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(Greek Linguistics)


Athens, the prequel

My time is limited to blog in Greece—too much partying with my cousins lined up; I'm benefitting from siesta time to do what catchup I can. My woes with Olympic are not done: my return to Athens tomorrow has already been delayed by ONE AND A HALF HOURS. Say it again folks:


I'll summarise what happened in Athens on 2008-06-29, now that I have what few photos I took in order. The SIXTY photos I took in Berlin will need to wait for another siesta.

I emerged from the metro at Constitution Square at 5:30 pm. Behind me, Greek Parliament:

Around me, lots of dozing stray dogs (yep, I'm back in Greece), who know better than to be lugging suitcases around Athens. Ahead of me, a token fountain, the kerfuffle of Athens streetscape,

and 35°C under the shade:

All very, very Libyan. As my friend George pointed out to me today, I have never been in a Greek summer before: I've always managed to time my quadrennial visits to Greek around either autumn or winter; and when I used to spend summers as a kid, it was 25 years ago, and Crete (which does not count on either account as a Greek summer). None of this Lawrence of Arabia weather crap.

I made my way up to Upper New Smyrna, and my Deutschland cap had the predicted effect. I was too busy talking to photograph, though I did catch a shot of the view out my uncle's balcony at 5 am:

(And there's always bagels on sale outside Dafni metro station)

I didn't go photographing my Athenian relatives yet; that's for the return trip, if Olympic Airways ever get me there. Oh, before I forget:


But I cannot deal with the fact that my cousin Maria is 16; she's still meant to be 4, isn't she? Or that my uncle George is back to having a goatee: a preview of what I'll look like at 55. Warning: white hair like a [googles] rock 'n' roll Gandalf.

I was too busy doing catchup to watch the game (Germany lost. Damn.) Because I didn't particularly care about soccer (apart from the fact that Germany lost), I mostly talked to my aunt Dimitra. My uncle George did have his cousin Spyro over for the game, and I got to watch a fair bit of performance art, between both George and Dimitra, and George and Spyro.

I'll draw a semi-discreet veil across the details, this after all being a public blog. :-) But the George/Spyro show was a lot of fun, in a Beavis & Butthead kind of way, and Spyro got the line of the night:

—Αυτός κοιμάται όρθιος και πλερώνει ξενοδοχείο!

Hm, how to translate pithily. Well, Greeks say "he's asleep standing up" to indicate someone is a dullard. But that's not all. In Spyro's version,

He's asleep standing up—and he's still paying for a hotel room!

(As in, he's booked a room to sleep in, which is pretty superfluous if you're asleep standing up. Then again, he is sleeping standing up to start with.)

(It's funnier in Greek, trust me.)


pne said...


If those things are what I think they are (koulourakia/simitler), they're no more bagels than they are doughnuts, even though all three are round with a hole in the middle - quite different dough.

opoudjis said...

Yes, they were of course koulouria --- I was taking a few liberties with cultural translation. It won't be the last time. :-)

Of course, Greece is now Americanised enough that I'm sure you can find mpeïngel somewhere in town...

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