The kids and I all arrived in Greece, luggage intact. Kyla’s flight was somewhat delayed coming out of Frankfurt due to the snow storm, but by the wee hours of the morning, she made it here safe and sound.
First introduction to Greece: Tourists are free game. And that’s at the ‘real’ shops and stores; I imagine we are entertaining and fun moving targets out in the markets.
First examples: I bought a SIM card for my mobile phone right at the airport, thinking that was a pretty safe bet. Wrong. When I got to our room, it was previously opened and used. No turning back now. It works just fine but I’m now anxious the cops will show up any minute, just pouncing when that number is active once more.
Signed a sheet for the car rental, (After many emails booking and securing a BMW, when I arrived, there were no BMW’s. Settled on the Mercedes. 160. Looks and drives like a Toyota Echo.) agreeing that I will return the car full of fuel as it’s provided to me full of fuel. Two kilometres away, I realized it was 90% full of fuel, yet if I don’t return it 100% full, it will be a 5x the cost at the pump charge.
What should have been a 35-40 Euro cab ride for Kyla turned out to be 60 Euro in the end. Something about a Christmas fee for the extra baggage the cab drivers have to handle at this time of year. Riiight.
I’m actually scared to participate in any meaningful economic exchange right about now. It will take me a few days to get my BS sensors on full power to be on par with these masters.
What was an expected 30 minute drive to our room, turned into a 3 hour adventure in getting lost. You have never been lost, as lost as you can get in Greece. First of all, the signs are in Greek and then Greek words but spelled with Latin letters. Except for the STOP sign, which is in English and says STOP. (Just like in France – take that, Quebec language cops.)
Now, I don’t expect the world to speak or bow to English, nor would I want it to, I’m whining the fact I was totally not prepared for this. As in totally, blondly, not prepared for this. (Whaaat the…??? Everything is in Greek here!) In other European countries, with a little imagination or reasoning, you can basically figure out the language as there are many words that are somewhat similar in English. After all, English is a homemade pot of soup that uses ingredients from many different other languages. Except Greek. I haven’t found one word that is similar to any English words that I am familiar with.
Sure, there’s the obvious Delta, Omega, Alpha but what are those items in English, really? Are they tangible? Oh yah, I left the alpha on the delta, you know, by the omega. I’m not on Star Trek here, people.
I am insistent that I immerse myself into the culture, no matter where I am. In Canada I bitch about the government, drink too much coffee, eat French fries with gravy and watch hockey. In Holland I bitch about the government, drink too much coffee, eat French fries with mayonnaise and watch English shows with Dutch subtitles.
In Greece, however, I want to drive extremely fast on every street, drink Greek wine and eat Greek food. (I’ll pass on the ripping tourists off part.)
Except I can’t read the labels on the Greek wine. No wonder we can’t find it in Canada; even if we could, we wouldn’t know what it was. I guess I’m going to have to match the colour to the price. The ones I don’t like, I know my starving student daughter will enjoy, they certainly won’t go to waste. I might just find a fun way to learn Greek.
At least I know I’m not going to starve. I love Greek food. Tonight we are headed to eat authentic Greek food, a restaurant suggested by the host of our rental. As long as I give them the shellfish allergy heads up, I’m just going to let them surprise me. Even if I ordered it myself, the way I butcher the language it would end up being a surprise anyways. It’s all Greek to me.
Square toilet. Not too many crosswords completed in here!