Chappy here, coming to you live from Athens, Greece. I know the insurance company (and my mother) have told me never to reveal the fact that I am out of town, but nobody reads this blog and (note to would-be burglars) my cat loves the taste of stranger-flesh.
Anyway, it’s been a while, and I just felt like sharing thoughts, so here is Chappy’s big ballin’ review of Athens:
First off, both of my parents (separately, I might add) have reminded me that this was the last place my Grandfather visited before he passed away. Since he was too ill from late-stage cancer, Ed had to take a taxi to all the sites and peer out the window. This, as you might imagine, adds a little gravity to scaling the hill up to the Acropolis and looking out over one of the world’s most historically significant cities. Throw in the fact that he was a) the primary genetic source of any humor I may have and b) apparently part of why I am now noticing the onset of male-pattern baldness, and it really hits home. In his honor, I want to throw up a warm dedication to the incomparable Edwin Leroy Chapman.
I’m Surrounded by Cats
Any other travel guide might start out by mentioning the history, the unibrows, important Olympic tie-ins. You know what the most obvious thing to my untrained eye was? Cats, man. There are stray cats everywhere. We had lunch the other day (inside a building) and there was a black cat at the foot of our table. At first, it was amusing, as I fancy myself somewhat of an animal lover, but dadgummit, there could not be more unattended felines in this city. If you want a free cat, drop me a line and I’ll bring one back for you.
If They Hate Americans, I Blame Snooki
Due to jetlag, I was up much later on Monday than a Chappy should ever be. I turned on the television, and what to my wondering eyes should appear – the first ever episode of Jersey Shore. Imagine what a Greek person thinks when they read the translation of “I just want to hook up with hot Guidos” on the bottom of the screen and see an orange midget bouncing around the boardwalk. Hey John Kerry, you want to improve our foreign relations? Tell MTV to shut it down…
The Greeks Will Work it for a Euro
One of my British friends set the bar high by declaring I would live “like a King” in Greece. True to form, I’m pretty much impressed with every bill I get (outside of the Hilton). If you have weathered the Euro or Pound elsewhere, a five-course dinner and wine for 25€ is legit. As soon as I speak, an English menu is delivered. The people are also quite friendly, despite their pissed-off disposition. No joke, I haven’t seen a person smile yet without provocation.
Cops are Everywhere
Confession: I jaywalked earlier…but only after 5 other people went first. The police-to-civilian ratio has to be closer to 1:1 than anywhere I have ever been. There are so many cops that they must share motorcycles. Imagine getting pulled over by one motorcycle with two cops on it (wearing protective armor no less). The other day, we were walking through a major park and a police dog tried to eat our faces off through the bars of his nearby cage. This (and the 4 officers smoking nearby) merely confirmed that we had better not exercise any unwelcome freedoms. Point made: I would recommend not rioting in Athens if you can help it.
Greek Food is Delish
I’ve been to many a place that holds back on spices in an effort to not offend discerning patrons. Not here. Put that spice on that meat and get it into my belly as quickly as possible! I’m telling you – if you like assorted meats and a flavorful mouth journey, then hop a plane to this part of the world. Double bonus, they deliver plates of food with all the ingredients (you foodie types might call this “deconstructed”) which means you get to make your own personalized mini pita sandwiches. Thumbs in the air, and pass that taziki sauce!
All Ruins Need a “Before” Pic
I love me some history. It has always been one of my best subjects. But I also do a bit of sales in my day job, and if you want to put the historical “spin” on a pile of stones, give me a high quality picture and a backstory of what I’m looking at. To give you an example, below you will find the current state of Zues’ house. Ummm…who drank too much and knocked down all the columns?
So there you have it. Thinking of heading to Greece? Give me a shout and I’ll offer up an even more comprehensive review.