Friday, December 23, 2005

because it's just not Christmas without Boris Karloff

Although, admittedly, I usually get my Xmas Boris Karloff fix from the 1960s animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. ("You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch...Your soul is an apalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots!" Oh, warm fuzzies!)
However, yesterday I was astonished to find Mr Karloff's long-lost Greek cousin serving lunch at the Eden Vegetarian Restaurant, nestled in an ancient street in the shadow of the Acropolis.
I was so excited to find this place, because the gyros were starting to take a toll on my usually meat-free self. And when I walked inside I was greeted by a gangly sallow-faced giant of a man who totally lacked any facial expression whatsoever. He spoke just enough English to get by, in a flat, rumbling monotone.
I shrank about 3 feet as soon as I saw him.
"Yes." I think it was intended as a question, but it sure didn't sound that way.
"Um...lunch for one, please," I squeaked.
"Ggggnnnnnnhhh." he said, and showed me to my table.
I actually spent the entire time trying not to look directly at him, because I wasn't sure if I would screech in shock or start giggling uncontrolably.
"I'd like some Greek coffee, please."
"Now or after."
", please." Trying not to crawl under the table and hide.
It's not that he was mean, exactly, or rude. He was perfectly polite, prompt service, etc. But he made Marvin the manically depressed robot in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy look positively gregarious.
I ordered mushroom stifado (fan-fucking-tastic, as was the coffee). "Thanks," I squeaked, as he placed it before me.
"Ggggnnnnnnnhhhh," he said, and lumbered off.
All he's missing are the neck bolts. It was like being served by Frankenstein. The food was incredible and affordable, but I'm too scared to go back!


At 8:54 AM, Anonymous ursa said...

Have you tried the spinach pies they vary so try one or two different shops, when they are good they are wonderful. It's been years but Athens used to do the best fresh chocolate milk in the world, in plastic bottles with red shiny tops.
Suggestions from the keep Boris at bay campaign which we hope may be of use.

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Kevin said...

Your description of this guy is hilarious. I haven't seen you in close to a year. When'd you become vegetarian?

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Athana said...

Oh I envy you! It's good to listen to the Universe when she calls you. Three years ago I spent a month on Crete, and the first week of it totally alone. After that, my traveling companion arrived. The best part was the first week alone! I know what you mean about unnerving, though, and not quite relaxing. But your senses sing when you're alone in a foreign country (I've done it twice). And I've found that I meet and interact with 10 times as many of the local people when I'm alone.

I see ursa's recommended the spinach pies. I'll chime in with Greek salad. If it's anything like they make it on Crete, it'll be a supreme delight. The slab of feta they put on top is as big as a brick.

What else have you planned to see and do while you're there? I wish you extra luck in finding Sappho.

Stay safe. Don't let anyone know you're an American. Do you speak Greek? Any other language? How's your French? Even French would be better than English! (I'm saying this is jest. But then again, I'm not....)

At 5:46 AM, Blogger Andygrrl said...

ursa: thanks for the tips! mmm, spanak-whatchamacallit....

kevin: I went all hippy vegetarian gradually over the course this past year, so I guess right after you left!

Athana: I do feel like the Universe called me here. I really argued against it in my head--too hard! too scary! too far!--but it's turned out to be an incredible experience. I haven't actually have any trouble for being an American; but I do find myself speaking French, just to show that I do speak something other than English!

As for Crete, it's going to have to stay a daydream. I'm running out of cash! Someday.

And yeah, Greek salad is incredible.

At 5:47 AM, Blogger Andygrrl said...

dude, athana, I think I saw the mural in your icon today at the museum! Awesome!

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Athana said...

Whoa! You probably did. I went to Santorini to see it, but was told it was in the main museum in Athens -- which was closed for repairs when I was there. I'm so glad you got to see it! As you might guess, I totally agree with you: this wall painting is awe-inspiring.


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