Friday, August 31, 2012

Star Mitsos Cafe

I was looking for this video for a long time on youtube and today I was lucky enough to remember the name of the coffee place. As I found out it's not just one but a whole series of voice registrations made in a coffee place somewhere in the US, owned by a guy called Mitsos.

The whole conversation is hilarious but what even more funny is that the reaction is so typically Greek that I really doubt this is a made up movie. More then that, the Greeklish (Greek and English mixture) he's speaking is exactly how most Greeks speak when they started getting agitated (well, more agitated then they usually are) that usually goes with a lot of gesticulating and rising nerves and voices.

Dictionary you might need:

μετριο - read "metrio"  - means medium sweet coffee
τα παπαρια του Καραμπελλα or τα ααρχιδια του Καπαμπελα- the balls of Karabelas - meaning "you've got squat", " you don't have anything"

σκατα - shit
βεργα - rod
Αντε, τελειωνε! - Cut it out!
γαμοτο - fuck
κωλοπαιδο - Stupid - it literally means "the kid who came from his mom's ass" 
γαμο το κερατο σου - fuck your horn

To enjoy more of this Greek traditional temper you can go on and look for "Star Mitsos".

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Made in Greece

Here is a collection of pictures I've gathered in the last month, capturing... a bit of Greece.

Church in the middle of the road
This is a print screen from Google Maps. I figured you'd get a better idea seeing it from above rather than from the road. So, what you are actually seeing is a church popping out in the middle of a highway and making a four lane street a three lane street for a few meters. If you miss to see it in time - and let's face it, who expects to see a church in the middle of a highway - you will learn the meaning of "instant delivery" because the entrance of the churce is facing the direction of traffic.
How did this happen? Nothing Greece. The church was there before the highway. When they started building the car road, the church wasn't moved on the principle "it was there first" and considering that "the Church" is more powerful then the state in Greece, who would argue with the church?On the other hand the road builders probably needed to rethink the whole project in order to go around the church they didn't. And there you have it!

Blind walk in Thessaloniki

Greeks have always been
resourceful people. They somehow manage to find an utility even to things they shouldn't find an utility to. Like this blind walk that is just suppose to be there in case, god forbid, an actual blind person would use it. Until then though, some visionary person with a great deal of initiative decided it looks better as a flower stand.
The car doesn't even rise any attention anymore. Lots of people park their cars on the blind walk, on the bicycle road, on the wheelchair road pass, it's already "normal" (for abnormal as it might be) but the flower stand? that is really something new. I mean that requires imagination and a strong dose of... stupidity, of course.

Opened Store in Greece

 In case you were wondering this is an opened door of a store. Yes! That's what it's written on it."We're open". That goes right along with the iron door protection and the big lock on the door. this situation is not unique, there are lots and lots of others here in Thessaloniki and not only.

It obviously has no working hours on the door and no contact number of any kind, it's constantly closed but it says it's open. Well, you can't really blame them, Greeks are logic people: "If I'm getting payed anyway why would I bother working?"

Flexible Working Hours

From the same chapter as the previous picture,this is a notification from the Greek Postal Office, ELTA.

Please notice the delightfully delicate omission on the paper. They say what time they open but the closing time is... uncertain. In order to not be bothered by clients the program is up to ".00". You never know what could be before that .00, it could be 16.00 or 14.00 or why not 12.00.

So it's kinda the same as the previous one. We work when and if we want and we get payed as if we work.

Keep Greece Tidy

This last picture is more of a funny translation. On the transaction receipt from Alpha Bank Greece you will find the message "Please keep Greece Tidy".

I suppose they intended to say "Please keep Greece clean" because tidy is kinda hard for a country to be.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Magic of Samothraki

Here is the other half of Samothraki, the not submerged one:) I really hope a managed to capture at least a bit of the island's... aura. If you visit it someday maybe you'll let me know. Till then, Enjoy!

One of the things that is usually left out about Samothraki is that here they've found the statue of Nike. No, no, not the American sportswear company statue, the original Nike, the goddess of Victory.

The original is now a center piece at the Louvre Museum in Paris while in Samothraki you can only see a replica and the chamber in which the statue was found.
Original( Louvre Museum)    Replica(Sanctuary of the Old Gods)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Underwater Samothraki

Samothraki is the first island I have ever went to so it holds a special place in my heart. I like its secular trees, the '60-'70's perfume of time with flower power accents, the untainted nature, the ancient historical roots that seem to transcend time itself and last but not least the people.

Last week I visited the island again and I'm still under its spell.I guess it shows:)

For the first time I managed to take some underwater movies and pictures. I hope you enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Ride with the Ambulance

The other day we were in traffic and we end up behind this ambulance. There was something different about it but at first I couldn't put my finger on what. 

The door was open and they were driving undisturbed. At the next street light we stopped and told them. The were totally unaware that they were driving with the ambulance door open. I can imagine the conversation they had when they closed the door: 

- Iani, wasn't there suppose to be a patient on our ambulance? 
- Eh, what can I say, maybe he felt better and went home!:)

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Commercial that Captures the True Greek Spirit

Part of a commercial campaign for Aegean Air, this TV spot captures the true Greek Spirit in all its....splendor:)The spot is called "Greeks in London"

This is the English Translation. While making it I realized once more how much meaning it's lost and how polite and consequently inadequate is the English language for insults.

That is why I decided to translate it to another language that at least as "sparkly" when it comes to swearing as Greek, Romanian.

You probably noticed at the end of the spot the gesture that the lady is making to the driver, "Moutza" with both hands. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Modern Olympic Games

In the 19th century, probably influenced by the romantic current in the literature, people started rediscovering old values, forgotten traditions and all those things that were not modern enough for the current society so they have been thrown in a small dark corner to be disposed of.

Panathinaiko Stadium - Olympic Games 1896
During that period, there was a revival of the concept of Olympic games. One of the most known people to resurrect this concept was Dr. William Penny Brookes. He organized, starting from 1850, some local games known as the Meetings of the Olympian Class. A few years later he actually manages to organize national Olympic Games in London. That being the first Olympic Games to be held outside Greece even if they were of national amplitude and not international.

The one who made the Olympic Games international was Baron Pierre de Coubertin. With the help of Dr. Brookes he managed to convince the Congress from Sorbonne in 1894 to organize the first international Olympic Games. There was a dispute about where they should take place but finally Athens was the winner. 

Philanthropists Evangelos and Konstantinos Zappas offered their financial support in rebuilding the Panathinaiko Stadium, the place where in 1896 the first Olympic Games as we know them today took place. 
The first Olympic Torch 1936

You might be surprised to find out that the Olympic Torch has a way shorter history than the Olympic Games. 

The origin of the torch resides in the fact that, in ancient times, Greeks would keep a fire burning throughout the Olympic celebration as a symbol of Zeus. During modern times the Olympic Flame was introduced in 1928 at the Olympics that took place in Amsterdam. The Torch relay though was introduced at the controversial Olympics in Berlin 1936 (during the World War II) by Carl Diem.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Yesterday in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is not known for it's summer rains. Why? Because it hardly ever does rain here. 

Yesterday though, something must have went wrong with the Almighty's weather forecast because not only did it rain but it poured.

Knowing the city to be always dry and dusty I must admit this was a welcomed change.

Too bad today is just as warm as before the rain. The only difference is that the humidity is sky high so the air is even less breathable than before..if that's even possible.

The music from the video is a Romanian chant for invoking the rain. It's called "Păpărudă".