Recent Posts

February 13, 2009

Where am I? And, cancel our coffee meeting?

I write from the land of 6 a.m., a strange and foreign place I rarely visit. I'm stopping through because of jet lag, on my way back from Europe, you see...

Which brings us to my first actual day in Greece. I wrote up bits and pieces of these entries while I was there, and have finally assembled a few pictures and posted them today!


February 13. Day 228.

After a morning of shopping on Ermou (the main commercial drag), watching the busy sidewalk action from a series of cafes (this cardboard box card player had a wad of cash from his successful bets; he shooed me away when I snapped his photo), and wandering between the ruins (saving the actual ancient tourism for this weekend, when Mr. A gets off his conference), I asked for directions from half a dozen people.

At once point I was so lost, I couldn't even find my place on the map, so I tried to figure out where south was based on the sun. The residential streets were empty, but eventually I spotted a man coming my way.

"Do you speak English?"

He nodded. "Little."

"Thank you! Where am I?"

He told me the street name. I gave him the map, and he pointed to the intersection.

"Cafe?" he asked, then.

He looked about 45 or 50, some sort of white collar worker. Yes, he was interested in one thing alone -- coffee and maybe more with the foreign girl -- but I was also interested in something: finding out about life in Athens. I actually had a bunch of questions (cost of living, politics, EU status, social practices, and more), and I figured it would be a good asking... It could be an interesting opportunity to speak with a local, and the moment he tried to put the moves on, I'd just get up and leave.

"Ok," I nodded.

As we started walking, I asked him what he does.

"You. Toi. Engineer? Doctor? Dok-tor?"

He shrugged.

We continued walking in silence, and I started wondering how I could chat with him with the language barrier.

And then, we arrived at... an apartment building. His house, I presume.

"No, no, no," I told him. "No casa! Cafe. Corner. Street. No casa."

He pointed upstairs, made all sorts of friendly gestures.

"Cancel. Annuler. Bye," I said, and walked away.

Basic asking: Check. Interesting asking: averted, alas.

Here's the thing...

I haven't really been scoping out discounts or going out of my way to find new adventures. Every step on those ancient sidewalks, every bite of crispy, fluffy spanakopita, is an adventure.

I'm on vacation, after all. So I'm taking it easy. And there's always tomorrow...

Gained: directions from half a dozen strangers, and one declined invitation to coffee.
blog comments powered by Disqus