Sunday, November 15, 2009

"What Idiot Would Shop Here?"

I arrived in Greece to meet up with my mother (my sister and dad came later) after partying for 2 days in West Germany (before the fall of the Berlin Wall). I was hung over, sleep deprived and in a foul mood. The airport in Athens was a madhouse, and the line for clearing customs was 50 people long. I'd had it. I broke out of the line as soon as I saw my mother waiting, as luck would have it right beside the pile that contained my luggage. An official gestured me back, but I pointed to my bags. I got to my bags without too much flack, and then just - hopped over the drooping rope. When an official came running, I thundered "I'M EXHAUSTED AND THAT IS MY MOTHER!" and turned my back and left. The crowd of harried family and friends waiting for their arrivals quickly closed behind us and that was that.
My mother said "Well, that was rich. Oh - wait 'til you sample a taxi ride!" I said "As long as they get us to the Chandris Hotel fast, I'm good." My mother muttered "Oh, no problem there..." and hailed a cab. The driver leapt out, threw (I am not kidding) my bags into the trunk and practically pushed us into the cab. I was still closing the passenger door when he revved the motor and screeched out into traffic. We careened around corners, my mother and I literally polishing the slick leather seat with our backsides as we slid from one side to the other. My mother stage whispered between clenched teeth "What Did I Tell You?!" and with that, the driver skidded to a stop, nearly tossing my mother and I into the front with him. "The Chandris!" he exclaimed, jumping out of the cab and snatching our door open. He had our bags at the bellboy stand tout suite, returned to us deftly plucking the cash from my mother's fingers and was gone before we could say "Holy Shit!"
The hotel was grand and full of interesting shops.
But the real shopping was in The Plaka or the business district. In the early 80's, there was an amazing array of stores and restaurants. The dollar was strong and if you shopped where the locals shopped, and could get tremendous deals on shoes and jewelry. My mother and I strolled around and decided where to return with my sister then 15) and my father.
Joan and I took off on our own one day, and ended up walking 5 hours as we got lost. Plus, we both got tired of the men honking and doing the kissy-lips as they passed us -- even with their wives in the car, beating on them and screaming! We had gone by a really exclusive shopping area, and we decided to come back with Daddy and mom.

Finally, our shopping dream came true; we'd gone to every museum, seen every available ruin and there wasn't much else to do. Daddy sighed and said "Ok, let's go see this swanky shopping district." It was gorgeous - we found places for Daddy to sit and sip his coffee or juice and off we took. Mom took him into 2 or 3 stores and he was flabbergasted at how much more expensive these places were than any place so far in Greece. Joan and Mom decided to take a break with dad. Just as he exclaimed to Mom and Joan "What Idiot would shop here?!", I came thundering down the sidewalk, arms loaded with packages.

Daddy looked at Mom and proclaimed "I Rest My Case."

1 comment:

Caro said...

Ha ha ha ha. Shopping is the best part of a trip. Men just don't understand that. :-)