Sunday, March 14, 2010

Athens Trip – March 2010, Day 4

Today was a great day. After breakfast, we headed to Holargos to watch their semi-professional teams play basketball. The women’s game started at noon, and they scored an easy win. We enjoyed watching the elbows fly and some of the players get intense, but we were concerned when our friend Kostas did not show up.

At the conclusion of the game, I called him on his cell, but he did not answer. We were quite disappointed and decided to grab lunch before the men’s game. On our way to a local restaurant, Kostas called and asked if we could meet him at 3:00, which we were more than happy to do. He took us to a Cretan place called Biftekaaatsi. Amazingly enough, he gave us the name of the place and the street and we managed to find our way there – keep in mind we do not speak the language, had no idea where the street was, and I thought the place was called Vistacatsi!

Anyway, Kostas showed up with his wife Catalina. We had been told that most Greeks will eat dinner for at least 2 hours, so we were expecting that the meal would last until the men’s game started at 5:00. Somewhere around 6:40, we figured that we would not be able to make the game at all, which was fine by us.

Our time with Kostas and his wife was awesome. There are many interesting things about the dinner. First of all, we asked them to order for us, which they did. They started off with several appetizers: a huge bruschetta-like bread thing (almost like a bagel with tomato and goat cheese), goat cheese wrapped in a crescent and covered with honey, sausage, cabbage rolls, and a salad with honey mustard. Then we had our main courses: chicken, meat patties, and goat with pasta. Ironically enough, the goat had the best flavor (I would have taken pictures of it all, but I did not want to look too goofy).

We talked about lots for different things as well, from family to politics to culture. They have a 15 year old boy and a 10 year old girl, and we face the same basic issues with our kids – wanting them to be respectful, caring for their future, desiring to protect them from the rubbish on TV, etc. Due to the Greek economic crisis, they have many concerns about what is going on in their county, but maintained a relatively positive attitude. They said the biggest problem within their culture is that the people do not follow simple laws.

The dinner ended with them driving us to our bus stop and inviting us to their house the next time we are in town. We plan on seeing Kostas and his staff tomorrow. As is the case with most of the people we are in contact with over here, they do not understand why we are here. In fact, one of the women in his office is convinced that we are some sort of s-p-i-e-s, which is absurd and hilarious, especially since we are involved with sports - I told them we want to learn how to better play soccer... Anyway, he gave us some information on her to rattle her cage a little tomorrow, which we are really looking forward to doing.

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