I’ve been on the road for three months but Greece is the first time I’ve felt like a true backpacker.
Until now I really haven’t had to count the pennies – South East Asia and Turkey are dirt cheap.
So with my mind still in Turkey I get stiffed a couple of times in Athens, worst of all when I happily pay 30 Euro for a crappy white cotton shirt, thinking it’s 30 Lira.
And after saying hello and thank you in Turkish a few too many times I give myself a crash course in Greek from a phrase sheet my hostel gave me.
Not only does it tell me how to say the essentials but also ‘you’re cute’ and – ‘is their a riot?’
The whole riot thing doesn’t really bother me though, as I’ve been informed most of it is just for the TV cameras and once they’re gone the rioters can be found a few blocks away drinking chi.
I guess that’s hardly surprising, the Greeks do have a reputation for being lazy, but in a way it’s extraordinary given they were the ones to invent such things as democracy.
I first encounter this laziness when I visit the Archeology Museum primarily to see the Greek vase collection which takes up the entire first floor.
I’m ridiculously excited (nerdy I know) but ever since I studied them at high school I’ve been a little obsessed.
But when I get there I discover the collection is closed.
When I ask I’m told – “just because.”
So I ask someone else and they helpfully inform me that they didn’t feel like putting on enough staff to cover it today, even though it’s the weekend.
For f*#%’s sake.
The trip wasn’t a complete write-off though – I did learn the ancient origins of what New Zealanders would call the jandal slap.
It’s from 100BC and depicts Aphrodite fending off erotic advances from Pan.
Later that night I attempt to jandal slap a rather cute American doctor I met on my walking tour after he laughed at me, when so engrossed in my souvlaki, I mistook a busker dressed as a ghost as an actual ghost.
I honestly nearly wet myself.
Anyway this jandal slap is an epic fail, I arse over on concrete (I blame one too many Alpha beers for that) and wake up in the morning with a large black bruise on my knee.
Back to Greeks being lazy… they have a equal CBF attitude when it comes to showcasing their most prized possession – the Acropolis.
Most days it closes at 3pm but somedays earlier – it just depends on how they feel.
When I visit I manage to get myself stuck between a foreign high school group wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the song lyrics ‘I’m sexy and I know it’ (oh how I hate LMFAO), a gaggle of canoodling couples and my favourite – the matching sweatsuit Asian tourists.
What suprises me most about the Acropolis is how much scaffolding there is around it. Clearly they photoshop that out in photos – but hey at least they’re restoring it.
Travel Writer Guy from Turkey had told me about how spectacular the light and air is up there and I totally agree. The panoramic views you get of Athens aren’t bad either.
And despite being told by numerous travellers that Athens is ‘just a big dirty city’ I quite like it.
It’s the little things for me – like being able to drink water from the tap, walking down the street in shorts and a t-shirt without being made to feel like a prostitute, having large areas of pedestrian only streets, and of course watching the changing of the guard.
It cracked me up, for one they look like they should be at the beach.
Oh yeah, as an end note if you’re wondering why the title of this blog post is you’re not in Guatemala now Dr Ropata it’s from the very first episode of New Zealand’s most popular/only weeknight soap opera Shortland Street.