna in Plaka, on the corner of Erotocritou and Erehtheos streets up the steps that lead from the Plaka to the Acropolis. Real Greeks (not just tourists) eat there. Oh, and on the main street of Plaka, Adrianou, is Kostas' souvlaki stand. It's been there since the 50's and closes around 3 pm, when Kostas himself runs out of souvlaki. Enjoy!

  6. Tourist: Could you please tell me how to get to the Acropolis?

    Athens: Go right.

    Tourist: Just...right?

    Athens: Yes, yes. The Acropolis is on the right. See the sign? Opa! (Wait, I think I had a memory flash back to My Big Fat Greek Wedding at the end there.)

    Hope you're having a BLAST!

  7. Shit! Tamar, where were you when I needed you, girl? Athens is long gone,But please stay with me.

    I have to tell you about taboulleh in Athens and the tiny little tomatoes in Santorini...I don't know if you remember this, but when you first moved to NY from Israel, you told me that you never believed that you would ever taste a good tomato, a REAL tomato, ever again.

    And I never knew what you meant until I ate the tomatoes and the melons here. Oh, and the little white eggplants. In Santorini, they fry the tiny, sweet, bite-sized tomatoes...salt them generously and squirt with a little lemon and KA-POW! those suckers just burst in your mouth.

    Still cloudy and windy but not rainy here, and have walked many steps to get to dinner.

    So glad you girls are here with me.

  8. Laughed myself silly over those pictures and your story was brilliant!

    (I too, turn mean mean mean when hungry... I swear it involves horns, a tail and a freaking pitchfork!)