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Ἡλληνιστεύκοντος
(Greek Linguistics)

2008-07-02

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:

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

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:

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

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.)

2 comments:

pne said...

"Bagels"?

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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