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February 16, 2009

Does this count as begging? What about this?

February 16. Day 231.

I could say, once again, that I asked for directions.

It's true. I did. As we were searching for our new hotel in Athens, a few wrong turns led us to a different part of town. I took it upon myself to boldly find the way.

"Heferefontos? Heferefontos 16?" I asked left and right, holding out a piece of paper with the hotel's address.

For a reason I couldn't fathom, people were turning away or recoiling rather than stopping to help.

"Why did that lady run away?"

"She probably thinks you're begging," Mr. A suggested.


"Think about it. You're rushing up to people, shoving a piece of paper into their faces and mumbling something."

"Oh my God."

Eventually we found the hotel, with and without help from locals at various intersections.

But that pales in comparison to the new low (or high?) I've reached with today's other asking...

After Mr. A's five-star stay for the conference, and our modest selection on the island (basically the only place with a bed), the hotel we chose in Athens on the last night was on the cheap side, since we were only planning to spend a few hours there before heading to the airport at 2 a.m. It was essentially a place to drop off the bags and take a shower. The idea was to find something very well situated, and skip the extra stars.

Hotel Adams was basic. Crabby receptionist. Not exactly gleaming. Not updated in 30 years, it seemed. But around the corner from an amazing little piazza.

And no shampoo.

For Mr. A, that's no problem -- he can use regular soap, or lye for all I know. He's resistant that way.

I have long, soft hair that loves to be pampered, and the previous place also didn't have shampoo, so I reeeeeally wanted to take a proper shower.

We hit the streets for a final romp through Athens, and I popped into a few stores and saw that the cheapest shampoo came to around $6. So I did the next best thing. I saw a bellhop standing at attention. I noticed a large turnstile. I slipped inside.

It was none other than the Hotel Titania.

"Excuse me."

Several gentleman at the reception turned my way.

"I have a rather odd request I hope you can accommodate."

They were all ears.

"I'm staying at a hotel you see, a different hotel, which doesn't provide its guests with shampoo. I was wondering if you could be so gracious as to give me a small shampoo, to use there."

They continued to stare at me as I hadn't said a thing.

"I have heard great things about your hotel and your hospitality, and so I was wondering if you could help?"

"I don't understand. You're a guest here?"

"No, at a different hotel."

"If you're staying at a hotel, why don't you use your own hotel's shampoo?" he asked back.

"Because my hotel doesn't offer its guests shampoo. My hotel: bad. Your hotel: good. Next time I'll be sure to stay here."

He moved aside to confer with his supervisor. I heard quite a bit of back and forth. I wasn't sure which of them was more revolved by my request, but finally he returned with not one, but two vials of a cognac colored substance.

"Thank you. You're very kind."

Gained: SHAMPOO!!!

Once in a while, gentle reader, I wonder if you'd do the same. Would you have asked for this? Or anything else I've asked for, for that matter? Or, do you ever ask yourself if you would?

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